Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hitting 'Em With The Truth

In political media, there's been a huge amount of carping and sniping since Nate Silver's announcement this past weekend that Republicans have a slightly better than fifty percent chance to take over the U.S. Senate this fall. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee even blasted Nate's forecast yesterday - though how they did it seemed more than a little ridiculous to both our staff and Alex Roarty over at National Journal.

Elections this year - if run fairly and legally -  aren't going to be like the arcane, closeted decision-making process the Supreme Court will be going through starting today. There, nine people will decide, behind closed doors, if for-profit corporations can enforce a religious belief on their employees, and effectively be exempt from any U.S. law the corporation's controllers don't like.

In looking at the potential outcomes of the elections this year - which are still more than 220 days away - Nate's forecast isn't out of line with what anyone else is saying, as Jonathan Bernstein clearly noted over at Bloomberg on Monday. While it is true that Republicans could win control of the Senate, Democrats could also keep control - or maybe even gain a seat.

The key to clarifying the political forecasts of any of these number crunchers and experts is the same key that voters should be using to tell if politicians who are promising everything under the sun will actually deliver on those promises if elected: Ask one simple question - "How?"

For the professional political handicappers, "How" can usually be answered fairly easily. Folks like Nate Silver will often tell you how they achieve their forecasts, and virtually all of them will agree: Their forecasts are simply a snapshot, given the current conditions of the races TODAY. Just as meteorologists do, when the conditions change an hour from now, their forecasts can change too.

As for the politicians, asking them "How" they're going to fulfill their promises is actually far more important, in our estimation.

Politicians may promise the world when trying to get elected, but as the records of failed legislative proposals keep piling up, most of the politicians that billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers helped to get elected have consistently failed to deliver on issues that have been key to right-wing ideology, like banning gay marriage or outlawing abortion.

Bans against same-sex civil marriage contracts continue to be found unconstitutional, in state after state. Further, complete bans on abortion - a constitutionally legal medical procedure - continue to also be knocked down in the courts, by judges who care more about the law than they do their political patrons.

For all the rhetoric by extremists like Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and others like him, that they're going to repeal Obamacare, they never tell you how, exactly, they're going to get President Obama to sign a bill overturning his own signature legislation.

Even if Republicans do win the Senate this fall by a slim majority, Republicans in the House and Senate won't have the kinds of supermajorities needed to override the nearly constant stream of vetoes certain to be coming from President Obama's desk.

The truth, if you ask the right question, is actually very easy to discern - both from the politicians running the races, and from those handicapping the outcomes of those races.

Whether Americans really want to know the truth, however, remains a mystery that won't be solved until at least this fall.

No comments:

Post a Comment