08 November 2012

Election 2012: Nate Silver

As Sonic Charmer detailed in exhaustive detail, many on the right spent a lot of time criticizing Nate Silver and his presidential election model for being too biased in Obama’s favor. It’s obvious now, though, that Silver was exactly correct. He called every single state correctly. Not only that, his model also indicated which states would be the closest. His model suggested that Obama would have narrow victories in Virginia and Florida, and that Romney would have a narrow victory in North Carolina. His model seemed overly confident in calling Ohio for Obama, and seemed too pessimistic in calling Colorado and Iowa for Obama. That aside, his model was quite serviceable and predicted the Electoral College quite accurately.

But what to make of conservatives’ charges of bias? Sonic Charmer argued on several occasions that the only criticism that makes sense is that all the polls are systematically biased in Obama’s favor. Now, it makes some degree of sense in retrospect that some conservatives would find this theory plausible. After all, the MSM has a fairly long history of liberal bias, and this has been well-documented by conservatives like Bernard Goldberg and Michael Medved, among many others. It makes sense, then, that polls undertaken by the liberal media would have a liberal bias.

I think, though, that Stephen Colbert was more prescient than he realized at the time when he said that, “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” I think that this election, in vindicating Nate Silver’s model, shows clearly that reality does now have a liberal bias. Furthermore, I think this liberal bias is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The education system and the media* have done quite a bit to undermine traditional conservative values. (In my opinion, this is not a wholly good or wholly bad thing, but it’s more important to simply acknowledge this as reality for the time being). Allowing immigration of the sort and to the extent that America has of late hasn’t been helpful either.

Thus, this election appears to prove that liberalism is, for better or worse, ascending, while conservatism (of the traditional and not neo- variety) is on the decline. It is unlikely that this trend will continue forever, but there is no telling when or how it will end. That said, conservatives would do well to accept the fact that American culture has shifted from traditionalism to progressivism, and that it is highly unlikely that a conservative resurgence will occur soon.

* To those that would argue that the media cannot influence anyone, I would like to simply point out that if this is the case, then the media has sold advertising under fraudulent pretenses. Cf. Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death and How to Watch T.V. News for a more in-depth look at this subject.

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