The daily view 6/21/2024 Presidential Debate, Presidential Forecasting, Race Realism

This week is Juneteenth.

The creation of these ad-hoc holidays is part of the transition to a post-scarcity or post-work society. As AI becomes increasingly advanced, increased joblessness should lead to the creation of additional such holidays.

How The Economist’s presidential forecast works

2024 is going to be very close and decided by key swing states, as has typically been the case. It will not be at all like 1996, 2008, or 2012. This is why forecasting models are not that useful, as the swing states are such big and unknown variables. It’s like “I have 95% confidence that either candidate will get 48-52% of popular vote.” Great, real helpful. Trump’s 2016 upset invalidated political forecasting as a science, at least at the national level.

Biden has incumbency advantage, popular vote, and a strong economy (in terms of strong GDP growth and low unemployment) and strong stock market working in his favor, but this is offset by high inflation and an abysmally low approval rating. Trump has the Electoral College in his favor, but his felony conviction may turn off some moderates/undecided voters. Even if the election is not close in terms of the outcome, there is enough lumpiness or uncertainty with the Electoral College math that prediction models are near-useless. 2024 may still be a blowout or landslide for either side, but there is no way of knowing or predicting who will win with any high degree of certainty, unlike in 1996, 2008, or 2012.

The era of the GOP running duds like Romney, McCain, or Dole is over: Trump set the standard for future GOP front-runners, relying on the Electoral College to secure close wins that polling cannot predict. Sentiment matters much more than issues: This is why George W. Bush was so strong as a candidate despite being so bad policy-wise and a poor debater. Trump’s genius strategy is appealing to people who tend to under-represented in polling or culturally (the back row as discussed earlier) but are extremely reliable voters.

These Are the Rules of the CNN Presidential Debate.

The debate format favors Trump. The muted mics means Trump can turn every question into a rambling off-topic monologue without the ability of his opponent to interject. Biden cannot employ his dry humor to defect Trump, so Trump will come off as being more dominant. The lack of an audience is a coin-toss. Regarding props being disallowed, when has anyone in the history of presidential debates ever used props? The absence of notes also favors Trump, because of his ability to deliver monologues off the cuff.

Arnold Kling discusses race realism Steve Sailer’s Greatest Hits:

I said before that with most characteristics, much of the variation is within racial groups. Sailer would say the same thing, but it means nothing to people who cannot process statistical concepts.

For that and other reasons, I do not see “race realism” as the way to go. I am more in the Coleman Hughes camp (read that essay’s conclusions to see my views on the futility of race debates). Treat people as individuals, and stop keeping score by race.

It seems like Kling misses the most important point. Realism is the answer to favoritism or score-keeping by the left. The left are the ones keeping score , like quotas and cries of insufficient diversity at tech companies. Affirmative action and lowered standards is the left’s response to the reality that some groups will tend to outperform others in a meritocracy. Saying that ‘group X’ tends to outperform ‘group Y’ does not mean not treating people as individuals, as there is still considerable variance among individuals, but it can explain longstanding, intractable disparities of outcomes ( e.g. educational attainment or income between Y and X). This is what Steve and other ‘realists’ have been getting at.