Let’s Make a Deal with Donald
Donald Trump must immediately eat shit and die. Only a Trumpesquely huge act of self-sacrifice could possibly atone for the damage he has already done to the Republic.
OK, following the DrumpfCon Method, that was my initial negotiating position. I’m willing to discuss something less than that. For example, I’m willing to consider the notion that his public self-execution by copravorification could be delayed until the day before the election; that would please House Republicans desperate to avoid his taint and could give hope to the hapless sap lacking in dignity and self-esteem who accepts Drumpf’s VP nomination. Another alternative might be for him to give up any and all of his positively-valued assets to the Veterans Administration and go into permanent exile in North Korea. But I will not give on the stipulation that he must first consume massive quantities of his own turds on the Rachel Maddow Show.
Am I serious about these somewhat intemperate demands? About as serious as The Donald is when he says he will build a beautiful wall with Mexico and make them pay for it, or apply a 45% tariff to all Chinese imports. Al Franken calls it “kidding on the square”; it's exaggeration. Am I being unkind, say, to his loved ones, in calling for his reduction to dust, non-biodegradable plastic, and a pile of crap? First, he is little more than that now; secondly, I’m sure that Melania will be able to find another sugar daddy, even if--as I imagine is the case--he will leave her precious little. So, no.
What about the profanity here? I have generally avoided it in this blog, but excrement is a vital part of our ecosystem; we should recognize it for what it is. We don’t need to bow down to it, as the Republicans are doing, but we should put it to work in fertilizing a better future.
Predictit.org Pricing as a Means of forecasting the Electoral College Vote
My hobbyhorse has opened markets on the outcome of a fair number of states--not all, but the ones where they feel there might be enough interest on both sides to make a market. These are the two-part choice only: will the Democratic party win the state (no names of candidates), and will the Republican party win it? The prices go from 1 to 100 in one-cent increments only, and the opposing side has the complement (i.e., the price for No on Republican party winning=price for Yes on Democrat winning). The absence of an “Other” I think is an unfortunate, minor omission I will discuss below
The states are ranked below by their cost to buy Democratic Yes (yesterday’s price--I have today’s to show the amount of random variation/trending that one sees from day to day). We can go down the order and see, to a given market-driven level of probability, what states would be expected to go Democratic. The states marked with a * are those I called true Toss-up states in my previous post with the electoral vote map.
So, we start with those that have no markets but are assumed to be safe Republican (including the 1 EV in NE that went for Obama in 2008; I’d love to see a market just on that one):
6/4 Price for Democratic Yes (6/5 price if different)
Cumulative Repuublican EV
Solid R plus 1 NE EV
GA (16); IN (11)
Effectively, 25% of the cumulative market weight would have Trump at 180 Electoral Votes, that rises to 206 Electoral votes at 40%. Then there is a fairly large gap, which passes the median (50%) mark, until it hits a group of states with between 50% and 60% likelihood of Democratic win. Even winning all four of those, which has the support of 100-60=40% of the market weight, would not get Trump to 270 electoral votes; he needs PA to get over the hump (or, interestingly, NV without PA to get to 269, which, with the sizable Republican majority of House delegations, would almost certainly be enough to guarantee his victory). I differ with the markets somewhat; I think VA and NV less likely to go Democratic than the majority of Predictit.org bidders, while I am more optimistic with regard to FL (at least unless Trump goes with Marco Rubio or Rick Scott as his VP nominee).
Two other states currently have Predictit.org markets, NY and CA. Each was at 86% on 6/4 (CA moved to 88% today) , which I find ridiculously low (I have invested a little in the obvious outcome in each), but if they went Republican, their combined 84 Electoral votes, with the other states above, would take Trump to a monstrous 421 votes and would surely signify the end of Western civilization as we know it.
I need to revisit the unconventional call on NM in my previous electoral map as being only “Leans Democratic”, instead of being much more solid. My earlier calculation was based on the Republicans' effectively mobilizing their downstate base (Very West Texas, very right wing, and very anti-immigrant) and a lack of enthusiasm for Hillary in the highly liberal North. Trump’s feud with Susana Martinez, which may be papered over but cannot be ignored, and his failure so far to get Ted Cruz to come out for him, together have put an end to my speculation along those lines. I have to resist being stubborn about changing my expectations when facts are substantially changed.
The ploy last week by Bill Kristol, the neo-con editor of the conservative National Review magazine, who announced that he had identified a "credible conservative" candidate willing to run against Trump and Clinton, someone with "a real chance" of winning, turned out to be largely a head fake. The name he had in mind was David French, a respected writer on the Review's staff, but someone with a name recognition rating approximately equal to the quantity of his "real chance", about 0.01%. Of course, with no party, no ballot access, it's probably lower than that, and French has only expressed his willingness, not a formal candidacy, with the clock ticking on getting signatures to be on state ballots.
So, for the time being, we are left--beyond the two major parties--with the finalized Gary Johson-William Weld ticket for the Libertarians, and Jill Stein for the Green Party. The widespread antipathy for both Clinton and Trump does offer some hope to these outsiders, particularly the Libertarians. Some polling indicates their support is near 10%, not enough to get them on the debate platform, which might enable them, with a strong performance, to become a credible mainstream alternative to do some real damage, but, if that kind of number held up, could mean the difference in several closely-contested states. History suggests, however, that third-party support fades a bit in the final days of the general election campaign, when voters have to get real about which of the two major-party candidates they can live with.
The Libertarian ticket is designed to attract moderate Republicans: both Johnson and Weld are what would be considered social liberals. Neither is particularly pure as a small-government libertarian, I would say. They also have a bit of an issue in that their policy platform doesn't differ enough from Trump's positions (to the extent coherent positions can be derived from his statements). In this regard, they could draw more or less equally from independents who have more personal aversion to both Trump and Clinton; I don't know that they will be successful drawing Cruz-type Republicans dissatisfied with Trump. Then there is Stein, who might capture a percent or two among Sanders leftists who can't reconcile themselves with Clinton but see no value in Johnson/Weld; no meaning here except opportunity lost for the Democrats. If predictit.org creates a market for Johnson's popular vote in the general election--something they have not done but I would expect--I would bump up my previous expectation of 2-4% to the 4-6% range, if available.
In predictit.org terms, someone who really thinks that a third-party might win a particular state (and is later proven right) could win twice, a return of close to 100%, by buying No on both the Democratic and Republican markets. I would, however, remind the reader that neither John Anderson nor Ross Perot ever won any states.
Still more Predictit.org News
There is a market on the winning party of the Presidential election; this one includes "Other" as an option (currently at 4%; I still hold a couple of shares at 3% from when Bloomberg was thinking of running, which I thought would boost that price, which I could then sell at a profit); the 64-37% current Democratic/Republican markets are oversubscribed on the positive side, which I would expect to correct. This market is still open to new participants, whereas the market for the name of the person elected in 2016 (an old one, started last year, which has names like Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bloomberg, and all the failed Republican candidates) has the maximum allowed number of participants at 5000 and thus is closed to new participants for the time being. That one has Clinton 59%; Trump at 37% (those figures correspond well to the state-by-state markets tabled above) , Sanders at an unrealistic 7%, Johnson at 4%, and Biden at 6%--which I would describe as somewhat half-wishful thinking by those Clinton-haters expecting Hillary to be indicted and drop out, similar to the thinking I had with my semi-snark bids for Bloomberg previously. I never really thought he could win, but I did think the market could move up. In this game, there are the permanent bids, where you plan to hold until the end when the market is "resolved", and the market timing "investment" moves, when you like the price and buy in until such time as you don't like the risk/reward anymore.