Nate Silver on why 2020 isn't 2016
1 hr 11 min

As you may have heard, there's a pretty important election coming up. That means it's time to bring back the one and only Nate Silver. 


Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, boasts one of the best election forecasting records of any analyst in the last 15 years. His forecasting models successfully predicted the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008 US presidential election and all 50 states in 2012. And in 2016, Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gave Donald Trump a 28 percent chance of victory — a significantly higher percentage than virtually any other prominent analyst at the time. He knows what he’s talking about, and it shows in this conversation. We discuss: 


  • What went wrong with the polls in 2016 — and whether pollsters today have corrected for those mistakes 
  • Why a 2016-sized polling error in 2020 would still hand Joe Biden the election
  • Why the 2020 race has been so incredibly steady despite a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and the biggest national protest movement in US history 
  • The possibility of a Biden landslide  
  • The not-so-small chance that Biden could win Texas and Georgia 
  • The massive Republican advantage in the Senate, House, and Electoral College — and how that affects our national politics 
  • Why the Senate would still advantage Republicans, even if Democrats added five blue states. 
  • Whether the Bernie Sanders left took the wrong lessons from 2016 
  • Why Biden’s unorthodox 2020 campaign strategy has been so successful 
  • Whether Sanders would be doing just as well against Trump as Biden is doing 
  • How a more generic, non-Trump Republican would be faring against Biden 
  • Why Silver is generally optimistic that we will avoid an electoral crisis on November 3 


And much more.


References:

“How FiveThirtyEight’s 2020 Presidential Forecast Works — And What’s Different Because Of COVID-19." Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

"The Senate’s Rural Skew Makes It Very Hard For Democrats To Win The Supreme Court." Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College by Jesse Wegman

"Toby Ord on existential risk, Donald Trump, and thinking in probabilities." The Ezra Klein Show

"The Real Story of 2016" by Nate Silver



Book recommendations:

The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom

The Precipice by Toby Ord  




Credits:

Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma


Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.


New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)


Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Political Gabfest
Political Gabfest
Slate Podcasts
Neutral Laws of General Applicability
It's conundrum season! Pass along your most pressing conundrums here: www.slate.com/conundrum. Our annual Conundrum holiday show is coming soon. Emily, John and Jamelle discuss presidential pardons; coronavirus exemptions for houses of worship; and David joins in for a conversation with Australia's former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about disinformation. Here are some notes and references from this week’s show: Jamelle Bouie for The New York Times: “It Started With ‘Birtherism’” Greg Nunziata for The Atlantic: “Republicans With Any Love of Country Must Acknowledge That Trump Has Lost” Spencer S. Hsu for The Washington Post: “Court-Appointed Adviser in Michael Flynn Case Says Justice Dept. Yielded to Corrupt ‘Pressure Campaign’ Led by Trump” Amy Howe for SCOTUSblog: “Christian School in Kentucky Asks Justices to Intervene in Dispute Over In-Person Classes at Religious Schools” Emily Bazelon for the New York Times Magazine: “The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation” A Bigger Picture, by Malcolm Turnbull  To celebrate our 15th anniversary we'd love to know about your clever, politically themed, original cocktail! Please send us the details here: www.slate.com/cocktail Here are this week’s cocktail chatters:  Jamelle: Jamelle chatted about the superior experience of watching films on a Blu-Ray player, as opposed to streaming. John: Caroline Lange for Food52: “A History of The American Milkman”; Matt Novak for Smithsonian Magazine: “The Milkman’s Robot Helper”; Atticpaper.com’s prints from the Mid-century advertising campaign “Beer Belongs”  Emily: The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans  Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on the Gabfest each week, and access to special bonus episodes throughout the year. Sign up now to listen and support our show.   For this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment David, Emily, and John learn about navigating water sports in shark-infested waters from Former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull. You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. Tweet us your cocktail chatter using #cocktailchatter. (Messages may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)   The email address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.) Podcast production by Jocelyn Frank. Research and show notes by Bridgette Dunlap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1 hr 14 min
The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast & Rick Wilson
The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast & Rick Wilson
The Daily Beast
Does Trump Really Want Republicans To Win in Georgia?
Trump is headed to Georgia this week, where there’s about to be a pair of special elections to decide the balance of the senate. But don’t expect the president to really talk up his Republican, MAGA AF buds, George Conway says. “It's better for him and better for his ego if they lose.” Trump has a problem, George explains to Molly-Jong Fast and Rick Wilson on the latest episode of The New Abnormal. Well, two. First, “Republicans did better than he did” in the general election. Not only does “that undercut his claim of fraud… it means that there were significant numbers of Republicans who couldn't stomach him. And that's the reason why he lost and all these other people won.” So now Trump is hate-tweeting Georgia’s Republican governor and Republican secretary of state. And he’s doing his damnedest to tell his followers that their votes don’t count, that they’re sure to be stolen. “It was amazing to see [RNC chair] Ronna McDaniel desperately to explain to Republicans why they need to vote in an election that will decide the balance of the Senate,” Molly remarks.  “It was like watching a walrus trying to fuck a beach ball. It's so awkward,” Rick replies.  Then Baratunde Thurston—host of the new podcast How to Citizen—joins Molly for a frank discussion about what led to Trumpism, and how we avoid falling for it again. He’s got a number of structural reforms in mind, to take money out of politics and put in back on the street. But there’s more.  “I want a lot of tribunals, Molly. I want COVID tribunals because I think there are political leaders who have blood on their hands that they need to be held to account for it. And I want some kind of like media tribunals because a lot of the media establishments created this fiction that is Donald Trump,” Baratunde says. Speaking of media monsters, Rick and Molly has had it with a certain interview formally known as the “Money Honey.” “Maria Bartiromo was once considered a legitimate and serious journalist,” Rick says. “And now she's being fitted for a pink hanbok, much like the North Korean propaganda lady who sits at the screen and stares and screams about the glory of the Kim Jong Un family. She allowed Donald Trump to go on television this weekend on the airwaves of Fox and bleed out the craziest horseshit you've ever heard.” Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
58 min
Left, Right & Center
Left, Right & Center
KCRW
Politics of culture
2020 has been a difficult year. Keli Goff hosts this special episode of Left, Right & Center about how art gets us through tough times, and how it can move us politically too. You’ll hear from four creators and thinkers on the persuasive power of the arts and what pieces they’ve turned to for inspiration and comfort. You might walk away with a new favorite song or play. Stan Zimmerman wrote one of 2020’s favorite TV series: “The Golden Girls.” In April, Hulu viewers watched nearly 11 million hours of the show. Zimmerman talks about why the show was ahead of its time, and why so many shows are seeing a resurgence during a stressful year. Musician Nile Rodgers might be the reason some of your favorite songs exist. Rodgers is one of the most successful songwriters and musicians ever. He co-founded Chic, and he has producing and songwriting credits with David Bowie, Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Madonna, Diana Ross, Sister Sledge, Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, and more. He and Goff jam out to “We Are Family” (which he co-wrote) and talk about how certain songs have moved the world. Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau talks with Goff about the power of live performance (something we’re missing right now), why theater is still closed off to many people of color, the role of critics and the canon, “Hamilton,” and more. And to wrap it up, Goff talks with Rashad Robinson, president of the civil rights organization Color of Change. Rashad talks about the impacts of celebrity on social movements, the power of icons, and why Hollywood and the arts matter to those who dream of and work toward a more equitable future.
50 min
LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers
LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers
KCRW
Pardon season
It’s pardon season. Last week, President Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, for the false statements charge to which he pleaded guilty, and he’s been pardoned for certain activity he was never charged with. If this pardon was corruptly issued, is it valid? Yes. Even if the president gets in political or legal trouble for it, is it still valid? Still yes. The power to pardon is pretty close to a power a king would have, and there is no precedent for curbing the president’s power to pardon. There may be more pardons ahead: ABC News and the New York Times report the president is considering pre-emptive pardons for some of his family members: his three oldest children (Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr.), his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his demented uncle Rudy Giuliani. There’s also news that prosecutors are looking into whether there was a corrupt scheme to offer political donations in exchange for a pardon. Ken and Josh talk about what is known based on an unsealed but heavily redacted order from a federal judge. Plus: Bill Barr makes John Durham a special prosecutor. How does that change John Durham’s work with the investigation into the other special counsel investigation? And what if the Biden administration were to expand the Durham investigation into other areas of the Trump administration Department of Justice? And about that full page ad Lin Wood took out that calls for President Trump to impose “limited martial law” so he could throw out the results of the election: is that sedition? And why couldn’t President Trump file just “one, big, beautiful lawsuit” alleging voter fraud?
37 min
Trump, Inc.
Trump, Inc.
WNYC Studios
Midnight Regulations
This story was co-published with ProPublica. Sign up for email updates from Trump, Inc. to get the latest on our investigations. Six days after President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified food safety groups that it was proposing a regulatory change to speed up chicken factory processing lines, a change that would allow companies to sell more birds. An earlier USDA effort had broken down on concerns that it could lead to more worker injuries and make it harder to stop germs like salmonella. Ordinarily, a change like this would take about two years to go through the cumbersome legal process of making new federal regulations. But the timing has alarmed food and worker safety advocates, who suspect the Trump administration wants to rush through this rule in its waning days. Even as Trump and his allies officially refuse to concede the Nov. 3 election, the White House and federal agencies are hurrying to finish dozens of regulatory changes before Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The rules range from long-simmering administration priorities to last-minute scrambles and affect everything from creature comforts like showerheads and clothes washers to life-or-death issues like federal executions and international refugees. They impact everyone from the most powerful, such as oil drillers, drugmakers and tech startups, to the most vulnerable, such as families on food stamps, transgender people in homeless shelters, migrant workers and endangered species. ProPublica is tracking those regulations as they move through the rule-making process. Every administration does some version of last-minute rule-making, known as midnight regulations, especially with a change in parties. It’s too soon to say how the Trump administration’s tally will stack up against predecessors. But these final weeks are solidifying conservative policy objectives that will make it harder for the Biden administration to advance its own agenda, according to people who track rules developed by federal agencies. “The bottom line is the Trump administration is trying to get things published in the Federal Register, leaving the next administration to sort out the mess,” said Matthew Kent, who tracks regulatory policy for left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen. “There are some real roadblocks to Biden being able to wave a magic wand on these.” In some instances the Trump administration is using shortcuts to get more rules across the finish line, such as taking less time to accept and review public feedback. It’s a risky move. On the one hand, officials want to finalize rules so that the next administration won’t be able to change them without going through the process all over again. On the other, slapdash rules may contain errors, making them more vulnerable to getting struck down in court. The Trump administration is on pace to finalize 36 major rules in its final three months, similar to the 35 to 40 notched by the previous four presidents, according to Daniel Perez, a policy analyst at the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. In 2017, Republican lawmakers struck down more than a dozen Obama-era rules using a fast-track mechanism called the Congressional Review Act. That weapon may be less available for Democrats to overturn Trump’s midnight regulations if Republicans keep control of the Senate, which will be determined by two Georgia runoffs. Still, a few GOP defections could be enough to kill a rule with a simple majority. “This White House is not likely to be stopping things and saying on principle elections have consequences, let’s respect the voters’ decision and not rush things through to tie the next guys’ hands,” said Susan Dudley, who led the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget at the end of the George W. Bush administration. “One concern is the rules are rushed so they didn’t have adequate analysis or public comment, and that’s what we’re seeing.” The Trump White House didn’t respond to requests for comment on which regulations it’s aiming to finish before Biden’s inauguration. The Biden transition team also didn’t respond to questions about which of Trump’s parting salvos the new president would prioritize undoing. Many of the last-minute changes would add to the heap of changes throughout the Trump administration to pare back Obama-era rules and loosen environmental and consumer protections, all in the name of shrinking the government’s role in the economy. “Our proposal today greatly furthers the Trump administration’s regulatory reform efforts, which together have already amounted to the most aggressive effort to reform federal regulations of any administration,” Brian Harrison, the chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services, said on a conference call with reporters the day after the election. Harrison was unveiling a new proposal to automatically purge regulations that are more than 10 years old unless the agency decides to keep them. For that proposal to become finalized before Jan. 20 would be an exceptionally fast turnaround. But Harrison left no doubt about that goal. “The reason we're doing this now is because,” he said, “we at the department are trying to go as fast as we can in hopes of finalizing the rule before the end of the first term.” Read Isaac Arnsdorf's full print story at ProPublica. Track more of the Trump administration's midnight regulations here.
18 min
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