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Bush Will Be President Again

I've never worried about Bush being reelected. I think he will. I thought he would before I knew all the Democratic candidates sucked (apart from being Democrats in the first place). It's not a complex thing. He's a good person, and he's doing good, and I can tell. And I have faith that enough of my country can tell, too. So they will elect him again.

A new poll says that Kerry would beat Bush if the election was held today.

I just wanted to say two things:

When (if) Bush does win, like I say, will the people who deny morality is an issue here rethink their position? If not, am I a prophet? How else would I know what's going to happen if my methods of prediction don't exist?

Second, polls have a high non-response rate. This means the people answering the questions are fairly self-selected. Do the type of people who like to answer polls have certain political leanings? Undoubtedly. Now, if you have experience doing polls, you can see how far off you were last time and adjust, to try and overcome the self-selection issue. You can make models for what non-respondants are like, and what respondants are like, and blah blah blah. But the point is polls only work well when the pollsters understand what they're doing, and only work when their models of what voters are like actually have something to do with voters.

But on 9/11 the electorate changed. We don't vote the way we used to. So, I suggest not putting too much faith in the polls.

edit 26.01.2004 3pm: removed a bad joke

Elliot Temple on January 26, 2004

Messages (26)

When (if) Bush does win, like I say, will the people who deny morality is an issue here rethink their position? If not, am I a prophet? How else would I know what's going to happen if my methods of prediction don't exist?
If Bush loses, will you re-think your position?

Or, is it possible that the election's outcome won't be entirely determined by what you're talking about (whatever that is)?

Gil at 9:19 AM on January 26, 2004 | #781 | reply | quote

If Bush loses, will you re-think your position?

Yes, of course.

Elliot at 2:26 PM on January 26, 2004 | #782 | reply | quote

I never said my prediction will determine the outcome. I said I can predict the outcome. If I'm right, how will you explain my predictive powers without resorting to "it was blind luck" (which is a bad explanation)?

Elliot at 6:07 PM on January 26, 2004 | #783 | reply | quote


Whether or not it's a bad explanation or yours is a bad explanation is what's in dispute. You asserting that one of these explanations is bad is not an argument or compelling in any way.

Bush is a war-time incumbent. Many people think he'll win re-election for reasons unrelated to yours. If they're right, how will you explain that they predicted correctly?

Gil at 11:35 PM on January 26, 2004 | #784 | reply | quote

ok you seem to be saying that I'm simply wrong about the way I'm predicting -- i'm really using other methods that aren't simply getting lucky. to make this claim, you try to give other possible methods of prediction than the ones i suggested.

for an example of a rival prediction method, maybe i really just saw a secret ACLU memo about how they were gonna get Bush all the minority votes, and I'm basing my prediction on that, and then lying about how i did it.

of course that one is absurd.

but how is "it's wartime" an explanation of why Bush will win? it's not! you might have an explanation in mind, but you haven't given it. there's a gap between war and votes. wartime presidents have lost before.

same with incumbent. incumbents have lost before. you seem to have in mind something like "incumbents are more likely to win because they can present themselves as more experienced at the job of president than the other guy" (or whatever reason). but how i could go from a statement like that to being sure bush will win without even having to worry about political details is a mystery.

attempts at competing explanations are fine, but put some effort into it instead of just vaguely referring to what might be one, without saying what exactly you mean.

Elliot at 12:01 AM on January 27, 2004 | #785 | reply | quote

I'm not saying anything about your prediction.

I'm saying that your conclusion that if Bush wins, then those who doubt the soundness of your explanation are logically compelled to take your argument seriously is worthless.

Astrologers' predictions come true a lot of the time, too. It depends, somewhat, on how bold their predictions are. Yours is not bold at all.

Bush winning the election is consistent with your consideration having little or nothing to do with the outcome.

Gil at 3:31 PM on January 27, 2004 | #786 | reply | quote

I'm saying I know what will happen. If I'm right, either:

i knew what would happen -or- i got lucky

i got lucky is a bad explanation

if i knew what would happen, how did I know? i've given my explanation. if you don't like it, give an alternative. if you don't have a rival, and don't have a criticism of mine, but still reject mine...

Elliot at 3:39 PM on January 27, 2004 | #787 | reply | quote

You don't have to get lucky. You just have to avoid getting unlucky. Bush is the favorite independently of your claim.

If you predicted that Lieberman will win the Democratic nomination because he has better character than the rivals, that would be a better test of your theory because he's not the favorite currently.

Will he win? If not, why not?

Gil at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2004 | #788 | reply | quote


stop using unexplained, hidden assumptions like that bush is very likely to win. those aren't manifest.

Elliot at 4:52 PM on January 27, 2004 | #789 | reply | quote


I predict that Bush will win.

My explanation is my psychic powers.

If he wins, you'll really have to consider that I have psychic powers because, well, getting lucky by using the implicit knowledge of many other people who have dozens of other reasons why he's likely to win has been declared a bad explanation.

The point is that if Bush wins it says virtually nothing about the correctness of your explanation.

There are many other candidate explanations that seem to be more powerful factors than the ones you mention. There's nothing about yours to distinguish them as better than those others.

And, you didn't answer my question about Lieberman. Will he win? And, if not, what factors will swamp his superior character (and judgement about Iraq)? And why won't these other factors be involved in Bush's re-election?

Gil at 5:32 PM on January 27, 2004 | #790 | reply | quote

gil if there's so many great alternative explanations to mine GIVE ONE. sheesh.

i don't know much about lieberman (ie i don't know if he's good or not). but anyway his primary thing is for democrats only. he has to appeal to that crowd, and just being good isn't enough, and in some ways is a detriment. i mean someone sufficiently good trying to run as a democrat would be asked "aren't you in the wrong party?" not elected.

Elliot at 5:46 PM on January 27, 2004 | #791 | reply | quote

1. About $200 million and growing in Bush's campaign fund, which he doesn't have to use to get the nomination, nor (since he's the president) to pay for travel while he's campaigning while on official business.

2. He's the president. That's a huge advantage. He's already been in the office. He speaks as the president, not a wannabe. He can get national attention whenever he wants it. Many people prefer a known entity to an unknown one.

3. The War on Terror. Many people respect the way he handled 9/11 even if they don't agree entirely with the Iraq conflict, and they might think it unpatriotic to abandon him while we're still at war.

4. The economy is recovering. I don't think it's because of Bush's marvelous fiscal policies, but many people won't want to take a chance on rocking the boat too much.

5. All of the Democrats suck.

I think your comment about what does and doesn't appeal to Democrats indicates that you've been taking IMAO way too seriously.

Gil at 8:53 PM on January 27, 2004 | #792 | reply | quote

i think it indicates that i don't like democrats

Elliot at 10:28 PM on January 27, 2004 | #793 | reply | quote

you keep giving factors that seem favorable to bush. none of those are arguments that He. Will. Be. Elected.

"it's likely" + "it's likely" + "it's likely" just never adds up to a definitive statement.

remember i'm not saying "bush might be elected" and I'm not saying "it's likely bush will be elected". as far as i can tell your response is you don't believe me.

Elliot at 10:36 PM on January 27, 2004 | #794 | reply | quote

What are you talking about?

Are you asserting certainty? Infallibility?

Do you know that Bush will even be alive in November?

If you think you do, then yes: "I don't believe you."

All we have are theories that affect the likelihood of the event. It might be that one of these is much more important than the rest, but you haven't shown why that might be true of yours.

You may think you KNOW that he'll be elected, but I think that says more about your poor judgement and ability to put factors into perspective than about whether your consideration is a valid one.

I think that there are many factors that will affect the outcome. I didn't originally comment to challenge the consideration you've chosen to view as overwhelming the others; I think it's a factor. I just meant to challenge your fallacious conclusion that if your prediction happens to turn out correct it implies that you must have KNOWN it and that your stated reason must be true (or worthy of serious consideration).

That doesn't seem to have sunk in.

Gil at 9:04 AM on January 28, 2004 | #795 | reply | quote

physics is deterministic. if you understand the issues well enough, you can predict what *will* happen.

theories about the liklihood of events are just approximations.

if i'm wrong, it won't be through bad luck (ok maybe if he's killed in a freak dog walking accident...), but because i misunderstood the issues. and if i'm right...

Elliot at 11:17 AM on January 28, 2004 | #796 | reply | quote

...you might still have misunderstood the issues.

In fact, I think that's much more likely than that you had justified near-certainty based on one factor.

Gil at 1:29 PM on January 28, 2004 | #797 | reply | quote

well you can make unsubstantiated statements about what is likely all you want on your blog, but either explain something, or fuck off.

Elliot at 1:41 PM on January 28, 2004 | #798 | reply | quote

Seems to me that Gil is asking, have you even considered that you could be mistaken, even the possibility?


Unknown at 2:08 PM on January 29, 2004 | #799 | reply | quote

you can fuck off too

Elliot at 2:09 PM on January 29, 2004 | #800 | reply | quote

i predict this coin will come up Heads. Because, uh, of morality. Heads is obviously More Moral than Tails. Or actually, it's because I'm Psychic. No wait aliens told me. that's my Theory, aliens always tell me what's gonna happen and that's how I know, and that's how I can predict (as well) that Bush will win, cuz aliens told me that too. (or that psychic thing. Whatever.)


Hey, I was right!!!

I think I just proved... uh.. something or other.

whee this is fun

Blixa at 11:50 AM on February 2, 2004 | #801 | reply | quote

We already understand the actual issues governing coin flipping. If you think my proposed explanation for what will happen in the election is bad, you need to give a better one, not just try to make fun of me.

Elliot at 3:48 PM on February 2, 2004 | #802 | reply | quote

My better explanation: On election day, some people will vote; electors will be assigned based on the tallied and certified results of those votes (which will include any fraud/error involved), according to certain predetermined formulas; and later the candidate who receives a majority of electors will be inaugurated as the next President.

You might complain that my explanation of how the next election will go has little to no predictive power with respect to its actual outcome. That is true. Neither does our explanation of how coin-flips work have any predictive power vis-a-vis a given coin-flip. Both explanations have the virtue of being correct, however.

An explanation of coin-flips which purported to predict the outcome of the next coin-flip (even if the prediction proves to be correct) would be, almost on the face of it, false. And the person who gave the explanation (assuming he actually believed in that explanation) would be demonstrating that he doesn't actually understand coin-flips. One who actually *understood* coin-flips would attempt no such prediction in the first place, knowing the futility of the effort.

Blixa at 5:30 PM on February 2, 2004 | #803 | reply | quote

to predict a coin flip, you'd need to make some really accurate measurements while the coin is in the air, then do some complex (for humans) calculations before it lands. this is not feasible without the aid of some tools. so coin flips can be said not to be predictable (for unaided humans). (technically coin flips might be quantum-indeterministic but that's not really relevant)

but elections aren't like coin flips! predicting the outcome doesn't involve precise measurements or detailed calculations. rather, the way to predict elections is to understand high-level issues about wars, politics, diplomacy, and how people choose who to vote for. all these issues can be understood by people, and for a given election only a small subset are important.

so my basic claim is simply that i understand some of these issues, and that they are the relevant ones for this election.

when people tell me i'm wrong, what i want to hear is either: other human-level issues that are relevant that I missed that may change the outcome. or a criticism of my understanding of one of the (narrow) issues i said i understand.

Elliot at 7:06 PM on February 2, 2004 | #804 | reply | quote

Gil and Elliot stop being fucking crybabies at each other. You're both fucking wrong. Gil, you're a fag. Elliot, you're a poser. Bush will win and our country will be irrepairably FUCKED! There I said it. At least SOMEONE said it. Not like you two:

"I'm psychic and cool!"

"No you're not! (sobbing)"

"Yes I am!"

"Nuh uh!"

"Uh huh!"

"Nuh uh!"

"Uh huh!"

Fucking soft-as-shit faggots. Why don't you just suck each other's dicks and get it over with, you crybabies. Goddamn.

Deimos at 7:07 AM on February 6, 2004 | #805 | reply | quote

If Gil is a fag then I feel really cheated, because I would have given him oral sex ages ago.

Also: You're weird. You know both of them disagree with you, yet you give no argument at all. Not even a little itty bitty one. Hell, you don't even say "irreparably FUCKED because Bush is really dumb", which would still not be agreed with, but might at least have some glimmer of a semi-coherent statement.

As it stands, you just kind of walked onto Elliot's blog, farted, and then ran away giggling. Which may go over well wherever you normally hang out, but here, only Elliot's allowed to do that.

PS: Yes, I AM in fact required by law to insult Elliot at least once in every comment. I don't WANT to, but if I don't, they'll take my hands.

Dan at 2:52 PM on February 6, 2004 | #806 | reply | quote

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