After having ridiculously and recently placed Trump’s odds of winning the nomination in the low single digits, then the teens, Nate Silver now assesses Trump’s odds of winning at 50%.
Every step of the way, Silver underestimated the real driving force behind Trump: Attitudes.
Instead of following changing attitudes, Silver relied on history regarding non-mainstream candidates.
Trump Optimists And Trump Skeptics Are About To Go To War
On February 21 Silver wrote Trump Optimists And Trump Skeptics Are About To Go To War.
In that article, Silver gave a nice portrayal of the optimists vs. the skeptics but failed to note his own miserable track record as a skeptic. Regardless, Silver has finally seen the light as this Silver quote shows.
“Betting markets, weighing all of this information, see the Republican race thusly: Trump at about 50 percent to win the nomination, Rubio at 40 percent, and the rest of the field at 10 percent. I might quibble here and there, but that seems like basically a sound assessment. Now, let’s get back to arguing on Twitter.”
I can quibble too. Rubio at 40%! Why?
The only reason I can come up with is a brokered convention.
Product of Failed System
Whether or not you like or hate Trump (or Bernie Sanders), both are the Product of Failed System.
Donald Trump’s shocking transformation from reality-show host to Republican presidential front-runner is not some random and bizarre twist of fate. It grows from the failure of our political system to adapt to demographic change, economic disruption and a reorganizing world.
Trump’s victory Saturday in the South Carolina primary appears to have cleared away the cobwebs of denial.
Rubio promises an aggressively interventionist foreign policy of the kind that gave us more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cruz pledges to double down on failed economic policies — deregulation, tax cuts, tight money — and turn back the clock on social changes such as same-sex marriage. Neither offers much that sounds new or promising.
So it should be no surprise that substantial numbers of Republicans are seduced by Trump, who proposes knocking the house down and starting over. His demagoguery succeeds not just because of his fame and charisma. In sometimes appalling ways, he addresses the hopes and fears of much of the Republican base.
His pledge to build a physical wall along the border with Mexico hits a nerve with white voters worried about the “browning” of the nation. His disparagement of free-trade agreements gives hope to blue-collar workers left behind by the flight of manufacturing jobs. His advocacy of restraint in the deployment of U.S. troops, even with the Middle East in flames, draws nods from war-weary military families and veterans.
And Trump’s diagnosis of what is wrong with our politics — that the politicians are bought and paid for by special interests — is essentially correct. His supporters may disapprove of his extreme rhetoric, some of which is racially tinged, but still appreciate the fact that he is beholden to no one.
Can either Cruz or Rubio stop him? It looks doubtful.
Many Americans seem to be questioning the traditional liberal-vs.-conservative paradigm. The parties might want to pay attention.
Where Silver Went Wrong
Silver has been given high praise, and deservedly so for calling past elections, Nonetheless, Silver has surely blown Trump’s odds of winning every step of the way this go around.
Silver went wrong by going with history rather than attitudes. That was a huge mistake for which I do not believe Silver has admitted.
Usually attitudes and history align. This time they didn’t. And it was obvious at least three months ago.
On January 8,Nate Silver wrote Three Theories Of Donald Trump’s Rise.
In that post Silver expressed belief that “Trump’s chances are about half of what betting markets say they are. I think they’re about half that – 12 or 13 percent.”
In retrospect, Silver looks ridiculous.
To be fair, it’s certainly true that Trump’s odds of winning have risen with each victory.
To be equally fair, Silver has been behind the curve every step of the way by prioritizing history over attitudes.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock