CARL DIGGLER THROWS DOWN THE GAUNTLET: Nate Silver Is a Coward Who I Will Soon Crush with My Gut


Tomorrow morning I will release my final Presidential predictions for all 50 states.

My final map will have no “leaners” or “toss-ups.”

I will put my reputation on the line and call the winner of every single state with 100% certainty.

What will Nate Silver do?

Looking at the FiveThirtyEight‘s forecast on Sunday night, I can’t figure out Nate’s prediction is. On his Polls-only forecast, which just averages the polls, he gives Trump a 50.5% chance to win Nevada. That’s practically a coinflip! But on Nate’s Polls-plus forecast, which includes some nerd math, he gives Hillary a 50.3% chance to win Nevada.

Nate… are you still trying to have it both ways?

Even if Nate’s two models converge on one winner, he will still try to have it both ways. If he gives a candidate a 49.9% chance to win a state and they win, he can say, “hey, I said it would be even odds, so I was right!”

Right, because he didn’t predict anything.

It’s time to face facts. Nate’s little models failed in the primary. The Dig out-predicted both of his models up and down the ballot. And when I demanded that Nate stop hedging, stop misleading his poor readers, and just pick one candidate to one each state and have the damn confidence to stick with it, he cut and ran from my challenge to an honorable forecaster’s duel.

Because deep down inside, Nate knows that his models are broken. Nate knows that his precious little numbers are no substitute for the gut instinct of a 30-year-veteran of insider politics both inside the Beltway and out, a heroic alpha male who has met the voters in all 50 states of this great land and taken note of their unique sexual pathologies and cranial dimensions. Without that wealth of experience and racial science, Nate is forced to hedge his bets.

In the final week of the election, the spinning and hedging coming from Nate Silver is reaching a fever pitch as he faces a near-certain defeat at the hands of the Dig.

Here’s Nate moving the goalposts on what constitutes a “victory” for him:

Here’s Nate threatening violence (a form of ad hominem fallacy):

And here’s Nate losing his cool to a fellow forecaster:

It seems that everyone — even my horrible Millennial assistant — is finally waking up to the fact that Nate Silver is nothing more than a clam without a shell.

As I prepare to lock myself fully nude into my sensory deprivation tank to meditate on my final forecasts, I have one additional prediction to make — and I’ll be happy to be proven wrong on it.

I predict that Nate will, to some degree, disavow his failed Polls-plus forecast on Election Day when he realizes how utterly broken it is. I predict Nate will engage in the bait-and-switch of the century and produce a set of gut-based predictions in a last ditch effort to save his reputation.

Yes, after foolish readers and even my media colleagues who should know better spent the entire election worrying about where the candidates were standing in Nate’s silly little calculator, I think Nate will have the audacity to say “whoops, disregard that, it was actually wrong this entire time.”

Because, as even a child could see, there are some things a cold, soulless computer can’t tell you about elections. They can’t tell you that Latino voters are fired up because of Hillary’s extraordinary “I Am Your Abuela” pitch to them. They can’t tell you that Mormons are being swayed by robocalls alleging that Evan McMullin is a virgin. They can’t even begin to contemplate the Lena Dunham Effect on urban turnout.

All Nate’s little model can do is read the polls. Nate calls that “science” and says it’s superior to “gut.” But Nate, have you ever stopped and wondered how those pollsters figure out who’s going to vote on Election Day? They use a “Likely Voter” model. And how do they figure out who’s likely to vote?

That’s right.

They use gut, Nate.

Oh, the pollsters make a calculation, sure, but they have no way of truly knowing which data are more important than others. So they make a gut call, and say, “this is who we think is going to vote, and if we’re wrong, then we’re wrong.”

You could learn something from them, Nate. Something like humility. How to take a loss without trying to weasel your way out of it.

Nate, I am going to give you one last chance to redeem yourself in my eyes and in the eyes of your readers, your colleagues, the voters, and God.

I offer you a chance to live the rest of your life as the lesser pundit, but on your feet. Accept my challenge and predict without wishy washy leans or 50-50 probability ratios. Put your numbers against my mettle, your team of wizards (in either figurative sense) against me alone, and your honor against mine. You can chose to ignore and live out the remainder of your existence on your knees. But even in your weak body, there is kingly blood that cannot resist a challenge. Face me, Nathan. We have walked the earth till we have reached this point with each other in our respective paths.

One must step aside.

I am building my map. I suggest you build yours.

May the best pundit win.

With honor, sacrifice, and glory,

Carl Allison Diggler.

Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years and is the host of the Digcast, a weekly podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at or Tweet @carl_diggler.