No matter how high you fly, there’s someone who wants to drag you down.
This week, thanks to Nate Silver’s cowardice and failure and the launch of my SixThirtyEight site, I was crowned the undisputed forecasting king of 2016. And when you’re the king, you have a target on your back. Which may be why the once-estimable the Fix blog at the Washington Post wasted no time in responding to my triumph, dispatching young reporter Callum Borchers to assassinate your king with a dastardly hit piece.
So I must preempt my regular Friday mailbag to defend my honor from this savage attack.
Callum launches his screed by cruelly making light of the time my tie got stuck in a gas station hot dog roller (real classy, making fun of the less abled) then repeating the nasty rumor that I’m somehow “fictional.” If he had actually done some research he would have learned that that rumor was spread by the two malevolent and utterly entitled Millennials who work directly under me, @byyourlogic and his exotic friend, @virgiltexas.
The gist of Callum’s argument — if you could even call it that — is that the fact that I called over 30 more races than Nate Silver should count for nothing, because Nate didn’t even try to forecast such pivotal races as Puerto Rico and the American Samoa Caucus. According to Callum these are “places where so few delegates were at stake that hardly anyone in the press paid attention to the races.”
How dare you, Callum.
Maybe you ignored the Guam caucus; but I spent days examining the Polynesian skull with my racial science textbooks and calling my inside sources in Hagåtña — all so that my readers would have the best damn predictions possible. I envy you, Callum, living in that fantasy world of yours where the winner of the Guam caucus is irrelevant and where it won’t determine which candidate has the “Big Mo” heading into the vital Northern Mariana Islands race.
Callum also denies me credit for calling stateside races like Kansas and Idaho because they were supposedly too “easy” thanks to the “conventional wisdom.” Excuse me, Callum, but how “easy” was it to develop a complex theory of Christian voters’ behavior, one that explains how rapture-ready Midwestern evangelicals voted for Cruz as a harbinger of their Savior returning to Earth and kicking transpeople out of bathrooms? Did the “conventional wisdom” say that Idaho’s black helicopter paranoiacs and its bitter male loners living in unheated shacks would find Cruz and Bernie endearing, respectively? I think not.
If you ignore the 32-and-counting races Nate didn’t bother predicting this year, his accuracy record and mine are matched. But while Nate ducked for cover, shell-shocked and quivering, I stuck my neck out of the trenches and looked those primaries right in the eye and said, “Bring. It. On.” I put my gut-knowledge to the ultimate test and laid my credibility on the line to bring my readers a full 89 primary predictions. No, I will not give Nate, who ignored my noble challenge to a pundit’s duel, “partial credit.” Are candidates entitled to “partial votes”? Does Jeb Bush get to say, “Well, I dropped out after three states, so none of the races after that count”?
Don’t patronize me, Callum.
Finally, Callum — you compare me to a golfer named Steve Flesch? Only small-minded cretins concern themselves with this ridiculous sporpsball variant and the overpaid showboating jocks who work so hard to knock tiny little balls into tiny holes. Try to grow up and locate a more intellectually engaging pursuit, such as calling the winners and losers of the week, or watching the William Rehnquist confirmation hearings on tape.
A little advice to this young reporter: Next time you go after the king, Callum, don’t miss.
But worse than Callum Borcher disrespecting his once-beautiful name with a hideously fallacious attack on my predictions is his commanding officer Chris Cillizza’s great betrayal. Because here’s something you readers should know: “The Fix” and “The Dig” were great friends … until this week.
We made each other epic memes. We shared Jamie Lynn Spears Instagram posts. We chortled at uproarious Andy Borowitz articles. But guess what, Fix? I faked a lot of those ROFLMAOs. Should I keep going or should we call truce?
Remember the Republican National Convention in 2008, Chris? When you saw Palin’s speech and asked me how to make GIFs? You were practically weeping. “Carl, it’s the next big thing, and I don’t know how to do it! I don’t wanna be obsolete. Think about how they’ll change my Winners of the Week!” From the ledge, I saw you looking up at me. I extended my hand and taught you everything I knew about video capture. In the eight years after that, you made your name with epic viral gifs.
Perhaps I should have just looked down at you and said “No.”
All those times you Gchatted me jokes — like, “Hey Carl, Jared Fogel is going to make prison great again” — were you thinking of siccing your wretched attack dog “Borchers” on me throughout? Cillizza (I shan’t be calling you “The Fix” anymore as you have dishonored that title), you are Brutus; you are Judas; you are the Romans who let the barbarians penetrate the city at the gates.
You sold your soul for an easy score of clicks, and you smiled in your friend’s face as you plotted his demise.
But here I am, Christopher. You will not face me. You had your chance to do that, and sent a Callum Borchers to do the deed. A pox on the entire Fix vertical (except for Philip Bump). You disgust me.
You are hereby banned from The Fact Friends. Your picture will be burned. Ron cannot even hear your name without mumbling, “I once loved that boy.” The seeds of your treachery have planted a forest of discontent that can only be razed by the determination of the remaining Monsters of Muckraking.
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. And check out his predictions at SixThirtyEight.
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