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Nov 09 2012

Romney Really Expected To Win; Here’s The Good News

If you can’t see the scope of your trouble
Then the silly mistakes more than double
So expect to be mocked
When your whole world is rocked
Cos you lived your campaign in a bubble

Hey, it happened to Dukakis, too. People (candidates, staffers, even embedded journalists) who get their information from within the protective bubble of the campaign, are subject to an echo chamber of information; if the accepted fiction is that their candidate is ahead (and that these particular issues are foremost in voters’ minds, and that undisclosed polls show a tsunami of support just beginning to unleash its effects….or fill in whatever narrative you like), the availability heuristic kicks in and we believe the message we can most easily bring to mind. And then, of course, confirmation bias kicks in, and we seek out the things that support our preconceived notions.

It’s really no wonder the numbers wonks were so roundly derided in the weeks prior to the election. Everything human about us works against them.

Fortunately, we have learned to accommodate for our humanity. The scaffolds, the external supports, of science, of critical thinking, of statistical methodologies and representative sampling, the combative interactions within the scientific community itself, all of these are tools we have stumbled upon that help us to overcome our evolved biases. We use them, frankly, not because we see their inherent superiority (a good many can’t tell you how we choose an alpha level, but do so competently on a regular basis; at a more abstract level, more people “believe in” evolution or relativity than understand them) but because they work.

In this election, paying attention to numbers… worked. And Obama did a much better job of paying attention to numbers than did Romney. The “ground game” in the final weeks was, for Romney, the tried and true method of the past. For Obama, it was the experimentally verified wave of the future. Use what has been shown to work; don’t use what has been shown to be ineffective. Take data on everything.

I am hopeful that this election changed some things it was not designed to change. Yes, we chose a president, and other officials, but I suspect this is the beginning of the end for the traditional campaign, and the beginning of a data-driven future. And, frankly, a data-driven future should show different issues come to the fore, issues no longer mandated by archaic religious systems or philosophical positions far removed from reality.

This would be good news indeed.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I wonder how Romney would have “saved the economy” with his demonstrated weak grasp of the concept “this number is bigger than that number”.

  2. 2
    Kevin K

    Romney was and remains interested only in “my number is bigger than your number”. Not the economy’s numbers.

    When the Republicans stop nominating narcissistic religious-fanatic creeps, I might pay attention to them. But everything I see so far has them doubling down on convincing themselves that their dwindling, aging, all-white, far-far-far right, religious nutjob base is the only path for success.

    I, for one, welcome them to keep their delusions. And to keep on losing elections.

  3. 3
    John Morales

    And, frankly, a data-driven future should show different issues come to the fore, issues no longer mandated by archaic religious systems or philosophical positions far removed from reality.

    Perhaps.

    (We shall see)

  4. 4
    Argle Bargle

    Like many CEOs, Romney was only interested in what he wanted to hear. Listening to and watching him, I kept being reminded of this song from The Wiz:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQT-QFy5Nig&feature=fvwrel

  5. 5
    marella

    When you have been taught your whole life to believe what you’re told and to have faith that it’s true regardless of common sense, then this is what you do. Your faith that reality is what you want it to be is supposed to be enough to make it so. GWB believed the same thing and look where that lead. Romney as president would have invaded the whole goddam middle east!

  6. 6
    Alverant

    There are many examples of Rmoney’s arrogance what strikes me as his last was his claim that he only had one speech, and it sure wasn’t the one where he congratulates a black man for winning re-election. I’m surprised Obama won despite the dirty tricks of the GOP, but now I’m more worried that he may be the first US president in decades to be assassinated (ever notice how most US Presidents killed in office were liberal to some degree).

    I don’t know how the GOP is going to adapt, if it will or even if it can. The Democratic party has become the party of moderates, well at least one closest to being moderate since the GOP is driving all the “real” moderates out. If they (GOP) don’t control the crazy then they will lose more power. But they can’t because the inmates are running the asylum.

    It’s a little off topic, but I have to share this. While driving around today I saw a bumper sticker promoting religious liberty. Nice thought, except the top and bottom borders were filled with crosses and they had the Statue of Liberty holding a wooden cross instead of a torch. I wanted to shout at the driver about how government endorsement of a religion kills religious liberty. It reminded me of the LA State legislator who said, “I thought religious meant ‘Christian’!” when an islamic school asked for the same privileges as a christian school under a new law the legislator pushed through. (She then worked to undo her law because we can’t have those heathens thinking they’re equal.)

  7. 7
    brucegee1962

    One of the things I heard about Romney was that, as a CEO, he thought it was crazy that the president had to deal with so many “reports” — people who reported directly to him and no one else (ie. the entire cabinet, natsec advisor, etc.) His solution was to create a handful of czars who were above those other lowly underlings, so the info would be easier for him to access.

    In other words, he thought the presidential bubble was way too big, and he wanted to shrink it.

  8. 8
    left0ver1under

    [A] Romney adviser told CBS News[,] “It was like a sucker punch.”

    “Sucker punch”? Is he inferring that they were “cheated” or “tricked”? Apparently, they’re still living under the same delusions that got them in that prediction predicament.

    The result was not a “sucker punch” by the Obama campaign. The result was due to the Romney and GOP campaign repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot – the “47%” video, racism, attempts to deny the right to vote, anti-gay attitudes, concern for only the 1%, etc.

    Blaming others for one’s own mistakes is a sure sign of denial.

  9. 9
    Randomfactor

    Either Romney was genuinely surprised that he lost, or just possibly he knew going in that it was a likely he was going to lose and lied to his supporters to keep the sucker money flowing in.

    I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED at the suggestion that a Republican candidate might lie for money.

  10. 10
    meg

    He lost and he lost big. Why kick a man when he is down? He is not an arrogant greedy monster. I am not a fan of Obama, but I am not bashing him and slandering his name. Please leave Romney alone.

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