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The Comey Effect

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lb-8

This series of tweets from Will Jordan is fascinating. There was a very clear, major shift towards Trump in battleground states after October 28th, and the more polling that was done in this period, the more likely it was to be picked up. So this helps to explain the polling error in the Midwest. And it also makes it highly implausible that Comey’s letter and the 24/7 thigh-rubbing about Clinton’s EMAILS it catalyzed didn’t put Trump in the White House. I’m not saying Comey explains all 5 points, but how likely is it that he explains none of it? I dunno, maybe putting a former Ken Starr goon in charge of the FBI wasn’t a great idea? It also would have been nice if Anthony Weiner could have confined his sexting to adult women, although to be Scrupulously Fair it’s entirely possible that Comey could have found some other snipe hunt as an excuse to send a letter with no content about a pseudo-scandal with no content that would ultimately blow up the world.

In other findings, there’s no evidence that the “shy voter” effect contributed to the polling error.

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  • DocAmazing

    Reduction of force at FBI. Today. Outgoing president has the authority to delete whole departments within the Bureau; time to clean house.

    • Brett

      I think he should fire Comey, too, even if that means Trumptastic gets to make Chris Christie the next FBI Director. It’s completely unacceptable for an FBI director to be making partisan interventions in close races, and that needs to be punished clearly and quickly.

      • Scott Lemieux

        And how much better is Comey likely to be than Trump’s replacement anyway? Yes, I’d hate to lose the unimpeachable integritude of someone who, in the most charitable construction of his actions, threw an election to cover his ass about an agency he allowed to spiral out of control.

        • econoclast

          I’d like to believe this, but thinking that Trump couldn’t find someone much worse than Comey seems like a lack of imagination. You don’t think Trump could find someone who views his job to be persecuting enemies of Trump 24/7?

      • I don’t know. I think at this stage he should stay and work for the president he got elected. He made all our beds, let him at least lie in his.

        • Yeah, no. Given that Trump is easily the most blatantly corrupt individual we’ve ever made President, and that he owes Comey big league, this scenario basically puts Comey in the position of being our J Edgar Hoover. Fire the guy before inauguration. Let the FBI be run by whoever’s next in line while Trump tries to find someone, and delay that someone in Congressional hearings as long as possible.

          • CP

            On the one hand, as noted above, thinking the ultimate replacement won’t be even worse than Comey is a lack of imagination for sure.

            On the other hand: there’s something appealing about the idea of giving Trump yet another post to fill, and therefore, yet another opportunity to trip over his own dick and let his incompetence and his temper make him as many enemies as possible. At the FBI, no less.

            • Why couldn’t Trump appoint Comey even if Obama fired him?

              I’d rather have Comey than, say, Kris Kobach.

              • Excitable Boy

                I get that sentiment.

                However, why does Comey get rewarded for interfering with an election? The FBI can’t be bothered to do good investigative work prior to the Boston Bombing, Charleston, and Pulse shootings, but can apparently spare agents to chase down numerous leads provided by Peter Schweizer. Comey can also speak of the corrosive impact of the Ferguson effect before it has been conclusively proven. There is too much pseudoscience in criminology and Comey seems to be a sucker for most of it.

                I am under no delusions Trump would pick a better candidate, but Obama is setting a bad precedent of his own by allowing Comey to stay. Whatever you think about Clinton’s behavior with the e-mail, Comey was an awful pick from the start. Obama’s slavish devotion to the beltway allure of bipartisanship bit him in the ass again.

      • As long as Jared Kushner is around the only job Christie’s going to get in a Trump administration will be as a fast-food gofer for everyone’s amusement.

        • JonH

          Can’t you just see Christie in the White House theater, wearing a paper hat, and taking snack orders before the film?

          Then crawling around and scraping Milk Duds off the floor after the show.

          • los

            on the topic of psychotic clowns, “Ain’t Chrispie from Joisee or what?”

            ———-

            precious altcuckery:
            http://www.drudge.com/read-comment/205643/5475081
            I know plenty of eastern European Catholics and Orthodox that where Babushka. I know one elderly immigrant from Poland that was already accosted in a grocery store since the election for wearing her Babushka. She’s been here since the 80s. It turns out rednecks can’t tell the difference. You couldn’t have been talking to a more conservative Catholic and I hate to say it a Trump voter. Now all of a sudden she understands…

        • wengler

          It is kind of funny watching these weasels go after each other. It’s just going to be purge after purge until the orange fascist clown accidentally takes a sip of water that Priebus gave him and ends up dead on the floor of the oval office.

      • Ghostship

        Why? Comey was only doing his job. If HRC hadn’t deleted 33,000 e-mails she was supposed to deliver to the FBI, the FBI would have had no reason to reopen the investigation. So it’s all down to HRC’s exaggerated sense of entitlement.
        BTW, has anyone sensed that HRC fully intends to put herself forward as a candidate in the 2020 primaries? If the Clintonites aren’t removed from the DNC, she will become the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 with entirely predictable results. Does anyone really want another four years of Trump?

        • rea

          Stupid. Tiresome.

        • Lying idiot.

          • Ghostship

            So HRC didn’t delete 33,000 e-mails?

        • Rob in CT

          Does anyone really want another four years of Trump?

          Sure sounds like you do.

          Or you’re a total moron. Oh, wait…

          • Ahuitzotl

            it’s never an either/or, it’s a both

        • efgoldman

          TJ, that you?

        • Scott Lemieux

          Comey was only doing his job.

          The rules of his job prohibited him from doing what he did.

          If HRC hadn’t deleted 33,000 e-mails she was supposed to deliver to the FBI, the FBI would have had no reason to reopen the investigation.

          This is utterly idiotic.

          she will become the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020

          This is, remarkably enough, even more idiotic.

          • Ghostship

            Comey was only doing his job.

            The rules of his job prohibited him from doing what he did.

            I thought that the rules prevented him from interfering with the election. You could argue if you were a Trump supporter that deciding to cover up the information, if he had, was interfering with the election. But that’s irrelevant because she was going to lose anyway, it’s just that the opinion polls hid that fact.

            If HRC hadn’t deleted 33,000 e-mails she was supposed to deliver to the FBI, the FBI would have had no reason to reopen the investigation.

            This is utterly idiotic.

            So she didn’t delete 33,000 e-mails she was supposed to deliver to the FBI?

            she will become the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020

            This is, remarkably enough, even more idiotic.

            Has she publicly said she does not intend to run in 2020 yet? No, I don’t think so. Until she does then it’s possible she will and she has the arrogance and sense of self-entitlement to actually do it.

        • Origami Isopod

          Does anyone really want another four years of Trump?

          Sounds like you do. You’d get to come in here and say “I told you so” every day. You’d prefer that to having one of those dirty liberals in office, wouldn’t you?

        • Phil Perspective

          If the Clinton-ites aren’t removed from the DNC, she will become the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 with entirely predictable results.

          She isn’t running in 2020.

          • Ghostship

            Has she stated explicitly that she won’t run in 2020? I don’t think so.

    • Comey could be charged with a Hatch Act violation and in a just world he would be fired (but no drama Obama won’t do that, and I don’t actually blame him.)

      1.) There has been discovery in that investigation.
      2.) As part of that discovery Huma Abidin asserted that she turned over all relevant emails.
      3.) The laptop contained a client-side cache of emails. That means that they were almost certainly local copies of emails that resided on servers (and other clients) that had already been turned over to the FBI.
      4.) The FBI claimed they hadn’t looked at the emails on the laptop. They obtained a warrant to do so after Comey’s letter.
      5.) It is FBI policy to not discuss ongoing investigations.
      6.) Given 1.) and 3.), and assuming that Huma Abidin executed 2.) in good faith, it is almost certain that the FBI had already seen every relevant email on that laptop.
      7.) Given 4.) the FBI had no positive evidence to dispute 6.), so there was no reason not to follow 5.).

      So what was the purpose of the letter? His excuse is unreasonable — he either had a solid reason to believe that nothing was there (and if anyone in the FBI took a peek at those emails or even the metadata beforehand, given the result of the investigation, he was certain that there was nothing there.) Given that, I think that there is no reasonable doubt that the intent of the letter was to influence the election. And that violates the Hatch Act.

  • Brett

    Definitely seems like Comey was the proximate cause of this, and I’ve become less convinced over time that this was anything other than him deliberately spiking things under pressure from other Republicans. It kills me that he likely won’t lose his job over it, either, because folks are worried Trump will pick someone worse for the spot.

    Of course, there is the more difficult problem of explaining why Clinton’s grasp on the Obama coalition was weaker than Obama’s outside of the heavy-blue states, and the progressive reddening of state governments across the Midwest (the South is easier – most of the old style Democrats have either retired, died, flipped Republican, or been voted out).

    • Murc

      Of course, there is the more difficult problem of explaining why Clinton’s grasp on the Obama coalition was weaker than Obama’s outside of the heavy-blue states,

      I’m not endorsing this, at least not yet, but it might be as simple as the fact that Hillary Clinton is no Barack Obama.

      It genuinely seems that a non-trivial number of people want to vote for someone who sends a tingle down their leg. Obama was pretty great at that. Clinton was… not.

      That’s a failure on the part of the electorate, of course, but you can always get new politicians; getting new electorates is not so easy.

      Like I said, I’m not prepared to endorse that quite yet. But it might be the case. I’m interested in getting firmer numbers from the states she lost that Obama won in 2012; I’ve been hearing that turnout was actually UP in most of them, which is disquieting if true. Either way this was a razor thin election; a hundred thousand people vote differently/come out to vote and we’re breathing a sigh of relief at having barely stopped Trump.

      • Either way this was a razor thin election; a hundred thousand people vote differently/come out to vote and we’re breathing a sigh of relief at having barely stopped Trump.

        Not even that. A little under 55,000 Trump voters in the right states switching would do it

        • Murc

          Right, see, and this is why I want to see the numbers just from those states. Because turnout was down overall… but so what? If a few million Obama voters in California, New York, New England, and Illinois stood home, that literally doesn’t matter. That only matters in the actual states we lost, because we can’t have nice things.

          • Heron

            I was thinking along these lines for awhile too, but this seems not to have been the case. Turnout Wasn’t Down. Honestly the explanation most inline with the data I’ve seen so far is 1)Media and 2)White Folks wanting to throw the election to a White Nationalist due to racial/cultural anxiety after 8 years of a Black President, and because Black Folks are on their facebook feed everynight demanding they not be shot to death by cops as a matter of course, and that when cops do that they be punished for it.

            Looking at who voted for Trump(White People) and the reasons they give for why(Race & Emails), this seems to be the inescapable conclusion to me.

            • rea

              My Trump-voting (or at least supporting) relatives in rural Michigan say that the key issue for them was that Hillary wanted to take away their hunting rifles.

              • Heron

                Well, there are always going to be gullible NRA rubes out there.

                Though I would say it’s pretty difficult to separate racial animus from NRA motivations these days, considering how big a part of their rise to prominence in the 70s and 80s that was, and how big a part of their continued popularity racial scaremongering continues to be today.

              • smott999

                I sense that rifles and even emails is a euphemism for sexism.

              • Rob in CT

                HRC was loud & proud about pursuing gun control. A lot of liberals liked it. But that can still hurt us, clearly.

                This is one of those things that should come up when we talk about “centrist squishes” versus “proud progressives” or whatever.

      • Donna Gratehouse

        I’m not endorsing this, at least not yet, but it might be as simple as the fact that Hillary Clinton is no Barack Obama.

        Yeah but Barack Obama is also no “Barack Obama”. People are looking at this through the prism of his current high favorable ratings and forgetting that Dems got shellacked in two midterms in which he was box office poison and there were times when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoyed higher approval ratings than he did.

        It’s also a mistake for many reasons to compare President Obama running for reelection in 2012 to Hillary Clinton in 2016, not the least of which are his incumbency (people like to stay the course), a host of voter suppression laws passed after the VRA was gutted in 2013, and unprecedented media hostility toward Clinton.

        • Heron

          I think this in particular shows just how powerful the media’s influence is on public opinion. 2008 election: Media loves Obama; 2010-12: Media Loves the Tea Party/ACA Protesters, covers them uncritically, refused to cover Republican congressional recalcitrance; 2015-16: Media giving Obama a friendly sendoff.

          This is just my sense of things so I’m probably wrong, but there seems to be a direct connection between the media coverage Obama got and his popularity.

      • DAS

        But it might be the case. I’m interested in getting firmer numbers from the states she lost that Obama won in 2012

        Could it simply be the case that those “missing” Obama voters moved to other states? Have there been any major population shifts lately?

        Also, how many of those Obama voters are still on the voting rolls, IYKWIMAITYD? Trump did tell us the election was rigged.

        • Kerans

          That rigging talk was just projection.

          • DAS

            I believe that is central to my point.

            • Kerans

              Yes, it was, and I appreciate it. I just wanted to emphasize it. I need company here in my probable but not quite dismissible delusions.

            • Heron

              This wouldn’t surprise me given how big the numbers for Trump were and where they were coming from(like, has anyone compared rural county population numbers to county vote tallies, and polling region pop numbers to vote counts? I assume so as those seems like rather obvious things to do from an integrity standpoint), but I haven’t seen any evidence that there was Republican chicanery in the vote. Aside from legal voter suppression, obviously.

              • Kerans

                Less accessible rural areas supervised by republicans + 2 term obama votes switching to a racist (theoretically) + few votes in key areas switching the election + russian hacking + 3 weeks of rigged election talk (by someone who appears to project a lot) + amoral candidate (and advisors) and devastation of norms + possible FBI collusion = probably nothing whatsoever. But if it were ever going to happen, this would be the time. I just would feel better if I knew someone trustworthy really checked the math. I mean, I know it has to happen but with all the shock and the daily distracting crises, I’m at the ‘kind of trust, but verify’ stage.

      • efgoldman

        it might be as simple as the fact that Hillary Clinton is no Barack Obama.

        Yeah, lots of us were saying even early in the primary process, that it was both HRC’s good fortune and bad fortune to follow the best politician and president of anyone’s lifetime who was born before FDR died. No candidate I can think of would have looked outstanding by comparison. Add all the externalities….

        • Excitable Boy

          What does this even mean? You think he was better than FDR or Truman? You have no idea how history will regard his presidency. FOIA and the fact he was replaced by the worst qualified candidate in American history may drop his impact considerably. I know Hindenburg’s reputation took a hit after he left office.

    • joel hanes

      the progressive reddening of state governments across the Midwest

      The white folks left at home after three generations of their kids go to college and permanently move away are getting old, but they can still control the levers of power when they’re angry or frightened or resentful.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        but they can still control the levers of power when they’re angry or frightened or resentful.

        And “when” is pretty much all the time.

        I continue to be amazed at the ability of many conservatives to remain in rage 24/7/365. I guess you really can’t fill that hole in your soul.

    • CP

      Definitely seems like Comey was the proximate cause of this, and I’ve become less convinced over time that this was anything other than him deliberately spiking things under pressure from other Republicans.

      I’m not sure how much pressure was needed. Either from Republicans or from the supposedly “rogue” agents in the New York office.

      The fact is that law enforcement culture in general has a massive case of liberal derangement syndrome, and the FBI in particular spent its first forty years of existence in a culture of lawlessness where attacking and destroying political enemies was part of the job. I think a big part of the lesson of 2016 is that that culture never ended, even after Hoover was gone.

    • Linnaeus

      the progressive reddening of state governments across the Midwest

      In Michigan (the Midwestern state I know best), a lot of it has to do with the weakening of the state Democratic Party because of the decline of its labor base, which in turn happened because of the erosion of the state’s main economic engine, manufacturing.

  • Sebastian_h

    The trend on Brexit was that nearly all of the undecided voters voted to Leave. This was explained as politically astute people having already made up their minds, so ‘undecided’ meant you were more likely to be swayed by the Leave argument.

    I would tend to think that a similar thing was happening in the last 10 days of the US election. Clinton’s campaign picked up the trend Jordan is talking about BEFORE the Comey letters. I’m not saying that Comey didn’t effect the outcome, but on the other hand it is super convenient for Clinton staffers if it gives them a half excuse to avoid soul searching.

  • urd

    Not again.

    Comey didn’t cause Clinton to lose the election, Clinton did. Her campaign was one of the worst run in recent history. The longer you cling to this, the longer to fail to deal with the real reasons she lost.

    Unless you want to repeat this shit in 2020?

    • heckblazer

      So you’re arguing that her platform actually was dead-on and she was just a poor messenger? Because that’s what a “bad campaigner” getting a loss this narrow implies.

      • urd

        That’s not what it means in this case. Even with her horrible platform, she should have blown Drumpf out of the water. I didn’t like her message, but I think people would have bought it, at least enough for her to win, if her campaign hadn’t made massive tactical errors.

        Her opponent was a clown and a buffoon. She was supposed to be the most qualified candidate to ever run for the office. If she had actually sold that to the voters, even partially, she would have won.

        She didn’t, so she failed.

        • Warren Terra

          Oh, yes, the most liberal platform in decades was “horrible”. What it was, was <i<invisible, though that was true largely because the media wasn’t remotely interested whenever she tried to talk policy.

        • sibusisodan

          she should have blown Drumpf out of the water.

          On what basis?

          You’d have to demonstrate that the 40% of the electorate that reliably votes Republican, in one of the more partisan political environments of US history, could be persuaded to vote Democratic.

          Good luck with that.

        • DAS

          Voters who would vote for the Orange Clown don’t want a qualified candidate. Registered voters who, by not voting for Clinton, indicated that they were OK with an incompetent clown being president didn’t care about Clinton’s qualifications. How would selling those qualifications better have helped?

        • Yeah, if she wanted to win she should have campaigned on guillotining people who let their cats go outside. That would have locked up the vital urd vote, which as we all know is the key to the White House.

          • efgoldman

            she should have campaigned on guillotining people who let their cats go outside

            Loomis has posted a lot of nonsense over the years, but he should be put on time out and made to eat fries with ketchup for the feral cats post and bringing this troll out of the woodowrk.

            • Origami Isopod

              made to eat fries with ketchup

              And chase them with fruit-flavored vodka.

            • urd

              Ahh, so someone who goes against the group-think is a troll now, is it?

              Good to know the bar has now disappeared.

          • libarbarian

            Eat Shit.

      • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

        So you’re arguing that her platform actually was dead-on and she was just a poor messenger? Because that’s what a “bad campaigner” getting a loss this narrow implies.

        Not quite. What it actually implies is that she was probably a bad campaigner because she lost to someone who was literally the most hated candidate since we’ve been tracking that staristic despite the fact that she had a platform that – while not being dead-on – was at the very least marginally better. So, I’m inclined to go with bad campaigner.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Her campaign was one of the worst run in recent history.

      Your unfalsifiable tautologies certainly mean more than mere evidence ever could.

      Unless you want to repeat this shit in 2020?

      I’m pretty confident Hillary Clinton will not be the nominee in 2020.

      • urd

        And your lack of evidence on the Comey effect and your repeated moaning about it show more about your inability to deal with the current situation than any excuses you could make to the contrary.

        Are you being this dense on purpose? By this shit I mean Drumpf, or his stand in, wining again in 2020.

        • Scott Lemieux

          And your lack of evidence on the Comey effect

          LOL. It’s even funnier given that you have literally nothing but content-free bare assertions.

          • urd

            I have yet to see any polling evidence that backs up what you are saying; you merely wave you hand at the last minute shift in the polls and yell “Comey” and “improbable”. Not exactly evidence.

            Maybe you should provide some content yourself before calling others out.

            Let me know when you actually have some facts, not speculation. And even then, she should have never had it get this close. So going back and forth about this really misses the failure of her campaign.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Not exactly evidence.

              You don’t seem to understand what “evidence” means, as also indicated by the fact that the next time you offer any will be the first.

              And even then, she should have never had it get this close.

              Given the strength of current partisan commitments, the race was not particularly close as of October 27 and the idea that Clinton should have been expected to win by 10 points is silly.

              • urd

                I’ve read your links, you don’t really seem to understand the term either. Why should I when you’ve failed to do so in support of your theory that you keep going on about?

                Really? That might come as a shock to many people that felt it was going to be a bloodbath, and maybe one of the worst electoral defeats in history.

                Feel free to keep changing the past to suit the present.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  There are many words here, and yet they generate no meaning.

                  An event that could be expected to change the race happened. In the immediate aftermath of that event, a nearly unprecedented shift in the polls in battleground states occurred. The more polls that were conducted, the more likely they were to pick up the effect. This is evidence — not dispositive evidence because nothing like this can ever be proven to an absolute certainty, but strong evidence. Unusually strong evidence. You, conversely, have a bunch of words next to each other.

                  That might come as a shock to many people that felt it was going to be a bloodbath

                  So they were wrong to assume this, so what? And even if they were right, Clinton was still well ahead on October 27th and almost certainly would have won had Comey not sent the letter, so so what?

                • cleek

                  one of the worst electoral defeats in history

                  WTF? it’s not even in the top 18 of the last century.

                  1920, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 64, 68, 72, 80, 84, 88, 2008 and 2012 were all decided by bigger margins.

                • Heron

                  She lost by like 55k votes in three states, while winning the Popular, you utter kumquat. That’s hardly an “historic electoral defeat”.

                  Stop trying to justify your third party vote to us and yourself, and just accept that, when the chips were down, you utterly blew it for all the vulnerable demos you claim to care about by voting on the basis of thin propaganda you ate uncritically and an exaggerated sense of your own moral purity. The sooner YOU do THAT, the sooner we can all get down to the serious business of making Trump and the Republican’s lives hell.

                • urd

                  Cleek, I was referring to what was predicted for Clinton; she was predicted to win by historic margins.

                  I was not referring to Drumpf’s victory.

                  And Heron, stop self projecting. I was in the safest blue state in the election so my vote made no difference. Feel free to try again though with the baseless attacks.

                • cleek

                  Cleek, I was referring to what was predicted for Clinton; she was predicted to win by historic margins.

                  no she wasn’t. not even close.

                  Sam Wang, who gave her a 90+% chance of winning (!) only predicted her getting 323 EVs. that would have been closer than either of Obama’s (365, 332) or Bill Clinton’s (370, 379) wins, but bigger than both of W’s (271, 286).

                  as it stands, Trump has 306 EVs.

                  http://election.princeton.edu/2016/11/08/final-mode-projections-clinton-323-ev-51-di-senate-seats-gop-house/

                  the only thing that was historically defeated was polling.

                • cleek

                  and maybe one of the worst electoral defeats in history

                  oh look, urd is Corey Lewandowski !

                  http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/11/apotheosis-donald-trump-proceeding-apace

                • urd

                  Cleek, feel free to keep re-writing history.

                  At one point, Clinton supporters were almost giddy at how big her margins were going to be. It was also part of the strategy that justified them going after GOP type voters; they felt they had women, minorities, and progressives/liberals locked up. After all what were they going to do; vote for Drumpf?

                  Some of these posts/comments rival GOP types in the attempts at creating reality.

                • cleek

                  At one point, Clinton supporters were almost giddy at how big her margins were going to be.

                  no, i am not going to chase your goalposts around.

              • Wamba

                Looking at evidence is a very good idea, so let’s look at some evidence. If you look at Real Clear Politics’ polling average you will find some actual evidence that is extremely problematic for Lemieux’s assertions.

                The fact is HRC’s decline in the polls STARTED 11 DAYS PRIOR TO THE COMEY LETTER and declined steadily for another 5 days afterward after which it turned up again. So Lemieux has a very hard case to make to prove that the 11 day decline was bound to have changed direction and been an upturn if not for the Comey letter. Not only that, the Comey letter could not have immediately begun to move the average in the first few days after the release of the letter until at least a few days had gone by for the press coverage to have had an effect and for polls to have been added to the average that consisted of mostly post-release polling days.

                Could the Comey letter have had an effect? Maybe but there is nothing in the polling data that requires an appeal to that hypothesis.

                Conclusion: Lemieux has seriously overstated his case and may well be completely wrong. There were plenty of other problems with Hillary’s campaign that at minimum caused the 11 day decline that preceded the release of the Comey letter.

                • Origami Isopod

                  “Real Clear Politics” is a wingnut site, sorry.

                • jeer9

                  The information about large ACA premium hikes happened about a week before Comey’s letter.

                  From Marcy Wheeler:

                  The actual rates for ObamaCare plan increases — with an average increase of 22% — came out October 24. There was a great deal of chatter between then and the election, especially around the November 1 start of sign-ups, as the Administration scrambled to get users to shop for a more affordable plan. Significantly, PA was one of the worst affected states.

                  According to a Kaiser Family Foundation, the ObamaCare hikes should not have mattered. It released a poll showing even among Republican voters, just 5% thought heath insurance was the most important issue. Except the poll, which was released on October 27, right in the middle of the discussion about spiking rates, was actually conducted from October 12 to 18, before the rate increases were announced (which to my mind makes it a largely useless but politically timed poll release). Moreover, the poll sampled far more self-identified Democrats than self-identified Republicans (408 to 285), meaning the margins of error would be far higher for Trump-leaning voters.

                  Moreover, while the October 24 premium hike may explain why Trump started surging before the Comey letter, it wouldn’t explain what Hillary’s camp describes as energizing of Trump’s base when the second letter revealed nothing had been in the emails after all.

                  All that said, the premium hikes were probably the most significant policy discussion that happened between the last debate and the election. And for the small segment of the electorate that actually uses the exchanges, that policy change may have been felt very viscerally as they started the tedious process of shopping for an affordable plan.

                • Wamba

                  Real Clear Politics poll numbers are just fine and they do less fancy ‘rithmetic to ’em and only go back 3 weeks so they are more basic and simple than for example HuffPost’s but you’ll see the same basic pattern there as well.

                • Rob in CT

                  Right, the ACA premium hikes. I’ll buy that could’ve had an impact.

                • cleek

                  also, the pattern was pretty clear that people liked Clinton more the more they saw her next to Trump (convention, debates). when the two of them were together in prime time, the contrast was clear and her numbers soared. when they weren’t on the TV together, her numbers fell.

                • Jackov

                  Both the Comey letter and the premium hikes may obscure a more simple explanation – Republicans vote for Republicans.

                  Clinton’s operation was focused on suburban Republicans who they felt were persuadable with an anti-Trump message. They were not despite telling pollsters otherwise. While the campaign gained a little with white women compared to 2012 it was not enough.

                  Supposedly, only six percent of voters made up their minds between the first and second Comey intrusions. The numbers work out to be about a 1 point advantage for Trump. People who decided in October (when Clinton stomped Trump in two debates and it was revealed that he was a serial sexual assaulter) broke for the candidates at the same rates but there were twice as many so 2 point advantage to Trump.
                  All the voters who decided after August 31 favored Trump with only ‘last three days’ being close.

                  One take away should be there is likely nothing a Republican candidate can do to lose support from Republicans except perhaps a tax increase on high incomes.

                • Jackov

                  ^^^^derp^^^^

                  My great insight that Republicans vote Republican was made earlier by Lemieux further down the thread and just to seal it, featured in a separate post by him

                  Well done SL
                  Poor form Jackov

      • Dilan Esper

        Have you ever noticed that every losing candidate ran a bad campaign and every winning candidate ran a good one?

        Look, Hillary clearly made some mistakes. On the other hand, she did some good things too like her debate performance and distracting Trump with Khan and Machado. I don’t think she ran the best campaign, but it was far from the worst (McGovern, probably).

        • Scott Lemieux

          Have you ever noticed that every losing candidate ran a bad campaign and every winning candidate ran a good one?

          Exactly.

        • liberal

          Nonsense.

          (1) She entered the campaign with extremely high negatives.
          (2) She had a history of losing (2008).
          (3) She’s not charismatic. (I don’t give a shit about that, but others do.)
          (4) She wasn’t good at messaging.

          • Scott Lemieux

            She wasn’t good at messaging.

            This is just pure tautology.

            • XTPD

              She had a history of losing.

              For that matter, so did Nixon (1960).

              • Excitable Boy

                Don’t forget losing to Jerry’s old man in ’62 in a state race by 5pts. I love all the Monday morning quarterbacks. Would have been nice to have seen them on Sunday afternoon.

          • Dilan Esper

            (1) is true, but that’s not something her campaign caused so it doesn’t show a bad campaign.

            (2) is true (I would make the point a bit differently, but yes, she definitely lost in 2008 as a big favorite), but again, it doesn’t say anything about her campaign in 2016.

            (3) is debatable (she doesn’t really connect with me now, but I met her years ago and found her personally charming, and I know that a lot of women found her very inspirational). At any rate, it’s not a campaign issue.

            (4) is at best, only half true, and is the only thing you mention that even relates to her 2016 campaign. Yes, I didn’t think certain parts of her messaging worked. Specifically, I thought she ran too many ads about Donald Trump’s character, a fact everyone already knew about and had made a judgment on. But really, she was far more consistently on message than her opponent, and much of that message, focusing on things like continuity with the popular Obama presidency, shattering the glass ceiling, and protecting popular Democratic programs, was reasonably good.

            I actually think if you are going to seriously criticize Hillary’s campaign, you have to start with a factor you don’t even mention, which is overconfidence in their GOTV and data operations. And maybe talk about whether she could have done a better job at reaching Rust Belt working class voters.

            So I’m not out here saying she ran the greatest campaign in history. She clearly didn’t. But she was far from the worst, and she did a lot of things very well. They just weren’t enough to get her elected President.

            • urd

              1. But they did little to really address it; which is a failing of the campaign.

              2. Except that she didn’t really seem to learn anything from her loss in 2008.

              3. It is for some voters, even if people here don’t think so.

              4. Mixed, and far too complicated to put in the good or bad column.

              The items you mention are pretty fucking important, and you miss several other key mistakes as well.

              I’m sorry but she did have one of the worst in history. The fact that she couldn’t beat a clown and buffoon who every time Clinton took a misstep he took three, speaks volumes to how bad it was. It would be the equivalent of an NFL team losing to a college football team; it had no business being competitive.

          • ASV

            She announced her campaign with favorability at 48-42 and seven straight years in positive territory!

        • urd

          Have you ever noticed that some campaigns are worse than others? And where did I say Drumpf ran a good one? His was equally awful, which makes her loss all the more stunning.

          You can keep spinning this as much as you want, but between Wikileaks and insiders speaking out after the campaign, it was clear the Clinton camp was a mess.

          Learn from it instead of burying your head in the sand and ignoring it.

        • Jackov

          Clinton did not run a bad campaign.
          She ran the wrong campaign.

          Greenberg laid out the campaign’s flaws in late January but there were only minor course corrections. Instead of the successful ascendant/despondent strategy of 2012, the campaign focused on disqualifying Trump. They settled on this path because
          a)their research and data lead them to comclude ‘Trump is unfit to be president’ was their best option. (A strategy which received pushback from state leadership according to Clinton’s own senior advisors) b) Clinton and team were very comfortable with a candidate focused election

          Your core message is about the past. It is about Clinton’s character and qualities as a leader. The message is not economic, and it is not about the country. -Stan Greenberg

    • Murc

      Her campaign was one of the worst run in recent history.

      The campaign that got more people to vote for it than voted for the other guy? Yeah, that was super badly run.

      … and I see upthread you say she had a “horrible platform.” Riiiiight. The most liberal platform in the past three decades. So bad. So horrible.

      • Scott Lemieux

        The campaign that got more people to vote for it than voted for the other guy? Yeah, that was super badly run.

        Also amazing how it got far more incompetent after October 28th. What an amazing coincidence.

        and I see upthread you say she had a “horrible platform.” Riiiiight. The most liberal platform in the past three decades. So bad. So horrible.

        What voters in Oakland County were clearly looking for was MOAR SOCIALISM.

        • wengler

          Honestly, if they voted for an orange fascist clown it’s hard to say what they were looking for if they hadn’t even made up their mind at that late a date.

          It’s worth noting Trump did terrible with people under 45 and absolutely abysmal with people under 29.

        • Wamba

          Lemieux’s argument is all wrong on the timing, as I argued above. Clinton’s decline started 11 days prior to October 28, hence was not primarily or even necessarily at all about the Comey letter. There were other problems, starting with her very weak message.

          • Scott Lemieux

            In battleground states, the decline accelerated significantly after October 28th. It is exceptionally implausible that the wave of bad media coverage that followed had no effect. If it moved polls one and a half points, a conservative estimate, it put Trump in the White House.

            starting with her very weak message.

            If a “weak message” was the problem, she wouldn’t have had the big lead in the first place.

            • Wamba

              3 things:

              1) yeah well in a close election everything is important so undoubtedly Comey’s letter is one of the many things that made a 1-point difference that could have swung the election. But there is a larger question of how it got to that point in the first place.

              2) The tweets you linked to are very weak evidence for your hypothesis because there was already a solid trend established before Oct-28 so pointing to the continuing trend while ignoring the fact that it was already well established doesn’t really make your case

              3) Again just because she had a 5-7 point lead against the most unpopular candidate in history in polls that were undercounting Trump voters doesn’t prove her message was strong. My sense is that never has so little been done with so much ammunition in political history. And what made her messaging weak was that she went with the weakest way of attacking Trump. She used his own words and expected them to speak for themselves. But all they said for many was that Trump uses naughty language — snore. Moreover, in the swing state I live in we saw the same 2 ads over and over and over and over until they were meaningless and lost all shock value, making them ever weaker over time.

              • Scott Lemieux

                yeah well in a close election everything is important

                Well, that’s the ballgame. (And, in addition, the biggest reason the election was close is “Republican voters, in an era of high partisanship, voted for the Republican candidate.”)

                There’s also the very strange idea, common to all of the Comey apologists in this thread, that if the Comey letter had a significant effect you can’t criticize the Clinton campaign. Criticize all you want! Although, say, “weak messaging” is just something people say about every losing campaign and unfalsifiable assertions aren’t very useful.

                • Wamba

                  Why do you call me a Comey apologist? I hope they string him up. He’s an asshole to whatever extent his letter had an effect on the election. His original statement was an asshole statement as well and helped give Trump ammunition which he harped on throughout the campaign. I’m no Comey apologist, I just question the unique significance of the October 28 letter. And yes I do think her message was weak and I provided a short argument for that as well.

      • urd

        Yeah it was. She needed to win the electoral college, not the most votes. Maybe you need to brush up on how the president is elected in this nation.

        What I find amazing is people keep ignoring the simple fact that, with few exceptions, Drumpf was given no chance and written off as a dangerous, but futile, joke. But now that he won, people seem to be going out of their way to point to items that might have lead to tiny changes, but ignore the items that allowed it to ever be competitive.

        • Scott Lemieux

          but ignore the items that allowed it to ever be competitive.

          The “item” that “allowed” the race to be competitive is that Republicans vote for the Republican candidate.

          • urd

            Right….and roughly 53% of white women were all GOP backers? Not to mention the loss of black and Hispanic voters…

            I think you need to try another excuse.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Uh, 56% of white women voted for Romney. You really don’t have a clue.

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              More white women identify as Republicans than Democrats. You shouldn’t be surprised that they voted GOP.

              Obama lost white women in both 2008 and 2012. In 2012, Obama lost them by 14 pts! Clinton only lost them by 10 pts, despite having a narrower overall margin.

              So, Hillary Clinton did better with white women relative to the national vote than Obama did either time.

              She didn’t have a particular weakness with white women. You’re blaming her for not flipping white women into a Democratic-leaning group, when they haven’t been Democratic-leaning compared to all voters before, perhaps ever.

              But yes, there were polls showing her winning white women. The polls were wrong, and so she looks bad by comparison to the polls that showed her winning. No shit. That doesn’t make her performance with them bad compared to Obama’s.

              • Jackov

                She didn’t have a particular weakness with white women. You’re blaming her for not flipping white women into a Democratic-leaning group, when they haven’t been Democratic-leaning compared to all voters before, perhaps ever

                Since at least 1972 with one exception.
                Often overlooked because of the much greater Republicaness of white men.

                Run for reelection on welfare reform and being tough on crime and you might win the group by a point.

            • Origami Isopod

              Not to mention the loss of black and Hispanic voters…

              I’ve seen a capital T in plenty of your comments. Is there some reason you keep forgetting to add it to the front of your user handle?

              • Excitable Boy

                I have been wondering the same thing.

        • ColBatGuano

          Yeah, it was a real error to ignore all those polls that said Trump was going to win.

          • urd

            No, it was a real error to dismiss the few polls that said it was going to be close, and to ignore info from some states that raised serious issues about Clinton’s campaign strategy.

      • Dave W.

        The campaign that got more people to vote for it than voted for the other guy? Yeah, that was super badly run.

        Yeah, particularly if you are judging by results, it wasn’t even the tenth worst-run campaign this year. Lots of people looked bad running against Trump this year (and even more if we want to go into last year); at least the Clinton campaign did a decent job of opposition research and debate prep against him.

    • DAS

      What specifically was so poorly run about the Clinton campaign?

      The way I see it is that if you’re willing to vote for a lying clown, it’s gonna be hard to change your mind. If you are not going to vote for the Dem candidate, even if that means the clown wins, because she doesn’t make you tingly, it’s gonna be hard to change your mind.

      Also, why did we think Clinton could win in a state so far down the rabbit hole they reelected Rick Snyder? Why did we think Clinton could win in a state that couldn’t manage to kick a Walker out of office?

      • rea

        What specifically was so poorly run about the Clinton campaign?

        The King Gloat/Urd alliance will tell you that the crucial mistake was when Hillary decided not to decline the nomination.

        • Excitable Boy

          The Kochs have built a machine in Wisconsin with Walker’s help. No one seems to want acknowledge that depressing fact.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        Also, why did we think Clinton could win in a state so far down the rabbit hole they reelected Rick Snyder? Why did we think Clinton could win in a state that couldn’t manage to kick a Walker out of office?

        Why do you think the two are necessarily connected? She lost in a state where the Democrat won the governor’s race in the same year.

        The results in North Carolina remind me once again that voters are jaw-droppingly fucking stupid ill-informed.

  • heckblazer

    I strongly suspect the Comey effect interacted poorly with people’s unconscious bias against ambitious women. If you’re resistant to voting for Clinton because “you just don’t like her” the Comey stuff gave a nice excuse to rationalize all the dislike.

    • agorabum

      The voters heard from the media, from the far left, from the bernie campaign, and from Trump for months that Clinton was corrupt.
      And then less than two weeks before the election, the FBI announces it has ‘reopened’ an investigation into Clinton.

      • wengler

        Oh fuck off with the Bernie campaign bullshit. For all the shit the DNC pulled making sure Hillary was coddled in the primaries, Bernie not only took the bullshit email story off the table, he campaigned for her for President after the convention.

        She had an over two decade long hate campaign waged against her that built assumptions about her that were compounded by her own errors. Nobody trusted that she was actually against the TPP, and voila we get a transcript of a speech she made for banksters that confirmed it. That free trader attitude made the marginal difference of votes needed for the orange fascist clown to get in there. His closing argument commercial here in the Rust Belt focused entirely on the trade issue and sticking it to the Washington elite on it. It even made me think ‘God dammit’ because I knew it would cause gullible idiots to vote for him.

        Yep, totally Bernie.

        • Amanda in the South Bay

          He also stayed in the primary well past the point it was obvious no super delegate fantasies would give hime the nom. At the time the GOP was coalescing around Trump,he was still attacking Hillary.

          Was it worth it now?

          • CP

            For my money, that still wouldn’t have mattered if he’d only been sticking to the issues throughout that time (namely, that he thought reform should go further than what Hillary was proposing – and in the process, proving that there was a constituency for it that was worth Hillary moving left in the primary or once in office).

            What really hurt was that towards the end, the campaign had stopped being about equality or social justice and instead descended into an incoherent whine about the Democratic Party’s nomination process and its supposed injustice and antidemocratic nature (not including the caucuses that he benefited from, because they, for some reason or another, are not undemocratic).

            Combined with the overall media narrative about the Clintons, that helped propagate the notion that the primary election was stolen. That’s bad because it fed into every Trump meme that would be used in the general election about corrupt Hillary, establishment stooge Hillary, whatever. And it’s bad because it’s left the Sanders crowd with the impression that their constituency is bigger than it actually is, which is going to be a huge problem in 2020.

            • Excitable Boy

              Yes Bernie supporters don’t want to acknowledge that Sanders campaign sowed the seeds of doubt about Clinton with the Democratic Primaries are undemocratic and rigged message. In addition the focus on the Goldman Sach speeches while Bernie was not releasing his tax returns, set the table for no outcry for Trump never releasing his. Although the media needed no excuse to give Trump a pass.

        • cleek

          For all the shit the DNC pulled making sure Hillary was coddled in the primaries

          please, list all this “shit”, with authoritative citations, if you could.

          • nemdam

            Dude, a DNC staffer suggested Bernie be asked a question about his religion that was never actually followed up on. DURR, HOW MUCH MORE EVIDENCE OF CORRUPTION DO YOU NEED????!!!!?????

            And let’s be honest, expressing opinions in email about your dislike of a man who constantly trashes the organization you work for deserves prison for life. Especially because it’s done over email.

            • Dilan Esper

              Plus debate scheduling, plus clearing the field, etc.

            • Excitable Boy

              Death penalty is too lenient.

        • liberal

          Agreed.

  • Donna Gratehouse

    I was volunteering heavily in the days before the election and wasn’t watching local news broadcasts, as is usually my habit at 10pm (when they run them here in Phoenix). When the AP Clinton Foundation “scandal” broke, they spent the minute or so they usually devoted to the national election on basically reading AP’s false tweet claiming “half” the people who met with Clinton as SoS were Foundation donors. They never corrected or retracted that.

    I suspect local news networks across the swing states spent that minute reporting “FBI is reopening the Clinton email investigation!!!” when Comey dropped his letter in late October, again with no context, except maybe bringing up Anthony Weiner. By the time Comey announced the reopening would not happen, per local news it likely looked like the bitch had gotten away with it. Trump voters energized, Clinton voters demoralized, undecideds with renewed skepticism toward her.

    • I read somewhere that Hillary’s people found that the second “exonerating” Comey letter actually had a negative effect, probably for some combination of the “they’re covering it up!” factor and the Streisand Effect.

      • cleek

        or, people who weren’t paying attention and didn’t actually know what all the fuss is about just heard “MORE FUSS!” and assumed it must be bad.

      • ochospantalones

        While I didn’t anticipate it would be enough to throw the election to Trump, my sense at the time was that it would not be helpful to Hillary. The second letter kept the words “Clinton” and “FBI” and “Emails” in the headlines the day before the election. That’s harmful for her regardless of the context or content. “NO CRIMINAL CHARGES” is not a slogan any one wants to run on.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I don’t find the Clinton campaign’s assertions that the second letter hurt more plausible — although, who knows, maybe they have data that makes the case — but I doubt that it helped either.

          • Excitable Boy

            I was canvassing undecided voters the last three weeks in Va. No one was really talking about it for days. Then every third voter brought it up on Sunday afternoon.

  • yet_another_lawyer

    And it also makes it highly implausible that Comey’s letter and the 24/7 thigh-rubbing about Clinton’s EMAILS it catalyzed didn’t put Trump in the White House. I’m not saying Comey explains all 5 points, but how likely is it that he explains none of it?

    I don’t know, but post hoc ergo propter hoc is one of the weakest forms of evidence. I’m not sure what kind of data we have available, but it occurs to me that any of the following would help us make a better conclusion and I’m hoping it comes out eventually:

    1) What the late switchers/deciders stated as their motivation. If they said their vote was motivated primarily by something like “Best able to handle terrorism” or “Economic concerns”, then it seems unlikely that Comey played a role because the e-mails were wholly unrelated to that. If, on the other hand, they said something like “Trustworthiness” or “Character”, then it’s more likely that Comey did.

    2) Early voting had already started in several states before Comey’s first letter. Did Hillary underperform, overperform, or about the same if you only look at those votes (corrected, to the extent possible, to account that early voters are a different population than day-of voters)?

    3) Do late-deciders usually break republican in any event? If we make the reasonable assumption that Trump voters are, on average, less informed then Clinton voters, then in some sense a late surge isn’t surprising. Maybe the sort of voter who, on November 2, says to himself that there’s an election coming up and he should get around to deciding who to vote for is more likely to end up on Team Trump than the sort of voter who has been following political blogs since mid-2015.

    • nemdam

      Regarding 2), I’m almost certain Clinton was doing around 2012 levels in early voting. In some states, like FL, NV, and I believe NC she was exceeding. In some states, like IA and OH, she was doing a little worse, but I know in OH they cut early voting hours. In WI, I believe it was the very close to 2012. I do know there was almost no evidence in the early voting that there was a problem with turnout.

      Regarding 3), late deciders broke for Obama in 2012.

    • If they said their vote was motivated primarily by something like “Best able to handle terrorism” or “Economic concerns”, then it seems unlikely that Comey played a role because the e-mails were wholly unrelated to that.

      The argument, such as it is, was that the private email server resulted in state secrets leaking. The email investigation was a continuation of the Benghazi investigation. I can anecdotally report that even people who aren’t wingnuts got the impression that the email scandal was somehow causally related to Benghazi.

  • sibusisodan

    The recurring thought during my walk this morning was ‘what if the Electoral College voted for Clinton/Pence?’ Which won’t happen, and even if it did, there would be impeachment proceedings faster that you could take the oath of office.

    Perhaps this means I’m in bargaining phase?

    • Just_Dropping_By

      I’m sure the House would vote for impeachment, but do you think 15 or so Democratic senators would vote for it? That doesn’t seem likely.

  • xq

    I still don’t believe it.

    Jordan’s graphs indicate there was a shift in polling late in the race; they aren’t precise enough to pinpoint Oct. 28 as a turning point. So all we know is polls went more towards Trump in the last 10 days or so.

    It’s absurd to think Comey had a 5 point effect. And if Comey isn’t the full 5 points, we should figure out what the other factors are so we can determine if there’s anything left to explain. Maybe it was always inevitable that Republicans would come home in the last week.

    The coverage wasn’t even that anti-Clinton. Lots of people have pointed to the Oct. 29 NYT, which is indeed pretty bad, but already on Oct. 30 one of the headlines is “Justice Dept. Warned FBI about Timing”. Not that the story about whether FBI intervention in the election is appropriate is good for Clinton–any mention of emails probably hurts her a bit–but how plausible is it that this kind of ambiguous, meta story costs her a point in PA? In the age of polarization that must have been a quite large shift in undecideds.

    • smott999

      Didn’t NYT have 7 EMAILZ headlines the last 3 days?
      That strikes me as pretty anti-Clinton

      • xq

        I’m looking at NYT front page headlines here: https://www.nytimes.com/store/front-page-new-york-times-reprint-nskeep.html

        No emails on front page Nov. 8, as far as I can see.
        Nov. 7: FBI says review clears Clinton in email inquiry
        No email headlines on front page Nov. 4-6.
        Nov. 3: President faults FBI and fires up Clinton faithful. With nice picture of Obama.

        So, low and fairly positive email coverage in the last days.

        • Rob in CT

          Damage done…

          CLINTON BAD is something that people have been primed to believe for decades now. Even people who are not taken in by the worst of it are just vaguely sickened and tired of it all. Clinton scandal fatigue.

          So at the end of October, something that reinforces those views comes out. “Sigh, more of this shit?” think the reasonable ones and “Yeah, fuckin’ lying cheat!” think the ones with serious CDS.

          The exoneration comes out and it only partially undoes the damage. Just like with the prior Clinton “scandals” – they were ultimately cleared but some smoke remained, and people took it to mean there was fire.

          Did this induce a 5-point swing all by itself? Nah. But it hurt.

          • liberal

            CLINTON BAD is something that people have been primed to believe for decades now. Even people who are not taken in by the worst of it are just vaguely sickened and tired of it all. Clinton scandal fatigue.

            Yes.

            And it made her a flawed candidate. That stands even though the negativity was, by and large, unfair.

    • Wamba

      No, Clinton’s decline began 11 days prior to the Comey letter. The Comey letter certainly didn’t help but it is entirely plausible that the email damage had already largely been done and the Comey letter had only a marginal effect.

    • Scott Lemieux

      It’s absurd to think Comey had a 5 point effect.

      It’s significantly more absurd to argue that he had no effect.

      The coverage wasn’t even that anti-Clinton.

      This is absolutely ridiculous, starting with the fact that even “neutral” 24/7 coverage of EMAILS! was negative for Clinton and positive for Trump. Comey’s apologists seem to think he letter was issued in a vaccuum, rather than a context in which there was constant attention to Clinton’s EMAILS! that suggested she was corrupt.

      • xq

        Calling me a Comey apologist is ridiculous; I disagree with you about plausible effect sizes and what the evidence actually indicates, not about the inappropriateness of Comey’s actions. This is important to the question of what affects voter behavior, not the question of who we should fault.

        It’s significantly more absurd to argue that he had no effect.

        The general rule in social science is most effects are tiny. I agree he swayed more than zero voters. I disagree there’s any strong reason to believe he was decisive.

        Do you think he actually had a 5 point effect? If not, we do need to be looking for additional explanations for the late swing too, right? Especially since we have evidence that the start of the decline preceded the letter?

        even “neutral” 24/7 coverage of EMAILS! was negative for Clinton

        Note that I acknowledged this in my comment–you’re not actually disagreeing with me here. But it’s relevant to the claim of large effect that the coverage wasn’t all that negative, because it means you need to believe that undecided voters are highly sensitive to fairly minor news events. It wasn’t anything like coverage of Trump after the Access Hollywood tape, which apparently didn’t hurt him at all after accounting for differential response.(https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/11/01/beware-phantom-swings-why-dramatic-swings-in-the-p/)

    • liberal

      It’s absurd to think Comey had a 5 point effect.

      Exactly. It’s completely baffling to me that anyone thinks this passes the laugh test.

      You entire comment is spot-on.

  • Gregor Sansa

    I myself was supersaturated on election stuff, so the Comey stuff seemed ludicrously lightweight. I failed to realize what it might look like to somebody barely paying attention until the last minute.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      When you see comments like this, from Colin Kaepernick, who really shouldn’t have had a hard time deciding who to vote for, or at least to vote against Trump (i.e. for Clinton)…

      We have a presidential candidate who has deleted emails and done things illegally. … That doesn’t make sense to me because if that was any other person, you’d be in prison. So what is this country really standing for?

      It kinda shows how someone not paying attention could think about the issue.

      It sounds ridiculous when you hear that statement out of context, but in the context of headline after headline, hours and hours of coverage devoted to it on TV, the head of the FBI delivering a critical lecture about her, it makes sense to assume those emails are serious business.

      I believe he ended up not voting for president.

  • RPorrofatto

    OT, but something I’m curious about. For months, the NY Times (and many others) had a prominent front-page graphic barometer of polling “analysis” giving Clinton an extremely high likelihood of winning the election, 85% even on the day of the election, IIRC, even though the unanalyzed polls showed a close, tightening race. Aside from just how abysmally wrong that was, I’d love to know if that constant, lopsided prediction of victory affected turnout. Ordinarily, I imagine the impact of such predictions would be insignificant, but given the ridiculously small number of votes that would have put Clinton over the top, you never know. I wonder if such a thing could even be measured at this point.

    Also, if they suck so bad at making these analyses, maybe they should cut it out.

    • pseudalicious

      It definitely impacted my decision to sleep in instead of getting up at 7 on a Saturday to canvass in PA because it looked like she had it in the bag. I feel like an asshole.

      • Excitable Boy

        God you kind of are. I was terrified in Va and my knuckles were bleeding on Tuesday. You never ever trust the polls. The Republicans don’t. Not sure why we wet the bed and get mad at others for own hubris and laziness

  • Gator90

    I wouldn’t know how to quantify this, but my impression was/is that Comey’s most significant impact lay not so much in reinforcing Clinton’s negatives (though that certainly happened) but in burying the story of Trump’s most damaging negative, namely his recently revealed history of criminal assaults on women and the drip-drip of victims coming forward. (Remember when our president-elect’s boastfully acknowledged habit of grabbing women by the you-know was kind of a big deal? Good times.) With the latter issue relegated to the category of “old news” for the duration, Trump was able to go back on offense with gleeful predictions (repeated and amplified by the media) of imminent prison time for HRC, and the momentum palpably shifted. That’s how it looked on my TV, anyway.

    • nemdam

      Right, this is the other half of the Comey letter. Even if the letter itself did not have the massive effect Scott is suggesting, it drowned out Clinton’s closing message. Instead of stories covering Clinton’s rallies with her message, the stories were FBI and emails. Not the discussion you want down the stretch.

      • Scott Lemieux

        did not have the massive effect Scott is suggesting,

        Again, could people read the post? I am not saying we know that all of Clinton’s post-October 28 decline is explained by the letter. I’m just saying it’s implausible in the extreme that it had no effect, and given how close the margins were that’s enough. As Gator90 says, it cut both ways, reinforcing negative perceptions of Clinton while getting Trump’s actual scandals our of the news.

        • Wamba

          One thing we know for sure is that NONE of the 11 days of decline BEFORE the Comey letter was a result of the letter.

          • Excitable Boy

            Can you point to this 11day decline with evidence? She was plateauing in the period according to RCP and 538.

            • Wamba

              You must be very motivated in your thinking so let me help you out.

              1) Go here:

              http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton_vs_johnson_vs_stein-5952.html

              2) scroll down to the stuff that looks like blue mountains on the bottom

              3) Hover your mouse over the blue mountains moving more toward the right until the little red thing says “October 17”

              4) note that it says Clinton +7.1

              5) note that the blue mountains going to the right look like they’re going downhill

              6) get out a calculator

              7) type in “28”

              8) type in “-”

              9) type in “17”

              10) hit “=”

              11) note that it says “11”

              You follow?

              • Excitable Boy

                The problem is that the polls skew Dem and Republican. Looking at the polls prior, during, and after your timeframe, the prior polls leaned left, the during polls were more right leaning, and the polls after were a better mix of both types or ones that can’t be categorized easily. The polls that came out before 10/17 ABC, NBC and others most likely inflated her advantage a tad. The polls that came out in your 11days of FREE FALL were more Right skewing and probably undercounted her support a bit. So instead of an approximately 4pt. drop according to RCP it was as low as a 1pt. or as much as a 2 pt. swing during you 11 days of FREE FALL. I look forward to your thrilling novel. ;-)

                Do you know anything about statistics, probability, and confidence intervals? Not trying to be rude, but you seem to be like Ryan Grimm in his diatribe about Nate Silver’s uncertainty of confidence in the polls being a component of his 538 Electoral model. As far as I understand, Grimm has no experience or background in statistics and for all I know could be innumerate. In fact it would not surprise me, as most reporters seem to be when they waste our time discussing imprecise polling and don’t understand a statistical tie or variance. The numbers do not mean what you think they do.

                Vizzini: HE DIDN’T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
                Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

                I talked to almost 1000 actual live undecided voters. In my unscientific sample, the Comey announcement had an impact.

                • Excitable Boy
                • Wamba

                  I don’t want to give out too much personal info but suffice it to say if you knew what my job was you’d be thoroughly embarrassed, as well as debunked. Trust me I know what I’m talking about.

                  I don’t know on what basis you’re unskewing all these polls but the whole point of citing a place like RCP is to appeal to something like an objective source of information. I guess the data’s different on excitableboy.com but we were talking about RCP, and you got their numbers wrong while I got them right.

                • Wamba

                  You talked to 1000 live undecided voters? Well then you either conducted 100 focus groups (highly unlikely) or you’re a pipsqueak volunteer who stayed at a Holiday Inn last night and now feels qualified to lecture real professionals. It’s actually pretty hilarious. I admire your spunk, punk.

                • Excitable Boy

                  So you are appealing to an authority you can’t prove? You think that is persuasive? You provide nothing but Gish gallop. If you are actually working for any Dem apparatus God help us all. You have proven nothing. I was working for Jim Slattety and David Bonior when you were probably in elementary school. I’m basically retired, because I got tired of the bile.

                  Seriously, if you actually are working, check your superiority. The whole Obama team:Steve Schale, David Plouffe, David Axelrod, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor, Jon Favreu, Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gates, and the rest were just beneficiaries of a charismatic candidate that had tailwinds other Dem candidates didn’t have. The Clinton team of Carville, Begala, Stephanapolous, Dee Dee Myers, and the rest had almost the same deleterious effect on the party.

                  If you a hired gun looking for the next paying gig, then continue on your destructive way.

    • I was going to say something similar – the GOP base was pretty defeated. Comey’s letter was the world’s biggest shot of adrenaline to a despondent group.

  • jpgray

    I’m growing more skeptical that Comey was decisive. To move beyond urd’s “who needs an actual argument?” accusations of it being a shit campaign, let’s make an argument, based on what we know.

    When voters got to see Trump and Clinton together on a debate stage, she crushed him and his numbers cratered. Unlikable as she is to most voters, the contrast was clear enough.

    These leads tended to simply evaporate until the next debate. Then there was no next debate, and the last evaporation continued uninterrupted into election day, with Comey idiocy giving it an extra kick.

    So rather than focus on the extra kick, can we think about:

    1. What eroded her support between the debates?

    2. If Hillary was shitty as a candidate, why did unedited exposure to her and Trump together improve her chances every time?

    3. If the erosion is down to media bias, isn’t it the campaign’s job to manage the media appropriately, to emphasize all the qualities voters responded to in the debates? Doesn’t that make the campaign a failure?

    4. If it was an impossible job for her campaign, due to Clinton bias, smoke-means-fire scandal fatigue or other factors, aren’t we back to admitting that we as D voters and the D party establishment made a poor and risky choice? Not because Clinton sucks, but because too many people are always ready to believe she does?

    • CP

      3. If the erosion is down to media bias, isn’t it the campaign’s job to manage the media appropriately, to emphasize all the qualities voters responded to in the debates? Doesn’t that make the campaign a failure?

      Yes, quite possibly. I’d like to know just what she could’ve done differently in that respect, though – a lot of the things I’m hearing like “she didn’t campaign hard in swing states” simply aren’t true. If we take it as a given that the MSM will drown out any Democrat with this kind of shit going forward, then how do we “manage” it next time?

      I for one am quite open to the belief that the Clinton campaign had flaws – hell, I want to believe it, if only because if we failed because of things within our control, that means we can change them next time. I just also don’t think you can do that kind of realistic appraisal without giving their full weight to the factors that were beyond our control.

      I.E, there certainly were things Al Gore could have done differently in 2000 to improve his chances, but you can’t meaningfully discuss the 2000 election without mentioning 1) the purge of black Floridian voters from the rolls when they were “misidentified” as felons by a Republican government, and 2) the Supreme Court taking an action that would probably be called a coup if it happened in any non-Western country.

      • a lot of the things I’m hearing like “she didn’t campaign hard in swing states” simply aren’t true.

        In the last couple of weeks before the election the complaint was that Clinton’s campaign was excessively defensive and focused on shoring up her firewall. Funny how I don’t hear anyone saying that anymore.

        • Scott Lemieux

          As I’ve said, unless you can explain how Clinton wins without PA, I don’t see how you can make an argument that resource allocation was the reason she lost.

        • Excitable Boy

          Doesn’t fit the false narrative now that we have hindsight bias to push.

    • Rob in CT

      Yeah, I’m basically with you on this, though I do think Comey helped fuck things up.

      One other thing I’d add was that the available data showed a strong chance of HRC winning.

      That, coupled with the fact that a lot of D-leaners reaction to HRC was somewhere between “meh” and “blech,” might’ve depressed turnout a little bit.

      And a little bit is all it took.

      • Rob in CT

        Re: turnout, obviously I mean D-leaner turnout.

        Overall, turnout was up (in raw #s, unadjusted for pop growth) from 2012, and votes are still being counted.

        Currently:

        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/133Eb4qQmOxNvtesw2hdVns073R68EZx4SfCnP4IGQf8/htmlview?sle=true#gid=19

        Raw votes vs. 2012 = +1.7%
        13 “swing states” = +3.5%
        Non-swing states = .7%

        The raw & non-swing will rise as California keeps counting.

        Raw totals now 62,825,754 votes for Clinton/Kaine, 61,486,735 for Trump/Pence, 6,920,470 others. 47.9%-46.9%-5.3%

        This:

        http://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/statewide-elections/2016-general/unprocessed-ballots-report.pdf

        Indicates CA has just under 3.5 million votes still to count. Which, if I’m reading the charts right, means turnout in CA wasn’t actually down from 2012.

        If we figure those are 60% HRC/35%T/5%O, she’s got about another 2 million votes coming… so she’d end up just shy of 65 million votes. Obama had just shy of 66 million in 2012.

        2012 population was estimated at 312,780,968.
        2016 population is estimated at 322,762,018.

        That’s 3.2% growth. 66 million * 1.032 = 68,112,000. So basically HRC was short somewhere between 3 and 3 1/4 million votes compared to Obama in 2012.

        Roughly.

        • sibusisodan

          Thanks for finding this data. Simultaneously useful and depressing.

          • Rob in CT

            Someone else (I’ve forgotten who) first linked to it a couple of days ago and I’ve been checking ever since. The links appear in a 538 articled titled “no, turnout wasn’t down from 2012.”

            Adding in the CA votes to come, I get a final ~4.3% increase in raw votes. If we consider ~3.2% pop growth as a reasonable proxy for growth in the # of eligible voters (maybe slightly off, but close enough), it nets out to a slight UPTICK in turnout, overall.

            What fucked us was that HRC was slightly down and where she was up it didn’t help and where she was down it killed us in the EC.

        • Excitable Boy

          But Obama was short 3.5million votes in 2012 than he got in 2008, so she had a better retention than he did.

    • charluckles

      In talking to a lot of people who voted for Trump or at least refused to vote for Hillary, this election was almost entirely a referendum on her and her supposed corruption and criminality. The fact that the top law enforcement official in our country came out and lent real legitimacy to the accusations of corruption and criminality was devastating. I am on social media and email hammering my friends and relatives who voted for that bigoted sleaze bag, and the response is always and every time that Hillary Clinton was a criminal and liar. And they believe it, and a good portion of them believe it so strongly because of the actions of the FBI.

      I find Comey and the FBIs actions to be one of the most distressing things about this election. And I think we should be screaming about it from the rooftops, both to prevent it from happening again and to stick a knife in Trumps legitimacy.

      • Wamba

        There is a lot of truth in this post and I think the Comey letter probably hurt a bit and also had the effect of crowding out other negative Trump news, but is likely that the email damage had already largely been done at that point — after all it was one of the central focuses of Trump’s attack on Clinton. So yes, it didn’t help but there was a lot more going on than just that letter that Lemieux is obsessed with, which came out only AFTER Hillary had already been on an 11-day slide.

    • Scott Lemieux

      These leads tended to simply evaporate until the next debate.

      Completely, dead wrong.

      The extent to which people will go to exonerate Comey is unbelievable.

      • jpgray

        Free advice: don’t rely on your memory when posting before work….

        What I should have said was: these leads tended to evaporate until the public’s next clear unadulterated view of Clinton/Trump.

        For example, during (1) the period directly after both conventions were finished, and (2) the period of the debates, her lead expanded (after convention, after first debate) or was maintained (through the rest of the debates, dropping off soon after, pre-Comey).

        When we got curated Clinton/Trump, via the media or the campaign, her lead eroded away. When we got Clinton/Trump direct and in contrast, she jumped out ahead.

        I mean, 538 link all you want but they’re with me on that.

        Her big surges in the polls came following the conventions and the debates.

        What did the conventions and debates have in common? Clinton/Trump direct. She won on that every time. Clinton/Trump curated through their campaigns, not so much.

        Comey’s a POS and surely had an impact, but what is the value of picking out him as the chief villain other than to have a feel-good, purposeless whine about the unfairness of the universe?

        I mean, even assuming you’re correct, what is our to-do list after all this analysis? Rid the FBI of right-wing authoritarian mooks? End superficial scandal obsession and both-sidesism in the media? Shouldn’t we be thinking in more practical terms?

        • jeer9

          Comey’s a POS and surely had an impact, but what is the value of picking out him as the chief villain other than to have a feel-good, purposeless whine about the unfairness of the universe?

          Ouch.

          BTW, who was the genius that appointed Comey to begin with?

          Let me guess. … Nader?

        • Scott Lemieux

          Her big surges in the polls came following the conventions and the debates.

          Yes…and? You were still wrong to say that the impact of the first two debates had ended before the third. They debates did have an ongoing impact, and it’s very unlikely their cumulative effect would have ended entirely had Comey not changed the race.

          Comey’s a POS and surely had an impact, but what is the value of picking out him as the chief villain other than to have a feel-good, purposeless whine about the unfairness of the universe?

          “Antonin Scalia’s a POS and surely had an impact, but what is the value of picking out him as the chief villain other than to have a feel-good, purposeless whine about the unfairness of the universe?” This is really silly. It’s worth criticizing someone who acted horribly whether or not you can do anything about it. By your logic, blogging (let alone blog commenting) is a waste of time.

          The other problem with your argument that we should ignore Comey’s effect on the race because it isn’t “practical” is that nothing is more useless than unaflsifiable speculation about strategy in a campaign that will never be run again, which is what people are proposing to discuss instead.

          • jpgray

            I screwed up the evidence in my main reply out of laziness, so I probably deserve to get dismissed, but the larger point remains: while we had direct views of Clinton/Trump (after both conventions, during the period of the three debates), Clinton benefited; while the candidates were curated through the campaigns or the media, Trump benefited. Comey or no Comey.

            This effect is notable, it’s in the data, and it has to be about the campaign or the media. If the campaign, it’s important to figure out how it screwed up. If the media, then absent figuring out a way of changing their entire operational doctrine, we need a way to figure out who’s gonna get Gored and stop running those people for president.

            It’s not about ignoring Comey and his impact so much as arguing a Trump defeat should have been robust enough to withstand him. That it wasn’t needs explaining, to my mind. Comey doesn’t at all explain the drain in support between the conventions and the first debate, or the fall off after the third debate pre-Comey

            • Scott Lemieux

              Clinton benefited; while the candidates were curated through the campaigns or the media, Trump benefited. Comey or no Comey.

              Yes, but not to this extent. Clinton did retain some of the bounce she got after the first two debates. Her numbers should have been expected to drift down after the 3rd debate, but after the Comey letter the degeneration was far greater than after the first two.

              If she had gone down a point or two after October 28, I’d agree it wouldn’t show much of anything. But 5 points? It’s massively implausible that Comey didn’t have an effect, and if the letter explains a third of the decline (which I think is pretty conservative) that’s the ballgame.

              Comey doesn’t at all explain the drain in support between the conventions and the first debate

              Well, I don’t think it’s that hard to understand. Clinton viewed through the prism of the media is much less appealing than Clinton being viewed directly, and especially when viewed next to Trump. We can debate about whether Comey’s letter specifically swung the race — although I think it did — but I don’t think there can be any question that EMAILS! overall did.

              And as I said in another post, the expectation that Trump should have lost by a large margin is not justified. Partisanship just makes the quality of a candidate a very, very marginal factor, and while Trump underperformed a little his particular appeal to certain demographics made that irrelevant in the Electoral College with the FBI’s help.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              I don’t see how the *hell* you’re ever going to come up with a way to prevent people from being “Gored”, or, in anything other than a return to smoke-filled rooms choosing the candidates, preventing the voters themselves selecting a candidate who might possibly be “Gored”

              • Excitable Boy

                It’s the media stupid. They pick favorites and choose to make the races close. Obama was a great candidate, but he had 8 years of Bush/Republican fatigue and the media chose not to make Rev. Wright or some other irrelevant story a breaking news equivalent of WWW III.

  • prplmnkydw

    Obviously Comey had an impact. But do you really think that impact is still greater than the oh 4 million or so 2012 votes she was missing? The lower numbers of Latino and African-American voters? I think blaming this on the FBI is not a useful lesson for the future.

    • FlipYrWhig

      I’d like to know if the Comey endgame shenanigans induced people to stay home rather than vote, or to vote but leave the top line blank.

    • Scott Lemieux

      [cites of lower Latino turnout omitted]

      not a useful lesson for the future.

      The point is not whether it’s “useful,” but whether it’s “right,” although this is Comey apologism in a nutshell.

      Anyway, the 2020 campaign will involve a difference candidate running in a much different political context. It’s not really clear what lessons can be drawn from Clinton’s campaign that are useful going forward in any case.

      • liberal

        There’s lots of lessons. You just don’t want to hear them.

      • liberal

        What’s this “apologism”?

        It’s possible to hold these two thoughts in your head simultaneously:
        (1) Clinton was not a strong candidate
        (2) Comey had a malign influence on the election.

        BTW, who was the genius that appointed Comey to begin with?

        • Rob in CT

          Scott’s been harsh on Obama for appointing (or seeking to appoint) Republicans.

          He’s gone on and on about Democrats appointing “Republican Daddies” to work under Dem Administrations being really, really stupid.

          And Comey ought to end it once and for all. Next time we have a Dem Pres, the moment the idea crops up, the response should be “Remember Comey!”

          • XTPD

            My impression is that liberal’s insistence that “Clinton’s a terrible candidate” is basically a way for him/her to harp about “the wages of Neoliberalism” without incurring the wrath of the rest of the LGM commentariat — that smug comment about Comey’s appointment merely clinches the fact. Note that for a candidate who’s supposedly “not good at messaging” and with extremely high negatives (which he’s strongly implying are more or less immutable)…she still annihilated Trump in the debates, and looks to win the popular vote by anything from 600K–2 million people; strictly speaking, her loss amounts to quirks in geography and the Constitution.

            ETA: I’m not a fan of much of Dilan’s election commentary, but his comment on why liberal’s points don’t hold much water is pretty much spot-on.

        • Scott Lemieux

          It’s possible to hold these two thoughts in your head simultaneously:
          (1) Clinton was not a strong candidate
          (2) Comey had a malign influence on the election.

          Uh, yes? But that’s not what people here are arguing. They’re saying that Comey’s role should be ignored, or coming up with lots of bad arguments for why he didn’t matter.

          BTW, who was the genius that appointed Comey to begin with?

          Um, could you read my fucking posts before commenting on them? Christ.

  • charluckles

    I can’t believe we are even having this discussion. Comey, f*cked this country. His name should go down in the history books like Santorum. Every Trump voter I talked to has based their vote on the fact that Hillary Clinton was a criminal liar and I know that Democratic turnout was depressed by the supposed “corruption and criminality”. Now some of that is the full press from Republicans and the media, but the FBI and Comey put a giant seal of legitimacy on the idea that Clinton was a criminal.

    It’s one of the main reasons I think we are missing the story when we blame it all on Clinton. Things changed this election. If the media, the FBI, and the Russian Government are all colluding together against our candidate, I am not sure just responding that we need a better candidate is sufficient.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      oh, but the media, FBI and the Russian government would be *powerless* against a better candidate Nobody from Nowhere with No Record who has Amazing Political Skills and Who the People just Magically Loved

      • Just_Dropping_By

        So the media, FBI, and Russians were pro-Obama in 2008 and 2012?

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          it’s 2016. try to keep up, hm?

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      It seems that Putin and Assange both have grudges against Clinton, and they worked together to destroy her. Unless the lesson is to coddle Russia and pardon Assange, there was not much we could do there. They hacked the DNC and John Podesta, and what they revealed was pretty small potatoes. The DNC emails were blown up into a huge scandal on the basis that not everyone in the Democratic Party likes each other. This will be a vulnerability for any candidate in the future, unless they refrain from talking shit about anyone ever over email. You can be sure that if they hacked the Sanders campaign, or the Obama 08 campaign, they could’ve found some very harsh words about Clinton.

      The media didn’t blow the Podesta emails up as much, but there was still bullshit (like two Catholics talking shit about other Catholics) that was blown out of proportion. And even seeing “Clinton” and “emails” in the same headline was bad for her by that point.

      Comey was involved in the Whitewater investigation, so yeah… I mean, I guess Clinton had more vulnerability to the FBI due to preexisting investigations, but if the FBI is determined to fuck you up, you better be squeaky clean.

      The GOP investigations against Clinton started so early for this purpose. If they had started even in late 2015, people would’ve been more likely to dismiss it as a partisan witchhunt. But they started the Benghazi hysteria years ago and kept it up for years precisely to avoid that.

      In a sense, then, Clinton was harmed by being so obviously the frontrunner. If Clinton had declined to run, the GOP would’ve had their smear campaign plans scrambled. But if Clinton had died in 2013, what do you suppose the chances are that they would’ve started focusing on Biden who would’ve been the clear favorite instead?

  • NoMoreFairyTales

    Long time lurker; first time commenting.

    It seems to me no one is seeing this for what it really is: The FBI (and, by extension, our entire intelligence services) WANTED TRUMP. The deep state was going to get what it wants no matter what. Who voted for whom and why is COMPLETELY BESIDE THE POINT.

    So, why does the deep state want a Russian puppet in the White House? What is the end game here? Can you say, “non-aggression pact?”

    That is the ONLY thing that makes sense to me. How did that work out?

    But please, continue with the circular firing squad. That’s just exactly what they want from us.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      What is the end game here? Can you say, “non-aggression pact?”

      So your theory is that Clinton was so hostile towards Russia that the intelligence services decided they needed to make sure she didn’t become president at all rather than trying to convince her to take a different path after she was elected? Hmmmm.

      • NoMoreFairyTales

        No. I’m saying this is bigger than Clinton. They get what they want no matter what. So what is the end game now that Clinton is out of the way? As messed up as our history has been, I have never seen our government cede its sovereignty to a foreign power so openly and willingly. It fucking scares the shit out of me.

      • Howlin Wolfe

        Sure! A conspiracy theory is always prior in truth to a simpler explanation!

        • NoMoreFairyTales

          Sigh. The FBI put their thumb on the scales, in broad daylight. The Russian hacking of the DNC is a known thing. Bannon is an open Leninist out to “destroy the state.” The depth of Trump’s connection to Putin can only be speculated upon because he won’t release his tax returns. Geez, not even TPM is talking about it anymore. Well, whatever. Carry on.

  • mpowell

    Its still too early to try to explain why Clinton lost with such precision. Even if Comey moved national averages 1%, Clinton lost because she lost Michigan and Penn. Those states are the ones that give Trump and EC advantage and that’s where the polling turned out to be the most inaccurate. And some counties moved 20+ points from Obama to Clinton! Those votes didn’t move because of Comey. But maybe those votes had already moved and an additional 1-2% shift cost Clinton those states. If Comey moved Penn >1.2%, he cost Clinton the election. But I’m not going to assume a study of national polling shifts will tell me what effect Comey had on Penn – extrapolating a 1% national shift to 1% in Penn is not justified, imop.

    • jeer9

      Obama has pointed out that he had made a concerted effort to reach rural white voters in 2008, if only to hold down his losses.

      According to Chozick in the NY Times, no less a strategist than Bill Clinton himself argued to his wife’s campaign advisors that she, too, needed to speak to white working-class voters. (Let’s ignore for the moment the irony of the role he played in the alienation of these communities.) No one listened.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    But is Shy Ronnie a shy voter?

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