Silver wins Gold: Ranking the poll aggregators in the 2016 presidential election

It’s taken me a few days to write this because I’ve been basically unconscious for the last 3 days.  To recap, Hillary Clinton, certainly a weak candidate, but also clearly the most qualified candidate to ever run for president, got hundred of thousands (and when it’s all said and done likely millions) more votes than Donald J. Trump, a racist, sexist, xenophobe, who doesn’t understand the Constitution, but the latter will be the president because we choose presidents based on a system that was created in a time when England had a king, some people owned other people, and before scientific evidence of germs.

Screen Shot 2016-11-12 at 8.53.52 PM.png

The silent majority isn’t a majority, it’s just an arbitrarily, geographically well located minority.  I know this makes you want to scream into a pillow or punch a wall, but if you want to do something productive instead, here are some suggestions.

Anyway, the point of this post is to review the six poll aggregators that made numeric predictions for each state and were compiled on the New York Times The Upshot: New York Times (NYT), FiveThirtyEight (538), Huffington Post (HuffPost), PredictWise (PW), Princeton Election Consortium (PEC), and Daily Kos (DK) (The raw data can be found on my GitHub Page in the repo Statsinthewild).

Below is a sweet plot that I made comparing the predictions of these six aggregators.  I’ve ordered the states from most red to most blue based on the average of the six predictions from November 5 three days before the election.  Then for each state I plotted a boxplot for the distribution of the 6 predictions and overlaid the individual predictions on top.  The colors of the boxplots are blue if the state (or district) went to Clinton and red if they went to Trump.

pollaggregatorscomparison

What immediately stands out for me on this plot is how much lower the Clinton win probabilities were for 538 compared to the other five sets of predictions for states starting and Nevada and moving right on the plot towards bluer states.  Other notable outlying predictions include Huffington Post’s predictions for Florida and North Carolina, which were 97% and 89%, respectively. The New York Times had some outlying probabilities that were high for Clinton in states like Mississippi and Missouri as well as Utah and Georgia.  FiveThirtyEight had many outlying probabilities for the “blue” states, but their most notable outlier for the red states was Alaska, which they gave Clinton a 26% chance of winning.  The next highest probability for Clinton in Alaska was 10%.

So now let’s analyze who was the best.  I’m going to do this in two ways: Brier Score and Logarithmic Loss.  I computed results based only on the 50 states and Washington, D.C. ignoring the weird districts in Maine and Nebraska.  Results are below: 

Average Rank Poll Aggregator Brier Score Log Loss
1 FiveThirtyEight 0.066 0.216
2 PredictWise 0.074 0.259
3.5 New York Times 0.088 0.281
3.5 Princeton Election Consortium 0.089 0.272
5 Daily Kos 0.091 0.402
6 Huffington Post 0.104 0.446

The worst of the poll aggregators was the Huffington Post.  This looks to be because of their overconfidence in Clinton in several states that Trump won. For example they had Pennsylvania and Wisconsin at >99% and 98% for Clinton, both of which she lost.  Daily Kos comes in 5th with a similar Brier score as Princeton Election Consortium and New York Times, but a much worse Log Loss.  Log loss punishes you heavily for being over confident and wrong, and with predictions like Michigan and Wisconsin at >99% and 99%, respectively, the Daily Kos got crushed by Log Loss.  New up we have Princeton Election Consortium and the New York Times who finished 3rd and 4th, respectively, using Brier score.  However, they flip flop rankings when using Log Loss.  Next up, and claiming the Silver medal is the market site PredictWise with a Brier score of 0.074 and a Log Loss of 0.259.

So who was the big “winner” of this Election?  Nate Silver.  A few days before the election I said that for him to look good in this election he needed it to be close or have Trump actually win.  Well Trump won and he was the only person who really gave Trump any chance of winning.  On top of that, his state by state predictions outperformed all of the other poll aggregators, and I’m crowning Nate Silver the champion of poll aggregators for the 2016 presidential election.  What Silver did better than any of the other models was when a state was truly a toss up, his model reflected it.  He had North Carolina, for instance, at 50% and Florida at 51% FOR the Republicans on November 5.  The only other set of predictions to get close to those numbers was PredictWise, which had North Carolina at 63% and Florida at 53% for Democrats.

Finally, here is a plot of the six poll aggregators with their Log Loss score on the x-axis and their Brier score on the y-axis.  Scores that are on the lower left are best and scores on the upper right are the worst.  PollAggregatorsComparisonBrier.png

P.S. Here is a list of articles critical of Nate Silver before the election from the Huffington Post, Fortune, Vox, the Washington Post, Huffington Post again, Mashable and Wired.  Whoops.

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL Picks – Week 12

Arizona at Atlanta

Prediction: Falcons 24-23 (50.9%)

Pick: Falcons +4

Total: Under 50.5

Cincinnati at Baltimore

Prediction: Ravens 22-21 (50.4%)

Pick: Bengals +4.5

Total: Over 40.5

Jacksonville at Buffalo

Prediction: Bills 24-18 (65.6%)

Pick: Jaguars +7.5

Total: Under 45.5

Tennessee at Chicago

Prediction: Bears 23-20 (57.9%)

Pick: Bears +3.5

Total: Over 43

NY Giants at Cleveland

Prediction: Giants 23-22 (52.7%)

Pick: Browns +7

Total: Over 44.5

Washington at Dallas

Prediction: Dallas 26-22 (60.4%)

Pick: Washington Football Team +7

Total: Under 51

Kansas City at Denver

Prediction: Broncos 23-19 (59.6%)

Pick: Broncos -3.5

Total: Over 39.5

Minnesota at Detroit

Prediction: Lions 22-20 (55.4%)

Pick: Vikings +2.5 

Total:Under 43

San Diego at Houston

Prediction: Texans 23-21 (54.2%)

Pick: Texans EVEN

Total: Under 45.5

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis

Prediction: Steelers 24-23 (51.0%)

Pick: Colts +3.5

Total:

San Francisco at Miami

Prediction: Dolphins 23-19 (59.0%)

Pick: 49ers +7.5

Total: Under 45.5

Los Angeles at New Orleans

Prediction: Saints 26-21 (63.0%)

Pick: Rams +7

Total:Over 45.5

New England at NY Jets

Prediction: Patriots 24-22 (56.9%)

Pick: Jets +8

Total: Under 47

Carolina at Oakland

Prediction: Panthers 23-21 (55.1%)

Pick: Panthers +4

Total: Under 50

Green Bay at Philadelphia

Prediction: Packers 24-23 (50.2%)

Pick: Packers +3.5

Total: Under 47.5

Seattle at Tampa Bay

Prediction: Seahawks 24-19 (62.3%)

Pick: Buccaneers +5.5

Total: Under 45

Fun with Benford’s law: Election 2016 edition: What’s up with Iowa and Mississippi

Before I begin this post, I need to make it clear to the conspiracy lunatics out there that this is not evidence that the 2016 election was rigged.  As of right now, there is basically no evidence that this election was anything other than a massive, but fair, fuck up by the American people.  Could the election have been rigged?  Sure.  Anything, no matter how unlikely is possible in the world we live in now.  (I mean Donald Trump a racist, xenophobic, misogynist, was elected president of the United States of America, which was basically an impossibility like 3 weeks ago.)  But let me again say there is no evidence that the election was rigged.  And that includes this post.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Benford’s Law (tip of the hat to @mulderc for this idea).  Benford’s law states that in a list of numbers the leading digits does not appear uniformly.  The digit 1 is expected to be first about 30% of the time, while the digit 9 is expected to be first only about 4.5% of the time.  Specifically, for a digit d between 1 and 9, the probability that number appears first is given by the following formula:

p(d) = log_{10}(1+\frac{1}{d})

So let’s apply this to the 2016 election.  I downloaded data on the 2016 election at the county level from here.  Using all of the data for each of the candidates I get the following two plots.  The height of the bar is what is actually observed and the red dots are what is to be expected by Benford’s law.  It really is amazing how well this distribution fits the data.

benfordclintonall2016benfordtrumpall2016

And if we go back to 2012, we see exactly the same thing.  Amazing.  Benford’s Law seems so counterintuitive, but it’s observed in so many different places.

benfordromney2012_allbenfordobama2012_all

Next I wanted to look at individual states.  This is problematic for at least a few reasons.  Most notably, there are a some states that have very few counties in them (e.g. Massachusetts, Alaska, etc.).  So I went ahead and tested each state with at least 30 counties individually to see if their votes followed Benford’s Law.  I also went a step further, as Benford’s law can be extended to the first two digits, three digits, etc.  Below are the results of individual state goodness-of-fit tests for Benford’s law for 1-4 digits using a Bonferroni correction to control the family-wise error rate (FWER).  States where the null hypothesis is rejected for Trump and Clinton are colored red and blue, respectively.  States where the null is rejected for both Clinton and Trump are colored purple.  I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t even be doing a Benford’s goodness of fit on the first 3 or 4 digits when I only have 30 observations.  But I did it anyway.  I’d pay more attention to the plots for the digits 1 and 2.  On those plots we see that the null hypothesis for Trump’s totals in Iowa and Mississippi was rejected for 1 digit and for 2 digits the null was rejected in Mississippi only.  Let’s go look at Iowa and Mississippi in more detail.

benfordtestmap2016_bonf

If we look at Trump’s and Clinton’s vote totals in Iowa, we get the plot below.  This is significantly different than Benford’s Law with a p-value of 0.0205.

benfordtrumpclinton2016_ia

Next I looked at each candidates vote totals individually.  The departure from Benford’s Law is entirely driven by Trump’s vote totals.  Trump has was less 1’s than expected and more than expected for 2 through 5.

benfordtrump2016_iabenfordclinton2016_ia

Before you go flipping out about how this is evidence of election fraud, you should look at Iowa from 2012.  Basically we see the same thing with the Republican candidate.  Too few 1’s and more 2’s and 4’s than we expect.  My guess as to what is happening here is that the types of counties that Republicans are winning in Iowa are not expected to follow Benford’s law?  Is that plausible?   But I’d love to hear other ideas as to what is happening in Iowa.

benfordromney2012_iabenfordobama2012_ia

Now let’s look at Mississippi.  When we look at Clinton and Trump together, there is nothing significant.  Though we do see far fewer 1’s than expected, just like in Iowa.

benfordtrumpclinton2016_ms

When we look at Trump and Clinton individually, we see that Clinton’s vote totals are not significantly different than Benford’s Law expects, but Trump’s are very different again with far too few 1’s and way too many 4’s.

benfordclinton2016_msbenfordtrump2016_ms

Finally, here are the plots for test for 2012 using a Bonferroni correction to control the FWER.  Iowa shows up again when d=1, but Oregon shows up when d=2.

 

benfordtestmap2012_bonf

 

In conclusion, Benford’s law is fun and there’s something weird about Iowa and Mississippi.

 

Cheers.

2016 Presidential Election Maps

Well, the 2016 presidential election is over and Donald Trump is going to be the president of the United States.  (How do I feel about that?  Here are my open letters to Donald J Trump and the American people.)

You’ve probably seen a map that looks like this a bunch of times showing which candidate won each state.  It tells an interesting story about the United States in 2016 in that it is a nice summary of the idea that there are two America’s.  One exists largely on the east and west coasts and the other exists basically in the middle of the United States.

candidatesTWOstates_EC.png

What I dislike about this plot is that it is far too simplistic.  A better way to look it would be to shade in the state on a scale of red to blue.  That would look like this.  America isn’t really red and blue, it’s very purple.  One problem with this plot is that we don’t get any idea of the population in each of these states.

candidatestwostates

I added in the population by using the opaqueness and that plot looks like this.  Again, America isn’t really red and blue, it’s purple.

candidatestwostates_dens1

 

These plots are nice, but I’d like to drill down further.  So I downloaded data from Kaggle’s Data sets for the 2016 election at the county level to make this plot. I much prefer this plot with a color scale for percentage of votes in each county, rather than giving each county to one candidate or the other.  The percentages here are computed by only considering votes cast for the two major party candidates and then calculating what percentage each of those two candidates received.  You’ll notice that the west coast and east coast are not surprisingly mostly blue and the middle of the country is red.  Some interesting exceptions are New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado are much bluer than the other states that surround them.  There is also an interesting band of blue in the south that runs from North Carolina west through South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.  I can’t explain that, but I’d love to hear theories about that.  It’s also interesting to see just how purple the upper midwest is in states like Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.

candidatestwo_dens1

However, there are problems with this map too as it’s difficult to see the population of these counties as they are all presented as the same.  So in the next plot, I’ve used the opaqueness to show more populated counties and less populated counties are more translucent.  That plot looks like this below.  You can see from this plot not only the percentage of votes in each county, but also the population in those counties.  The most notable aspect of this plot is how much less red there is in this plot.  That’s a result of the red counties having much smaller populations than other counties.  I really, really like this plot.  candidatestwo

Next I wanted to look at third party candidates by county and you get this.  You’ll see that Utah was the predominant state that voted for a third party candidate (Evan McMullin) as well as New Mexico (Gary Johnson) and parts of Idaho (McMullin).

thirdparty

Drilling down into individual third parties you can wee who was voting for Gary Johnson.  This was primarily centered in New Mexico, where Johnson is a former governor.  Johnson had very little support in the south.

libertarianparty

Jill Stein did well in a few places in the United states, however, she failed to make it on the ballot in all 50 states.  The big pockets of Stein support are the northern coast of California and parts of Colorado.  I really like the juxtaposition of Vermont and New Hampshire next to each other.

greenparty

Finally, here is a plot of McMullin support that was primarily in Utah and southern Idaho, which are heavily Mormon areas of the country.  There also seems to be moderate support for McMullin in Minnesota.

mcmullin

If you are interested in the code, you can find it here.  And the data is from here.

Cheers.

Mad about Trump winning the electoral college, but losing the popular vote? Check out John Quincy Adams and Rutherford B. Hayes.

I’m still nauseous from the giant screw up America just made electing an entitled, unqualified man baby to be the leader of the free world.  The only thing that settles my stomach is looking at data.  (Or should I say daTUMS. Pun very much intended.)

So what I wanted to look at today was the relationship between the popular vote and the electoral vote.  So I got data from the most reputable source on the internet, Wikipedia.  The plot below shows the popular vote percentage margin of victory for the winner on the x-axis (negative numbers if they lost the popular vote) against the percentage of the electoral college that they received.  Kind of a confusing relationship.  In the past, some ten point victories have garnered only about 60% of the electoral college votes whereas more recently with Reagan a 10 point victory got him about 90% of the electoral votes.  Next, notice Trump on the left of the plot.  Trump got nearly 60% of the electoral college votes and lost by 1.7% (and still growing….).  What’s really alarming about this is that two other presidents have actually lost the popular vote WORSE than Trump and still been elected.  John Quincy Adams actually lost both the popular vote AND got less electoral votes, but since no one got a majority of electoral college votes the decision of who would be president went to the Congress and they chose Adams even though Jackson got about 11% more of the popular vote and 11 more electoral votes than Adams.  How angry would Twitter be if that happened today (Answer: very angry).  In 1876, Hayes lost the popular vote by about 3 percentage points, but squeaked out a 185 to 184 win in the electoral college (with turnout at 81.8%!).  Next in line on the list of presidents who lost the popular vote is none other than Donald Trump, who lost by almost 2% but got a greater percentage of the electoral votes than George W. Bush did in either of his victories.  So we actually have seen presidents who lost the popular vote by more than Trump, but not since the late 1800s.  prespct

Next I looked at vote margin against the percentage of the electoral college.  No one has ever lost the popular vote my more votes that Trump and it’s not even close.  Of course, it’s not really a fair comparison to compare Trump to Hayes, but when Bush lost the popular vote to Gore, it was at least relatively close.  Trump is going to end up losing the popular vote by possible 2 million votes.  That’s a lot of people.

presvotesall

Here is what that plot looks like if you zoom in on the origin.  There is Donald Trump way out to the left by himself nearly 2 million votes behind Clinton.  presvotessmall

Cheers.

Gun Violence Data

Guns are a public health problem.

Miles Ott

After digging around the internet looking for data on gun violence for a few minutes,  I found Gun Violence Archive which has a ton of great information on gun violence in the US. You can search for incidents by date, location, age of victim, kind of gun, and much more.  On top of that, you can download CSV files directly from the website.

Here’s what I made with 32 days worth of data:

View original post 27 more words

NFL Picks – Week 11

New Orleans at Carolina

Prediction: Panthers 27-23 (59.7%)

Pick: Panthers -3.5

Total: Under 51.5

Buffalo at Cincinnati

Prediction: Bengals 23-20 (59.2%)

Pick: Bengals -3

Total: Under 47

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Prediction: Steelers 25-21 (60.0%)

Pick: Browns +9

Total: Under 49

Baltimore at Dallas

Prediction: Cowboys 23-21 (55.7%)

Pick: Ravens +7

Total: Under 45

Jacksonville at Detroit

Prediction: Lions 25-20 (59.7%)

Pick: Jaguars +6.5

Total: Under 47

Tennessee at Indianapolis

Prediction: Colts 25-21 (59.7%)

Pick: Colts -3

Total: Under 52.5

Tampa Bay at Kansas City

Prediction: Chiefs 24-19 (63.1%)

Pick: Buccaneers +7.5

Total: Under 44

Arizona at Minnesota

Prediction: Cardinals 21-20 (50.1%)

Pick: Cardinals EVEN

Total: Over 41

Chicago at NY Giants

Prediction: Giants 24-21 (58.2%)

Pick: Bears +7

Total: Under 47.5

Houston at Oakland

Prediction: Raiders 21-20 (51.3%)

Pick: Texans +6

Total: Under 46

Philadelphia at Seattle

Prediction: Seahawks 24-19 (64.4%)

Pick: Eagles +6.5

Total: Under 44.5

New England at San Francisco

Prediction: Patriots 25-21 (60.0%)

Pick: 49ers +13.5

Total: Under 51

Miami at Los Angeles

Prediction: Rams 21-20 (53.2%)

Pick: Rams -1

Total: Over 40.5

Green Bay at Washington

Prediction: Packers 25-23 (56.0%)

Pick: Packers +2.5

Total: Under 50.5

An open letter to the American people

America,

You just elected Donald J. Trump president of the United States of America.  What a monumental screw up.  I mean it’s true that most of you wanted Hillary Clinton.  But you hate changing your rules, no matter how antiquated they are.  So now you are stuck with a thin-skinned, petrified moldy peach with a penchant for casual (and sometimes more than casual) racism who has no (literally ZERO) governmental experience as your leader.  What a mess!

To the part of you that wanted Clinton, know that you’ll get through this.  It might not be easy, and for some it may be a living hell.  America, you’ll get through this (Probably).  Now is not the time to quit. Remember how this feels.  Never forget this.  Learn from it.  Don’t take anything for granted.  And Jesus Christ.  Vote.  Don’t listen to Kanye.

To the part of you that wanted Trump, I understand that you were angry and wanted a change.  I will admit that I can’t possibly understand your anger because my life experience is so totally different than yours.  I am genuinely interested in listening to what you have to say.  I want to hear from you why you are so pissed off.  Sometimes when things aren’t going my way, I get so angry I know I have to do something to control the anger.  Some people cope with this anger by exercising or reading a book or doing something productive.  But what you’ve just done by voting for Trump is equivalent to punching a wall.  You just have to do something with all this pent up rage, and you just let it all out by punching a wall.  Once you’ve punched the wall, you might feel better for like 2 seconds, but then all of your problems that were there before are still there.  And now you might have a hole in your wall.  And a broken hand.  And the other people you live with are pissed because now they have to live with a hole in their wall.  But all of the problems that made you originally punch the wall are still there.  Nothing’s changed.  The late 1950s aren’t coming back.  But now you have a self-obsessed egomaniac with absolutely zero experience in government running you, the most powerful nation on earth.  I hope your hand heals soon.

Electing Donald to run you is like asking me to run a nuclear power plant.  I don’t have the slightest clue how to run a nuclear power plant (or any type of power plant).  Mainly because I’ve never run a nuclear power plant before, never worked in a power plant before, don’t understand nuclear power, don’t know how to manage people, and genuinely have no desire to do perform the minute details of what it takes to run a nuclear power plant.  Trump running the executive branch of the US government is grossly negligent of the people who hired him to do the job.  Which is you America.  Shame on you.  You’ve turned reality into a reality show.

To the part of you that didn’t vote, what are you doing?  I waited in line for 45 minutes to vote (which is  ridiculous, by the way) for Hillary Clinton, a certainly weak candidate who was unquestionably more qualified than her opponent .  But millions of you couldn’t even find the time to vote?  And some of you couldn’t even be bothered to register to vote.  There are people all over the world who have literally fought and died for the right to vote.  But you can’t get your ass up off the couch to go vote because you’re watching some Mike and Molly re-run or some garbage Thursday night NFL game between AFC South rivals Jacksonville and Tennessee? Come on, man.  Get your shit together, America.

So what do I want from you, America?  I want you to care.  I want you to get involved.  I honestly don’t care where you fall on the political spectrum, left, right, center, libertarian, red, blue, green, TEA, socialist, communist, anarchist, get involved in the political process.  Register to vote.  Run for local office.  Find someone you support who is running for local office and help them get elected.  Donate INVOLVED.  My second piece of advice?  Listen. Stop yelling and listen to other people.  People who have different opinions from you aren’t necessarily wrong (some opinions are objectively wrong, like, say, white supremacy, for instance).  They just have different opinions.  Because people are different.  Listen to those opinions.  You might learn something.

Finally, I hope that next time you go through this garbage you call an election, you can find at least one person with an approval rating over 50%, and we can put the Trump era in our rear view mirrors in 4 years rather than 8.  Is that too much to ask?  You’ve got 4 years to figure it out.  Good luck.

Cheers.

 

 

 

NFL Playoff Probabilities – Week 10

 
Team WinDivison MakePlayoffs MakeSuperBowl WinSuperBowl
ARI 17.8 53.0 6.8 2.5
ATL 62.5 71.7 12.6 6.5
BAL 8.1 16.1 1.9 1.2
BUF 19.3 66.1 9.9 4.6
CAR 19.6 31.3 3.5 2.4
CHI 0.1 0.5 0.0 0.0
CIN 19.8 37.9 4.3 1.9
CLE 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
DAL 86.1 92.7 20.9 9.5
DEN 67.1 85.7 17.3 9.1
DET 3.8 11.3 1.2 0.6
GB 45.1 78.1 10.8 3.7
HOU 59.2 63.5 7.2 3.3
IND 21.9 26.3 3.0 1.1
JAC 2.7 2.9 0.2 0.1
KC 25.4 58.3 8.4 4.1
MIA 1.0 5.6 0.2 0.2
MIN 51.0 80.4 14.4 6.4
NE 77.8 95.9 26.4 14.8
NO 16.8 27.4 3.3 2.0
NYG 3.3 15.5 1.3 0.5
NYJ 1.9 9.0 0.9 0.3
OAK 4.1 16.0 2.0 1.1
PHI 5.8 18.9 2.8 1.9
PIT 72.1 81.8 15.7 7.8
SD 3.4 15.2 0.9 0.2
SEA 81.2 92.7 20.1 12.8
SF 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
STL 1.0 6.2 0.8 0.5
TB 1.1 1.6 0.0 0.0
TEN 16.2 19.7 1.7 0.4
WAS 4.8 18.7 1.5 0.5

 

NFL Rankings – Week 10

I have two rankings systems “Prosp” and “Retro”.  “Prosp” is based on 5 years of data with a very steep weighting curve.  “Retro” is based entirely on the current season and strength of schedule.

 
 Rank Team Prosp Retro PredMargin Change W L
1 DAL 57 70 0.483  8  1
2 ATL 52 64 0.184  6  4
3 DEN 60 63 2.378  7  3
4 KC 54 61 1.235  7  2
5 OAK 47 61 -1.149  7  2
6 PHI 53 61 0.090  5  4
7 WAS 51 60 -1.115  5.5  3.5
8 NE 62 60 3.001  7  2
9 SEA 69 57 3.706  6.5  2.5
10 SD 50 53 -0.570  4  6
11 NYG 41 53 -0.445  6  3
12 BUF 56 52 0.014  4  5
13 MIN 50 52 0.325 5  4
14 HOU 52 51 0.041  6  3
15 NO 57 51 0.535  4  5
16 TEN 39 51 -2.308  5  5
17 ARI 54 51 1.969 4.5  4.5
18 IND 42 49 -0.563  4  5
19 DET 49 49 -0.375  5  4
20 MIA 41 48 -1.226  5  4
21 LA 38 48 -1.753  4  5
22 BAL 51 48 0.080  5  4
23 GB 58 47 2.642  4  5
24 CAR 63 46 2.444  3  6
25 PIT 57 46 1.651  4  5
26 CIN 55 43 1.658  3.5  5.5
27 TB 42 43 -1.795  4  5
28 NYJ 49 38 -0.413  3  7
29 JAC 32 37 -3.212  2  7
30 CHI 46 37 -1.674  2  7
31 CLE 34 27 -3.594  0 10
32 SF 42 26 -2.246  1  8

 

An open letter to Donald J. Trump

Donald,

I didn’t vote for you.  A lot of people didn’t.  In fact, more people voted for Clinton than voted for you.  Probably because you are the least qualified, most divisive person to ever be nominated by a major party.  You are a bigot.  You didn’t release your tax returns.  You are a liar.  You have no understanding of the Constitution.  You are selfish.  You are a terrible role model.  You are a hypocrite.  You are a bully.  You are thin skinned.  You are intellectually lazy.  You may not ever understand the full scope of what it means to be president.  You’ve been accused of saxual assault by more than a few women.

In the single digit a.m. hours of November 9, 2016 after you were elected, I couldn’t sleep because my 7 week old daughter was screaming.  But I’m sure that if she was sound asleep I still would have been awake.  I was sickened thinking about my little baby girl growing up in a world where the president of the United States of America bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.  In a world where the president of the United States is endorsed by the KKK.  In a world where a man with literally no experience, gets the job over a vastly more qualified woman.  On November 8, I was raising a daughter in a world where she could be president; 24 hours later I didn’t know how I was going to explain this to her when she gets older.  But hey, at least she’s 7 weeks old and not 7 years old.  I have no idea what I would say to her if that was the case.  But at least that’s in the future, and I can deal with it later.  Let’s talk about now.

I abhor you as a person, and I abhor your policies.  But none of that fucking changes anything.  You are the President-Elect of the United States of America, and I am an American (Even if you were elected in an antiquated system where your opponent got more votes than you……).  Therefore, you are my president and you represent me along with 318.9 million other Americans, even the ones who detest you.  So, while I respect your right to power (not acknowledging the outcome of the election is not productive), I will work tirelessly over the next four years (and beyond) to support candidates, REGARDLESS of their party, who oppose your divisive policies that are often not based in reality or are overtly racist.

I will say this though, if you’ve done one good thing, it’s made people in the bubbles of their big cities realize how fucking angry people are all over the country in towns that have been devastated by globalization that are so easy to ignore from the metropolis.  These people are often uneducated, in the formal sense, but too often that gets conflated with these people being stupid.  I don’t believe these people are stupid, but they are angry.  Furiously angry.  I will freely admit that I cannot imagine their anger because their lives and experiences are so different than anything I have experienced in my life.  I don’t know what it is like to watch a corporation pick up and leave my small town, and my way of life for decades is upended in an instant.  I have no idea what that’s like, but it’s been so easy for me to ignore and just not think about for my entire life.  These angry people have spoken, and thanks to being located in electorally geographically beneficial locations, you have become, what they hope, is their saviour.  I’m skeptical you will be able to help them, or even care to help them, because, as far as I can tell, you only care about yourself.  I hope I am wrong.  I hope these people get what they are looking for.  I hope they get back the good parts of America being “great again”(which are good, steady, well-paying mostly manufacturing jobs) without also bringing back the parts that many people are afraid to being back again (African-American’s weren’t allowed to work in some of these mills until the 1960’s).  HOWEVER, no matter how angry these people are, I will not give them a pass for supporting a racist, xenophobic, sexist, clown who has no business in the oval office.  Just because people are angry, doesn’t give them a pass to hate other races, ethnicities, genders, or sexual orientations.

I voted for Hillary Clinton.  I think she would have been a highly competent president.  Though compared to you, most people look competent as president.  You are going to be an awful president, and it’s going to be an awful four years for a lot of people.  That is if you make it the full four years without quitting or being impeached.  At this point neither would surprise me.  How bad are you going to be?

The Atlantic Magazine has only ever endorsed a presidential candidate three times.  The first was Abraham Lincoln, the second was Lyndon B. Johnson mostly because Barry Goldwater was so terrible (though Clinton campaigned for him!!)  The third was Hillary Clinton.  Not because she was a great candidate, but because her opponent, you, are so uniquely unqualified for the rigors of this job.  You are a joke.  I take that back.  This WOULD be a joke, if the consequences weren’t so dire.  I have never been more embarrassed by my country than this past week.  With the world watching we elected you: A racist, xenophobic, incompetent, thin skinned leader.  So thin skinned.

President Obama had to deal with 8 years of people calling him a Muslim and a socialist.  And others, like yourself, even raised the unquestionably racist question of whether or not he was even born in America.  He put up with this garbage for 8 years.  And he did a damn good job as president.  It’s your turn now and one thing you’re going to need to get used to is being called things like a fascist, a racist, and over-cooked sweet potato covered in spicy cheeto dust topped with poorly organized tumbleweeds on top.  It’s part of being the president.  Some people aren’t going to like you and call you names.  You need to be an adult, which is a weird thing to have to tell a 70 year old man, but you need it.  You are a man child.  A man only in the sense that you’ve been around long enough in this world to not be called a child anymore.  But in every other sense or the world, you are a child.  A self-centered, self-obsessed child who whines when they don’t get what they want.

Hopefully the nest four years aren’t as bad as I imagine they will be.  You (probably?) aren’t a fascist, just like Obama wasn’t a socialist.  You might not be a racist or believe that you are a racist, but you’ve definitely said things that are the textbook definition of racism.  (And you added Steve fucking Bannon to chief White House strategist and senior counselor!!) And if there is one thing that I am sure of, it’s that you are an over-cooked sweet potato covered in spicy cheeto dust topped with poorly organized tumbleweeds on top.  And I can say that whether you like it or not.  (At least for now before you try to gut the First Amendment….).  And you’re going to have to get used to it.  Sometimes adults act like children and call other people names.  Even I just did it.  But the difference between me and you is that I’m just, as you and your followers would call me, a college professor and a member of the “liberal elite”.  (If you were being less polite, you might call me a “libtard”.  If you were being even less polite, I suppose I would be “a cuck“.  Note: Can we all agree that people who use the term “cuck” are the absolute worst people on earth?).  You are the fucking president of the greatest fucking country this planet has ever seen.  Period.  You need to be an adult, which is something that most people have figured out how to be way before they turn 70 like yourself.  But it seems you have either not figured it out, or you know how to do it and just don’t.  In short, grow the fuck up.  The media is going to criticize you.  It’s part of a functioning democracy.

If you can manage to act like any semblance of an adult, you do have a lot going for you though.  You have a unique opportunity in American politics in that you basically don’t owe anyone.  You won this election with no money from the special interests (at least that’s what you claim).  You could do some really good things for the people who need it most (the poor, minorities, the elderly, veterans, etc.), but I suspect that you’ll just do whatever other people tell you to do because you don’t seem to have any deep, independent thoughts of your own and you are mostly interested in yourself.  And how many twitter followers you have.

Please prove me wrong.  Show me that you give a shit about other living human beings who aren’t named Trump.  Be the bigger man and reach out to people who disagree with you (which again, is more than the number of people who agree with you).  There is a reason that people are so fucking pissed off with BEFORE you’ve even had ONE day in office that they are marching in the streets.  These are Americans and you are their president.  You can choose to ignore them, but they aren’t going away, and they are your problem now.  You can’t just keep asking the Democrats to try to quell them.  You’re the president.  You need to unite.  But you’ve just spent over a year ripping people apart.  You are inheriting a deeply divided nation that you played a big part in making worse in 2016.

So you have some options.  You could just do what’s easy in the short term, which is what you’ve done throughout your life declaring bankruptcy, stiffing contractors, etc.  Or you can take a long view and be judged well by history.  Most of the great things America has done in government were difficult at the time.  Lincoln freed the slaves and LBJ passed civil rights.  (Remember these two?  They were endorsed by the Atlantic.)  Those weren’t easy at the time, but history agrees that those were the right thing to do.  I suspect a coward, populist like yourself would neither have freed the slaves nor had the courageousness to sign the civil rights bill.  You are a coward now, and you have been your whole career always looking to take the easy way out.  Well now you are president whether I like it or not (I hate it so much) and you need to lead this shit show that you created.  But just remember how history will judge you.  As a self-centered ego maniac, maybe, just maybe, the thought that history will judge you harshly for making short sighted moves will lead you to make good long term decisions.  But I really suspect you don’t understand history well enough to think this way, and I believe you are deeply, deeply intellectually lazy person who blames everyone else for your problems and constantly looks for the easy way out.  History will judge you harshly.  And you will deserve it.

Finally, I saw your interview on 60 minutes.  What I saw was completely different than the garbage spewing, insanity that I saw you spout for the last year on the campaign trail.  I’d be heartened by this, but I’m not going to let one 60 minutes interview change the fact that basically everything you have said in the past year makes you not only unfit to be president, but unfit to be a role model or spokesperson, let alone the most powerful man in the world.  Either you were playing a character for the last year or you were playing a character on 60 minutes.  Though I suppose another option is that there isn’t even a real Donald J. Trump and you just say whatever is the most convenient at any given moment.  You are either willfully ignorant of what you have said in the past or you have the brain and attention span of a goldfish.  I’m not sure which is a worse quality for someone who has access to the nuclear codes.

God help us all.  This is bad.

Cheers.