The EU

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Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Polls Are Off

For John, BLUFThe last pollster who called me rejected me for being in a demographic category) that had already been filled.  Would I have lied to them?  i don't think so.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From According to Hoyt, by Mr Bill Reader, 3 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

As I believe I’ve said before in various ways, I’m a big believer in the idea that a problem can’t be solved if you don’t properly understand it.  I’ve thought a lot about the current political situation in the United States, because it feels like a perilous time in history, and I don’t think merely acting on instinct or taking our best guess is a good move.  Trump’s election changed the calculus significantly.  In so many ways, in fact, that many things I thought I understood well about the Republican party I know and—well, certainly know at any rate— changed with them.  There’s a sense that the party itself has changed, and even for me—and I am a bit stodgy, and was more sympathetic to the GOP establishment than perhaps they frankly deserved— it strikes me as for the better.  The GOP establishment had, at best, a case of terminal depression.  They weren’t playing to win, nor were they playing not to lose, but playing to lose slowly.  There is a different flavor to the GOP now, and I think the base is enjoying that.  I certainly am.

At the same time, I’ve had to have a good think about things I took for granted.  I didn’t see 2016 coming, putting me in the exclusive club of virtually everybody. Nevertheless I’ve been a political cynic for a very long time.  Just from those two words—”political cynic”—you can guess, likely accurately, what my old model therefore predicted regarding events in France, Britain, and Australia.  Namely, I saw Le Pen’s loss coming, but I did not see the yellow vests coming, even though on reflection, I think that A indirectly begat B.  I certainly didn’t see her list coming back to cream Macron’s in the EU election.  I didn’t see Brexit coming.  I did see the eventual attempted murder of same by a thousand bureaucratic cuts coming—but then didn’t see the BREXIT party coming.  Congratulations to Farage on now having the largest number of MPs from a single party, and I hope he gives the EU Parliament Hell.  At the same time, the story of whether Britain will indeed find the gumption to leave is still partially untold, and I don’t have the confidence to venture an opinion on it.  I hear starkly conflicting and well-argued positions on why Brexit as an issue can still go various ways.  I’d prefer to see what happens and learn from it.  And finally, I didn’t see Australia’s recent election coming.

If your interest is finding a way to defeat the Left without us ending up in a civil war on the way, as is mine, this is all simultaneously encouraging and frightening.  Under Obama I had a model of the world that worked very well for what was mostly the post-war order and certainly seems to have been the post-Reagan GOP.  To put it succinctly, it was a system that did not work in our favor, but at least did so by grimly well-tabulated mechanics.  Despite the cold war, too many people on our own side felt the socialists had the moral high ground and ought eventually to win.  Given the horrors of the USSR, that’s impressive.  It borders on humorous— in the same way that a man having his beheading scheduled for a day he had previously reserved on his calendar for a haircut is humorous.

Just recently we’ve had a system that works more in our favor, but by extremely unpredictable if not mostly unknown mechanics.  Most commentators I read haven’t got a solid explanation for these.  A lot of the pseudo-explanations are more poetic than practical—”we’ve finally woken up”, etc.  Maybe that’s partially been because solid evidence of anything has been so difficult to get.  Indeed, a feature of this political moment is that we are flying by instruments, and they aren’t very good instruments, as Sarah and I have both noted.  But I think I have at least a minor insight into one mechanic.  It doesn’t explain everything, but it is my attempt at a more complete explanation for why polls are suddenly so very unreliable.  In explaining this, I have to account for two things—one is that people’s behavior has not merely changed, but done so suddenly, because otherwise polls would have adapted to it in their old baseline.  And the other is that it seems inescapable that people are lying to pollsters to some degree, which I had previously discarded out of hand.  But why?  And why now?

There is a certain unpredictability right now and it works in favor of "The Right" at this time.  And some point it could work for "The Left".

The author has other itches to scratch, such as immigration:

You could think of this as appealing to the undifferentiated crowd abroad—it is harder for Germany, England, or US to put up an argument on issues regarding their sovereignty or national identity while being overrun by “migrants” who are fleeing poverty first and foremost.  Grinding and horrible as that poverty surely is, the dysfunctional cultures these people live in, perpetuate, and now try to propagate, are its source and sustenance— not some vague theory of colonial exploitation or inappropriate intervention.
Yes, if the immigrants don't assimilate they will change the base culture in their new nation, and perhaps make it like the culture they have fled.  How is the going to work out?  If you are just looking for a better climate, it will work out fine.  If you are looking for a better political or economic climate, then perhaps not so much.

And here is a summary, of sorts"

The suddenness could very well be accounted for by that.  The speed of the two social movements mirror each other relatively well.  I propose that average Democrats brought the party’s repressive tendencies down to the level of the personal.  When individual consequences for thinking the wrong thing become dramatically more widespread, it makes perfect sense that individuals become much more paranoid about revealing their true beliefs, while simultaneously being presented with some very good, in-your-face reasons to change your beliefs if you’d previously aligned with the current witch-hunters.  From that perspective it’s startling that it’s only 1/50.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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