August 2nd, 2016

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So There's a Clinton Convention Bounce. Does It Matter?

More evidence comes in that, now that both political conventions are over, Clinton is regaining ground she lost to Trump in July.

My issue is that I'm still not confident that the underlying conditions that created the correlations over the last 50+ years of analysis still hold.

As I was saying all thorugh the primary season, there is lots of reason to believe that the underlying factors that have made politics more predictable over the years are fraying. Huge population shifts, dramatic changes in how these populations abosrb news and views, the fact that the system is terribly complex (by which I mean lots of variables that are mutually dependent) all push us into an increasingly unknown country.

So sure, getting a post convention bounce is better than not getting a post-convention bounce. And we will see what happens when we have the debates and have the two candidates side-by-side. The impact of eliminating the voter i.d. rules in the three most restrictive states may also have significant impact (even in TX).

All this is to say that we will actually have an election, and it is the election that will decide who gets to be President, who are the members of Congress, and who are the members of your state legislature. And whatever ballot issues you care about.

What you chose to do with that information is entirely up to you.
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Rant: What Does It Mean To Be "The Party That Believes In Science."

This is becoming a very significant issue for progressives. And not simply in the hard sciences, but the social sciences as well.
Hard science and social science have always been critically important to advancing progressive policies. By contrast, we have pointed to the failure of science and pseudo-science as supporting racist policies, misogyny, or advancing pro-industrial policies. The environmental movement provides many examples where hard science was dismissed time and again until the weight of real scientific evidence became overwhelming. The same with consumer protection for carcinogens. And everyone should remember the value of the "Clark Experiment" as applied social science in Brown v. Board of education. By contrast, social theories justified with little evidence such as "broken windows policing" have caused immeasurable harm until debunked and disproven by rigorous social science research.

Which is why I am becoming very concerned that legitimate suspicion of self-interested research or agency capture is morphing in some cases to objection without substance.
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I do not want the Democratic Party to claim the mantle of "belief in science," and then use bad science to advance pro-corporate policies. I want progressives to embrace the mantle of believing in science, and modeling that behavior.