Have a drink, Digheads, but don’t celebrate just yet. Monday I challenged FiveThirtyEight‘s Nate Silver to a Forecasting Duel. I gave fair terms: we shall both predict the winners of the remaining Presidential primary contests, then see who has the better record. Reasonable, right?
But Nate never replied.
I can’t keep waiting for Nate Silver to get his junk together. I am a pundit, and thousands of readers like you rely on my primary predictions and answers to your pressing questions about the state of the race. So I must go on, correctly predicting election results, while Nate cowers in his failure cave. Let’s hope he hears this, today’s three-martini mailbag anthem:
Now on to your questions:
Who’s going to win the North Dakota caucus this weekend?
Kaelin in San Bernardino, CA
You came to the right place, my friend. While the fake pundit boys at FiveThirtyEight have been watching sportsball and forecasting when they’ll lose their virginities, The Dig has been diligently researching population trends and IQ tables to get an intimate understanding of the North Dakota Republican brain.
The first thing to know is that the North Dakota GOP is holding a convention, not a caucus. In your mind, a “convention” sounds like a huge weekend party where professionals can loosen their ties, break out some bottles of the good stuff, and maybe even find a little off-the-clock romance with a colleague or “booth babe.” And that’s exactly what a convention is.
The second thing is that the delegates will be formally unbound. This means they can vote for whoever they want at the national GOP convention in July. Still, many of these delegates will bind themselves to one candidate or another, meaning someone has to come out on top. And based on that metric, I project that the winner in North Dakota will be Sen. Ted Cruz.
As I’ve noted several times in the past, Cruz does exceptionally well in Midwestern states where Christian folks vote knowing the next Commander-in-Chief will preside over the Second Coming and End Times. They don’t want a mercurial loudmouth like Donald Trump or a mumbling drifter like John Kasich sitting in the Oval Office when we have to explain to Jesus why America should be saved.
Furthermore, Cruz’s rumored affairs with five women are a big asset in a state full of young, single men lured by oil industry work. The massive gender ratio imbalance in these boomtowns has made sex work one of North Dakota’s top industries. These workers come out filthy and calloused after long, hard days of manual labor in the oil fields. To them, seeing a gelatinous mutant like Cruz attract so many women is nothing short of inspirational. When Cruz comes to speak to North Dakotans this weekend, expect him to get mobbed by tar-faced hardhats asking what’s his secret to picking up chicks. Like they say, what happens in North Dakota, stays in North Dakota!
Dear Carl Diggler,
You are completely ignorant of how statistical analysis works. What Nate Silver and other forecasters do is make mathematical models using polling data and other information to calculate the probability that a candidate will win…
Let me stop you right there, Professor Heisensperg. First of all, what do you call twiddling your thumbs around a bunch of numbers, praying that your “probability” is affirmed by results so you can look like an oracle (or running away in terror claiming that it wasn’t a prediction when reality makes you look like a fool)? Cowardice. A yellow stripe a mile wide down the reptilian backs of FiveThirtyEight. Near treason.
Second of all, what is probability? It’s a useless bag of numbers that Nate ascribes to races with no rhyme or reason. He works a jumble of numbers in his head, pushes his glasses up his nose, and says, “erm, I believe Ted Cruz has a 56 percent chance of winning Wisconsin.” There’s no way to ascertain how accurate this is. It’s meaningless.
Nate Silver gave Bernie a “<.01%” chance of winning the Michigan primary. Bernie won. Don’t take my word for it — look it up on his website. If his “probabilities” are that bad when it comes to blowouts, then how good can they be on the margins?
Post script: I called Michigan for Clinton as well. But when I was wrong I didn’t hide behind numbers and calculators. I manned up and said my gut was wrong, and I apologized for it. I apologized, and I gave myself a “failure bruise” that cut pretty deep, to be frank with you. A true pundit owns his mistakes. He doesn’t hide beneath his mother’s skirt. Nate Silver would be smart to learn that.
Here’s a homework assignment for you: add up every one of Nate Silver’s primary winner percentages this year and compare them to the actual results. Then tell me how good his precious “probabilities” are.
Hiya, Carl! I’ve been loving your columns lately, as always, but let me just say that I am particularly inspired by your feud with Nate Silver. Of course I’m on Team Dig when it comes to this clash of the titans, but I can’t help but take inspiration from your struggle when it comes to my own personal battle.
You see, Dig, for the past several months I have been locked in a feud with a fellow YouTube personality, the coward Adam Pepsi. We both Twitch stream a high strategy video game called “Train Table Simulator 2014” where the object is to schedule the trains so they run most efficiently. There are also mods for this game.
Now, the problem first started when Adam decided to compete with me on diesel engines. Obviously, there was tension before that, as we took to ad hominem attacks during Gamefaq’s legendary “Otis vs. Thyssen-Krupp: Who Makes Better Elevators” thread. Stinging from my victory in that arena, he decided to take it to the rails. He knows that The Milk is the master of diesel, so he spent endless amounts of threads defaming diesel engines on trains and propping up coal engines. This is where things got ugly.
After suffering months of abuse at the hands of Adam Pepsi and his foul followers, I have finally worked up the courage to challenge him to a Train-Off, thanks in no small part to your brave example. Yet to my chagrin, the coward Adam Pepsi has failed to accept my challenge, instead using the levers of his influence to slander me as a “conductor of mental retardation” and a “man without a caboose” to his dozens of stream followers.
Dig, my man, you have done an exceptional job calling out Nate Silver for refusing to duel you. Can you gave me any advice on how to get Adam Pepsi to accept my challenge and stop slandering me on GameFAQs?
David “The Milk” Milkberg in Essex Co., NJ
I have no idea where to start with this moronic word salad you have presented me. I am deeply offended that you would compare my high-level game of three-dimensional chess with fellow pundit Nate Silver to your asinine and frankly spectrum issue with another video game enthusiast.
Video games are literally for children, and I am an adult. I have zero time to humor your pathetic fantasies of winning the princess and defeating “Zelda.” I have something vastly more vital to do, which is proving Nate Silver wrong using gut, experience and personal wisdom.
This is your final warning. Do not contact me regarding “Train Table Simulator 2014” again, or I will be forced to delete your e-mail address from my address book.
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 email@example.com or Tweet to @carl_diggler.
To try CAFE’s Morning Shot email, sign up here.