Occam, Trump, and Russia

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Eric the .5b
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 07 Jun 2018, 19:13

Mo wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 07:25
Eric the .5b wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 21:16
Shem wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 20:39
Eric the .5b wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 19:46
dhex wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 06:30
Russian English language psy-memes didn't swing jack fuck. Anyone who dug into that garbage was not a Hillary possible.
And anyone who was demotivated to vote by that stuff...was also not a Hillary possible.

I'm not even sure we can blame Comey's last-minute shenanigans. Who exactly was actually going to vote for Clinton but got demotivated by vague investigation announcements?
The same sort of people who get demotivated to vote by rain on election day? I think you guys are underestimating how weak some people's desire to vote is.
I think some people are overestimating how many people ever actually wanted to vote for Clinton.
I think that actually supports Shem's point. I would say the bulk, or a major chunk at least, of Clinton voters were reluctant Clinton voters*. Comey stuff isn't going to demotivate people who want to vote for Clinton, it will demotivate the, "Eh, at least she's not a vulgar sleezeball," voters.

* I would say the same about Trump as well
Let me rephrase "wanted to vote". More "actually intended to vote, and for her, at any point". I'm deeply skeptical of how many of those people would have bothered voting without Comey. The primary thing Clinton brought to the whole election was people who weren't going to vote for her.

i share Jason's rejection of the Team Blue attempt to paint Russian propaganda as determining/undermining/whatever the election. If a little propaganda undermines democracy, we might as well give up on democracy. And it's ultimately all an excuse for Team Blue's failure. What determined the election was that Team Blue put up a candidate who people hated, who couldn't beat the spread on an orange nincompoop, and who couldn't actually accomplish the electoral college strategy she laid out.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Painboy » 07 Jun 2018, 19:35

Shem wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 23:36
Painboy wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 18:33
What was the practical effect of all of that though? A few thousand idiots here, a few thousand idiots there? That's not going to swing elections or change any policies.
You're kidding, right? 65,000 votes across three states highly targeted by Russians, and we have a different President.
"Targeted by Russians" doesn't mean there was any appreciable effect. Numerous other political groups targeted those states as well. There is no evidence that the russian effort subverted any of that. It was a few mouse farts in a hurricaine.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by lunchstealer » 07 Jun 2018, 19:38

The only thing I have about it is that this was such a spectacularly shitty election that just about any one thing could tip it the other way. Switch the timing of the Comey memo with the Billy Bush tape and we're all going on about how fucking retarded the Republicans are for saddling us with goddamned Hillary.

This was just a shitty election, like 2000. In a shitty election small signals seem amplified. Hanging chads didn't swing that election, the election was just inside the noise, and ANY change to the conditions would swing it one way or the other.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 07 Jun 2018, 20:14

I'm not worried about Russia's effect on the electorate. How they respond to propaganda is ultimately on them.

I care about how a campaign (which is a feeder for high level executive branch staffers) responded to outreach from Russian agents.

And I care about Comey deviating from the protocols surrounding the release of information about investigations of public officials in an election year. How people respond to the information is on them, ultimately, but that doesn't mitigate Comey's duties.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 07 Jun 2018, 20:40

lunchstealer wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 19:38
The only thing I have about it is that this was such a spectacularly shitty election that just about any one thing could tip it the other way. Switch the timing of the Comey memo with the Billy Bush tape and we're all going on about how fucking retarded the Republicans are for saddling us with goddamned Hillary.
I suspect that wouldn't have lead to a Clinton victory. She never go out of the noise with Trump, and she lost supposedly safe states she chose not to campaign in, among other missteps. Yes, a butterfly's wing-flaps might mean some camper gets caught in a sudden storm a month later. But if that camper claims to be an expert and yet picks a spot for her tent that floods two minutes into the rain, that's on her, not the butterfly.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by dhex » 07 Jun 2018, 22:13

Access Hollywood tape drops the week of the election and we almost certainly have president Clinton.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Jadagul » 07 Jun 2018, 22:36

Eric the .5b wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 20:40
lunchstealer wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 19:38
The only thing I have about it is that this was such a spectacularly shitty election that just about any one thing could tip it the other way. Switch the timing of the Comey memo with the Billy Bush tape and we're all going on about how fucking retarded the Republicans are for saddling us with goddamned Hillary.
I suspect that wouldn't have lead to a Clinton victory. She never go out of the noise with Trump, and she lost supposedly safe states she chose not to campaign in, among other missteps. Yes, a butterfly's wing-flaps might mean some camper gets caught in a sudden storm a month later. But if that camper claims to be an expert and yet picks a spot for her tent that floods two minutes into the rain, that's on her, not the butterfly.

"She never got out of the noise" is just false. She varied between being like 8-9 points ahead, and being like a point ahead. (I like 538's point that she did well in the set-piece portions of the campaign, but then slowly lost ground in between the set pieces). The general election happened at a low point.

People I trust, like Nate Silver, estimate that the Comey letter cost her 2-3 points, which would be more than enough to have changed the election result.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 07 Jun 2018, 23:12

Jadagul wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 22:36
"She never got out of the noise" is just false.
Maybe not the right term. Not the statistical noise, but the back-and-forth. Consider that graph: leading up to the election, she never got a lead over the guy that didn't nearly (or did completely) evaporate within a matter of weeks. If the Comey letter cost her 2-3 points, it's a significant thing that in the last month before the election, she managed to lose most of a six-point lead. For all that she was ahead in the polls and heavily favored immediately prior to election day, she still only managed a minuscule popular vote victory and a catastrophic EC loss.

I submit that she was never really ahead and, by and large, people weren't wildly weathervaning about support for Clinton and Trump. They were just variably willing to express that support for their candidates at different times, particularly Trump, even though they took that support to the voting booth.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Jadagul » 07 Jun 2018, 23:33

Eric the .5b wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 23:12
Jadagul wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 22:36
"She never got out of the noise" is just false.
Maybe not the right term. Not the statistical noise, but the back-and-forth. Consider that graph: leading up to the election, she never got a lead over the guy that didn't nearly (or did completely) evaporate within a matter of weeks. If the Comey letter cost her 2-3 points, it's a significant thing that in the last month before the election, she managed to lose most of a six-point lead. For all that she was ahead in the polls and heavily favored immediately prior to election day, she still only managed a minuscule popular vote victory and a catastrophic EC loss.

I submit that she was never really ahead and, by and large, people weren't wildly weathervaning about support for Clinton and Trump. They were just variably willing to express that support for their candidates at different times, particularly Trump, even though they took that support to the voting booth.
I mean, the polls pretty clearly reflected the votes as they happened. So it's pretty reasonable to assume that the polls a month earlier reflected how people would vote then. Swing voters and marginal voters really do have very weak and variable political commitments! She had a six-point lead heading into the Comey letter, which pushed her down to a three-point lead, which is what she got.

Clinton maxed out at a nine-point lead. In the election she had something like a three-point lead; it was just poorly distributed. (And you can blame her for not campaigning in Michigan, but she did campaign hard in Pennsylvania and she needed it to win the election so that wasn't the dispositive factor).

It's true that she never had a secure lead, despite the fact that both she and most of everyone else seemed to feel like she did. There were a lot of undecided voters, because lots of voters didn't like her or Trump. And that meant that the votes were pretty swingy, in a way that lots of people didn't really appreciate during the campaign. And it also probably didn't help that much of the media was a lot harsher on Clinton than on Trump, though I'm a little more sympathetic to them on this than other people are, about which I should write a thing at some point.

But "Clinton was never really ahead" just isn't true.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 08 Jun 2018, 02:32

Different questions get different answers, and problems can have more than one cause.

If the question is whether Clinton needs to own her loss, the answer is yes. Any reasonable Democrat really should have been able to beat Trump. She clearly wasn't good enough. Yes, yes, she was often leading, but any reasonable Democrat should have been able to lead by more, and stay there.

If the question is whether Comey acted properly, the answer is no, and if Trump had fired him on day one because he talked about a political investigation in an election year, in violation of DOJ guidelines, nobody would have faulted Trump. In fact, Trump would have been seen as a good-faith actor if he'd fired a guy who clearly helped him. (We can debate if Comey's actions were decisive, and if that should matter, but his actions were at the very least more favorable to Trump than Clinton.)

If the question is whether Russian trolls mattered all that much, my answer is "Probably not."

If the question is whether voters should carry the moral responsibility for making stupid decisions based on stuff they read from trolls, my answer is "Fuck yeah."

If the question is whether troll farms are protected speech, my answer is to ask a lawyer. If, for the sake of argument, there were lawful actions that could be taken against troll farms, I would hope that the authorities would use their discretion to err on the side of going easy on speech. FWIW.

If the question is whether the people around Trump have acted the way you would hope when an aspiring executive branch official is offered shady assistance by foreign agents, the answer is an unqualified no.

If the question is whether the Russians did anything other than troll farms, my answer is that troll farms and their impacts are the only things anybody seems to want to talk about and why the hell is that?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Dangerman » 08 Jun 2018, 09:10

If the question is whether the Russians did anything other than troll farms, my answer is that troll farms and their impacts are the only things anybody seems to want to talk about and why the hell is that?
Because there's no evidence of any impact from any Russian activity, but the troll farms are a thing that people have heard of so they talk about it.

All the rest is too convoluted. It was easier when we could blame NeoCons cozying up to Saddam Hussein on Big Oil and Grandpa Bush Was A Nazi.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 08 Jun 2018, 15:19

Jadagul wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 23:33
Eric the .5b wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 23:12
I submit that she was never really ahead and, by and large, people weren't wildly weathervaning about support for Clinton and Trump. They were just variably willing to express that support for their candidates at different times, particularly Trump, even though they took that support to the voting booth.
I mean, the polls pretty clearly reflected the votes as they happened. So it's pretty reasonable to assume that the polls a month earlier reflected how people would vote then. Swing voters and marginal voters really do have very weak and variable political commitments!
From everything I've ever read on the topic, actual swing/undecided/independent voters who might vote for either party are a negligible factor compared to the people who will only ever vote for one team, but who don't consistently vote for that teams' candidates. And Clinton was a serious and consistent demotivator to Blue votes. The Sanders challenge should have been the first big warning. Watching dedicated Blues invert the usual to-the-center pattern in the windup to the general election and desperately try to convince their fellows that she really was a super-turbo-progressive that they should vote for should have been another warning.

Ppresidential polls are known to have a serious degree of inaccuracy in the modern age that still hasn't adequately been dealt with. I don't buy that the wild variations every time supporters get annoyed at their candidate represent genuine unwillingness to vote for them, much less willingness to vote for the other candidate. If people do actually go to the voting booths, almost all of them are going to vote for their team's offering, even if he looked like an idiot in the debates or is a dreaded "neo-liberal". And no, I don't really buy that that many of a party's voters dither back and forth that much on whether to vote. People can be fickle, but more relevantly, they also make snap decisions ("I won't vote for HIllary Clinton") and then spend months justifying sticking with them.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 08 Jun 2018, 16:29

thoreau wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 02:32
If the question is whether the Russians did anything other than troll farms, my answer is that troll farms and their impacts are the only things anybody seems to want to talk about and why the hell is that?
Because they constitute an excuse for Clinton's loss. That and the "Russians hacked the election" business that's not much more supported than the huge popular vote victory Trump claims he actually got.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 08 Jun 2018, 17:32

Eric the .5b wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 15:19
Ppresidential polls are known to have a serious degree of inaccuracy in the modern age that still hasn't adequately been dealt with.
As other people have noted, the polls in this case were not inaccurate. They averaged out to about a 2% lead for Clinton, which is about the margin by which she won the popular vote. The difficulty is in the electoral college, which is why spreading 100,000 of Clinton's 3 million extra votes across the Midwest would have won her the election.
And no, I don't really buy that that many of a party's voters dither back and forth that much on whether to vote. People can be fickle, but more relevantly, they also make snap decisions ("I won't vote for HIllary Clinton") and then spend months justifying sticking with them.
So, do people make snap decisions, or do they walk into elections with their minds made up? Because you seem to be arguing both in an attempt to defend the thesis that negative (indeed, any) campaigning doesn't matter, because people don't dither back and forth on whether to vote, and they aren't really appt to change their mind, meaning who will win is more or less a foregone conclusion.

Of course, that then raises the question of why people spend literally billions of dollars doing it if minds are already made up.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Painboy » 08 Jun 2018, 17:55

Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 17:32
Eric the .5b wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 15:19
Ppresidential polls are known to have a serious degree of inaccuracy in the modern age that still hasn't adequately been dealt with.
As other people have noted, the polls in this case were not inaccurate. They averaged out to about a 2% lead for Clinton, which is about the margin by which she won the popular vote. The difficulty is in the electoral college, which is why spreading 100,000 of Clinton's 3 million extra votes across the Midwest would have won her the election.
And no, I don't really buy that that many of a party's voters dither back and forth that much on whether to vote. People can be fickle, but more relevantly, they also make snap decisions ("I won't vote for HIllary Clinton") and then spend months justifying sticking with them.
So, do people make snap decisions, or do they walk into elections with their minds made up? Because you seem to be arguing both in an attempt to defend the thesis that negative (indeed, any) campaigning doesn't matter, because people don't dither back and forth on whether to vote, and they aren't really appt to change their mind, meaning who will win is more or less a foregone conclusion.

Of course, that then raises the question of why people spend literally billions of dollars doing it if minds are already made up.
There have been several studies recently that show "undecided voters" are basically a myth. They may say they are undecided when asked but in practice their mind was made up months earlier about who they were voting for.

What the campaigns (the successful ones) spend money on is voter turnout. The stuff the russian trolls put out wouldn't have had any noticible effect given that they were dwarfed by the emourmous amount of other efforts out there. Releasing the email nonsense didn't suddenly change people's opinion on Hilliary. She's been in politics for the last 25 years. People made up thier minds about her years ago whatever they may have stated in a poll.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 08 Jun 2018, 17:58

Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 17:32
And no, I don't really buy that that many of a party's voters dither back and forth that much on whether to vote. People can be fickle, but more relevantly, they also make snap decisions ("I won't vote for HIllary Clinton") and then spend months justifying sticking with them.
So, do people make snap decisions, or do they walk into elections with their minds made up?
I dunno, why don't you reread the very sentence preceding your question?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 08 Jun 2018, 18:06

Eric the .5b wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 17:58
Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 17:32
And no, I don't really buy that that many of a party's voters dither back and forth that much on whether to vote. People can be fickle, but more relevantly, they also make snap decisions ("I won't vote for HIllary Clinton") and then spend months justifying sticking with them.
So, do people make snap decisions, or do they walk into elections with their minds made up?
I dunno, why don't you reread the very sentence preceding your question?
That's the point of my question; your statement boils down to "people are fickle unless they're not fickle." Which is a meaningless tautology.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Pham Nuwen » 08 Jun 2018, 18:16

Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 18:06
"people are fickle unless they're not fickle." Which is a meaningless tautology.
But also quite accurate.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 08 Jun 2018, 18:27

Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 18:06
Eric the .5b wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 17:58
Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 17:32
And no, I don't really buy that that many of a party's voters dither back and forth that much on whether to vote. People can be fickle, but more relevantly, they also make snap decisions ("I won't vote for HIllary Clinton") and then spend months justifying sticking with them.
So, do people make snap decisions, or do they walk into elections with their minds made up?
I dunno, why don't you reread the very sentence preceding your question?
That's the point of my question; your statement boils down to "people are fickle unless they're not fickle." Which is a meaningless tautology.
No, it doesn't. You're very obviously engaging in a bad faith argument, first willfully misreading one sentence and claiming it's self-contradictory, then, when that doesn't fly, pulling in another sentence and trying to conflate points.

I'm not responding any further to you about this.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 08 Jun 2018, 18:40

Eric the .5b wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 18:27
Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 18:06
Eric the .5b wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 17:58
Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 17:32
And no, I don't really buy that that many of a party's voters dither back and forth that much on whether to vote. People can be fickle, but more relevantly, they also make snap decisions ("I won't vote for HIllary Clinton") and then spend months justifying sticking with them.
So, do people make snap decisions, or do they walk into elections with their minds made up?
I dunno, why don't you reread the very sentence preceding your question?
That's the point of my question; your statement boils down to "people are fickle unless they're not fickle." Which is a meaningless tautology.
No, it doesn't. You're very obviously engaging in a bad faith argument, first willfully misreading one sentence and claiming it's self-contradictory, then, when that doesn't fly, pulling in another sentence and trying to conflate points.

I'm not responding any further to you about this.
Sure, Eric. I'm arguing in bad faith, just like everyone here who disagrees with you. Especially when they respond to the specific line you point them to, which was quoted before I "pulled anything in to conflate points." Meanwhile, absent an explanation of the factors that make a difference (y'know, the ones I asked for), the statement
And no, I don't really buy that that many of a party's voters dither back and forth that much on whether to vote. People can be fickle, but more relevantly, they also make snap decisions ("I won't vote for HIllary Clinton") and then spend months justifying sticking with them.
remains a meaningless tautology.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 08 Jun 2018, 18:45

Shem wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 18:40
Sure, Eric. I'm arguing in bad faith, just like everyone here who disagrees with you.
As a matter of clarification: Nope, that's strictly directed to you and absolutely nobody else in this thread.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 08 Jun 2018, 23:38

So Donald Trump's campaign manager was in business with an honest-to-god Kremlin asset, if not an operative. And Manafort was talking with said asset right after he got the job about ways to leverage Manafort's position to pay off the mob boss they owed 19 million to.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 09 Jun 2018, 00:40

Shem wrote:So Donald Trump's campaign manager was in business with an honest-to-god Kremlin asset, if not an operative. And Manafort was talking with said asset right after he got the job about ways to leverage Manafort's position to pay off the mob boss they owed 19 million to.
But what does this have to do with troll farms?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Painboy » 09 Jun 2018, 15:13

If he, or anyone else in this mess, did something criminal I hope they go to jail for a long time. Manafort and his associates are serious sleazebags.

Again though, what effect did this have on the rest of the country? I'm not seeing any indication the administration is in Russia's pocket or even defers to them on anything. I understand there is a difference of opinion here on what constitutes influence but when it's so vague no one can even agree on what the Kremlin or Trump supposedly got for the alleged collusion it's hard to see what effect it has had on the country as a whole.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 09 Jun 2018, 17:32

Trump has pushed (admittedly unsuccessfully) for Russia to be let back into the G7.

He's dragging his feet on implementing sanctions passed by Congress.
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