The Republicans have their nominee, and fans of election forecasts have their new champion.
In the five weeks since I challenged Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight to a forecasting duel (that he’s been too cowardly to accept) I correctly predicted the results of 18 of the past 18 primaries and caucuses.
I foresaw that Ted Cruz’s infidelity would endear him to North Dakota’s horny oil workers. I called Wisconsin, then New York, down to the exact order of winners on the GOP side. Then I called all ten of the last Super Tuesday races, whereas Nate Silver’s gang of numbers virgins only predicted eight.
Last night, in my crowning achievement, I scored a world-historical victory over Nate Silver by predicting Bernie Sanders’ upset victory in Indiana. This was a race that FiveThirtyEight gave Hillary a 90% chance to win.
As the coward Nate Silver saw that Hillary was losing via exit polls, he pathetically tried to hedge his bets. He mewled that even though his Polls-Plus average showed Hillary winning, he magically had some other model that showed Bernie winning:
— marx but socialite (@devinmccooty) May 4, 2016
“I wish we’d published this a little sooner.” You mean, more than an hour before the polls closed, you simpering whelp?
This weasel-like equivocation is nothing new from Nate Silver. When judging his prediction record, Nate begs that people look at two of his models and pick whichever one was correct (!):
@virgiltexas Essentially, yes. He gets two shots and we STILL beat him.
— Benchmark Politics (@benchmarkpol) May 4, 2016
I will no longer go easy on Nate for his craven excuses. When it came to predicting the results of the Indiana primary, it was very simple: I was right, and he was wrong.
As of today, I have an 89% accuracy rate in forecasting this year’s primaries, the same as Nate Silver. However! Whereas Nate tried to predict a mere 56 contests so far, I have attempted to forecast a whopping 87 primaries, caucuses, and conventions.
You can’t call yourself a winner if you don’t play the game. And you can’t call yourself a serious forecaster if you hem and haw and renege on your own damn predictions. Nate may have ignored my honorable challenge to a pundit’s duel, but I think the winner is clear.
Carl Diggler is this year’s Election Forecasting King.
But enough about my virtuous battles with lesser pundits. Last night’s primary produced another clear winner: presumptive nominee Donald Trump. I’ll talk about that in a moment. But first, a valediction for Ted Cruz.
The Cruz Cruise Sinks
It’s the end of the road for Lovecraftian sea beast Ted Cruz. The Texan pedant suspended his campaign following Trump’s dominant victory, and barring John Kasich fooling Trump into signing a fake deed on his house that gives the Ohioan half his delegates, or the billionaire suffering an orgy-related accident, Cruz probably won’t be unsuspending it.
Sure, Cruz will relish at the opportunity of going to the convention with all his delegates due to the hundreds of rules he has no doubt memorized. But he’s taken his shot, and he missed.
What was Cruz’s death knell? Some say it was that the vast majority of people who encounter him come to despise him. Others say it was an inability to get sufficiently racist for GOP primary voters when the time came. But my theory is that extremely spectrum Cruz supporters were so entranced by the concept of a “Trump Train” that many switched loyalties.
Cruz may have been unlikable and hideous, and he may have had a voice that could will infants to instinctually claw off their own ears. But he fulfilled a role as the last vestige of John Birch Society respectability in the Republican primary.
I will miss the formality Cruz brought to the process, such as when he reduced a 6 year old to tears by ripping apart multiple fallacies in her “letter to God” in front of a rapt crowd in New Hampshire, or when he caused a former Marine to go catatonic by smiling with a full grin at a Wisconsin VFW hall.
The inherently detestable constitutional expert arrived to every venue with a sense of destiny, and left a trail of vomit and confusion in his wake. Here’s to you, Senator.
Republicans, Meet Your Nominee: Donald J. Trump
At long last, it’s all over.
Despite the many conservative intellectuals like Girth Assley IV and Beaux Ty-Dipchitte writing furious editorials for universally respected organs of thought like The National Review and The Weekly Standard, Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.
Yes, pockets of resistance remain, specifically in the form of the #NeverTrump movement and drifter John Kasich, who is still stumping out West and threatening to lead a “shoeless revolt” against Trump. But for all intents and purposes, this race is over, folks.
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) June 17, 2015
The entire commentariat is going to feel a little silly when Marco Rubio wins every Republican primary.
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) September 25, 2015
The Dig, on the other hand, has always sensed the bombastic billionaire’s political strengths.
For one, the reality TV star has been cracking up just about everybody since last year with his viral meme-ready moments. From that oh-so-Photoshoppable Make America Great Again hat to his epically “yuuuuge” wall to keep the nonwhites out, Trump has consistently delivered the LOLs that GOP voters crave.
Fresh off his knee-slapping and viral-ready SNL appearance, The Donald showed up, doling out zingers right and left. Literally, no one was safe from the mogul’s ire. This will be an epic night to remember for all lovers of viral politics. Not to be forgotten: he reiterated that Mexican immigrants are criminals and should be forced out of the U.S. at gunpoint. It was certifiable ROFL after LMAO for Mr. Trump.
It’s safe to say, in other words, that the Dig wasn’t caught totally unaware by Trumpmentum.
After all, coming of age in the 80s — when a B-movie actor could become a historically great moderate and consensus-building President — taught me that anything can happen in politics. In fact, Bernie Sanders’ upset win last night was proof enough that you can be a hopeless loser and still fight on — and win — likely in the hope that your opponent will be arrested for sending illegal e-mails or that her husband will accidentally say slavery was good.
So to answer the question folks ask me the most — Can Trump win the general election? — my response is: he sure can. Anything is possible in politics, and that’s why the game is played. So grab some popcorn and keep watching with the Dig!
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet to @carl_diggler.
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