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Primaries: Sometimes Shite Happens

Dewey Defeats Truman

DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN! … er, CLINTON DEFEATS OBAMA! To hear the pundocracy tell it, there was something miraculous in Hillary beating Barack. Every pundit had a reason - “the polls said so” … “Hillary’s much-ballyho oed display of emotion swayed female voters” … “there was voter fraud” … “the media played favorites” … and so on. Each pundit had an ironclad explanation for the earth-shatte ring outcome and it’s quite possible one or more might have been right. No one will ever know for sure. As Rummy so eloquently put it, “It’s a known unknown.” The closest explanation is probably much simpler - sometimes shite happens.

With decades of experience under their belts, pollsters have developed the black art of prognosticat ion into high science. They’re almost infallible when predicting the outcome of elections. Almost. Sometimes they get it disastrously wrong. Remember the last time they screwed up? We were hip-deep in a political nest of vipers for months while they snakes licked chads, trying to predict the next leader of the free world. In the end, the Supremes made a decision considerably more disastrous than pollsters miscalculati ng human emotions. As I said, “Sometimes shite happens.”

Trying to predict anything without coming off like a Nostradumbas s is a tough thing. Complex systems, like politics, operate on a chaos theory much more complex than the one theorized for the physical world. Trying to connect the beat of an Amazonian butterfly’s wing to global warming is pure grade school compared with quantifying the fickle emotions of millions of voters. What’s the mathematical formula for calculating why an Iowa farmer’s worry over a sick cow drove her to vote for Barack because his voice soothed her? How about the net effect of a few New Hampshirites dying rather than living free to face the moral dilemma of choosing the next savior of the republic? Just how much are human emotions worth per pound anyway? Damned if I know, and neither do the pollsters.

There are a few things I’d climb out on a limb and predict about the primaries. I don’t think Mike Gravel will take the nomination. Ditto Larry Craig. I’m as sure of these predictions as I am that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. But, there are no guarantees and there’s always the possibility that the morning sun might come in through a different window tomorrow. Anything less concrete than that is an open game in my book. In fact, the only sure bet about the primaries is that something else “surprising” will happen.

In the crazy world of American primary politics there’ll be more surprises upon surprises. You can’t count anybody out until after the conventions. So don’t get whipped into a frenzy because something unexpected happened. Treat it for what it is, an interesting fact. Possibly a part of a trend. Or, noting other than the convergence of the universe at a particularly inconvenient time.

Because as I always say, “Sometimes shite happens.”

Cross Posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Tags: , , , bring it on, clinton, iowa, new hampshire, obama, omnipotent poobah, politics, primaries
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