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Old 10th September 2019, 03:57 PM   #121
theprestige
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I hate to keep repeating myself but.....

Whether or not the Trump opponents have a snowball chance in hell of succeeding...I don't think they do...is not the point;the point is the GOP party members should have the right to choose.
That's not really true, though. Not for either party. Not for any party. Nor should it be true.

You're just confused because party business has been so tightly coupled with the actual democratic processes, for so long, that you take it for granted that they are the same thing.
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Old 10th September 2019, 04:05 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Nova Land View Post
I expect this kind of innumeracy on other sites but it's disappointing to see it on a skeptic site such as ISF.

Unlikely -- even when modified as highly unlikely or extremely unlikely -- is not the same as impossible. But I routinely see people asserting that unlikely events which didn't occur were actually impossible.
You want innumeracy? Find someone who acts like election outcomes are gaussian distributed random variables, and therefore the chance of a particular outcome is something other than zero.

I stand by it. Pat Buchanan had absolutely zero chance of winning the Republican nomination.

If something truly horrible happened, like, for example, the death of GHWB, or a gaffe so extreme that no one would vote for GHWB, the GOP powers that be would have changed the rules to allow a candidate more suitable than Pat Buchanan.

I will not say that the probability of Buchanan winning was zero, because that would imply that his victory was something that could be reasonably represented as a probability density function. I suppose it could be represented by the trivial PDF of P(loss)=1, P(win)=0, but that's a rather boring PDF. I prefer saying "zero chance", because that doesn't suggest some sort of mathematical function that would determine the outcome.
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Old 10th September 2019, 04:55 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I stand by it. Pat Buchanan had absolutely zero chance of winning the Republican nomination.

You can stand by it all you like. But that definitely wasn't true in the universe I live in.

Pat Buchanan presented George Bush a very serious challenge. But a key part of Buchanan's path to the nomination was defeating Bush in the New Hampshire primary.

And George Bush was well aware of it. That's why, instead of laughing at the thought that Pat Buchanan was challenging him, Bush made an extraordinary effort to court New Hampshire voters prior to that key primary. If you're near a good library with newspapers on microfilm, or if you have a subscription to a paper such as the New York Times or Washington Post which gives you access to their onlive archive, you can look up the many newspaper stories which were written about that at the time.

And Bush succeeded: he won the primary, 53 to 38. That's still a pretty impressive showing by Buchanan, but not quite good enough to start the wave of primary upsets he was hoping for.

But if Bush had taken the attitude you take, that Buchanan had 0 possibility of winning, and not done exhaustive campaigning in NH prior to the primary, Buchanan probably would have won the primary. And if he had, there's a fair chance he'd have gone on to win a number of other primaries that year -- and quite possibly the nomination.

Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I hate to keep repeating myself but.....

Whether or not the Trump opponents have a snowball chance in hell of succeeding ... is not the point;the point is the GOP party members should have the right to choose.

Quite right, and my apologies for again getting into the side-track about whether Pat Buchanan had any chance of defeating George Bush. If anyone wishes to continue that discussion I'll start a new thread for it.

The key point is that parties should not be anointing a chosen one as their candidate. Any reasonable challenger -- "reasonable challenger" being defined as a challenger able to gather the number of signatures on petitions and meet any other requirements set by a state for getting on the primary ballot -- should be allowed to compete for the nomination. It may be legal for a party to deny challengers the right to compete, but it's certainly not how the US presidential selection process is supposed to operate.
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Old 10th September 2019, 05:33 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
You want innumeracy? Find someone who acts like election outcomes are gaussian distributed random variables, and therefore the chance of a particular outcome is something other than zero.
Actually, the chance of a particular outcome absolutely can be zero.

Doesn't mean it won't happen, however.
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Old 11th September 2019, 11:41 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
You want innumeracy? Find someone who acts like election outcomes are gaussian distributed random variables, and therefore the chance of a particular outcome is something other than zero.

I stand by it. Pat Buchanan had absolutely zero chance of winning the Republican nomination.
Just like everyone said about Trump 4 years ago. If only they had cancelled the primaries to prevent Trump.
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Old 11th September 2019, 11:42 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by Nova Land View Post
I expect this kind of innumeracy on other sites but it's disappointing to see it on a skeptic site such as ISF.

Unlikely -- even when modified as highly unlikely or extremely unlikely -- is not the same as impossible. But I routinely see people asserting that unlikely events which didn't occur were actually impossible.
I took it as hyperbole -- a colloquial use of the word.

Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
You want innumeracy? Find someone who acts like election outcomes are gaussian distributed random variables, and therefore the chance of a particular outcome is something other than zero.

I stand by it. Pat Buchanan had absolutely zero chance of winning the Republican nomination.
ETA: Oops, no. I was wrong.
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Old 11th September 2019, 11:49 AM   #127
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Do the parties have a backup plan in case their selected candidate, primary victor or not, doesn't make it to the election? What happens if Candidate A gets the nod, all the party resources are directed toward A's campaign, all's going swimmingly and then the month before the election A falls off a horse and drowns in a tidal pool? Does the party have a backup in Candidate B, who's been in storage with some t-shirts and banners made just in case? Or do they automatically promote A's VP pick up a step and hope for the best?
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Old 11th September 2019, 05:49 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I took it as hyperbole -- a colloquial use of the word.



ETA: Oops, no. I was wrong.
Probability is a branch of mathematics with extremely precise definitions that do not apply to the question of whether or not Pat Buchanan could have won the Republican nomination.

Saying "zero chance" is a colloquial term that is sometimes confused with "zero probability", but they are different.

And why, pray tell, am I being such a pedant on the subject? Because Nova Land has accused my statement of being an example of innumeracy. Of all the gall! That is an offense up with which I shall not put! Indeed, I say that Nova Land himself, in applying a numeric principle to something which it does not apply is the actual innumerate one. Indeed, his innumeracy is so great in this case that it extends toward illiteracy. He not only got the math wrong, he got the English wrong as well.

And, underneath it all, got the political science wrong. George H W Bush could have been caught with the proverbial dead girl or live boy, and Pat Buchanan still wasn't going to see the inside of the White House, except as a guest or a tourist.

And the reason goes back to the actual subject of this thread. Parties do have some control over who their nominee is. Trump pulled off what seemed impossible because he was extremely savvy about manipulating the system, and for all his faults, understood the underlying emotions that drove the voters. The party insiders didn't want to let someone like Trump win, and they could have stopped it. However, Trump had an advantage Buchanan didn't. Trump could threaten an independent run and the powers that be knew that if they blocked Trump's nomination, he would do it, and guarantee a victory for Hilary. Trump would do it, because he didn't care about anything except Trump.

Buchanan also understood the emotions, and appealed to the lot of the same voters, but he was up against a reasonably popular sitting president of his own party. I doubt that even Trump could have pulled off that kind of win, but Buchanan certainly could not. If he had gotten close, he would have been clamped down.

Buchanan was a little bit like Eugene McCarthy in 1968. McCarthy actually won in New Hampshire, but even after unseating the sitting president, he still didn't get the nomination, and it's not because the dice didn't land his way. It's not a question of probability.
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Old 11th September 2019, 06:05 PM   #129
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Old 11th September 2019, 08:43 PM   #130
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Oh fine. Specifically on topic post.

There have been four times in my lifetime where a candidate opposed a sitting president of his own party, and was taken seriously, at least by the news media. McCarthy 1968. Reagan, 1976. Kennedy, 1980. Buchanan, 1992. The news media loves it because they have something to cover and they can sell commercials, but the political parties aren't so fond of it, because their actual nominee has gone on to lose the election in every case.

The GOP knows that they have nothing to gain by giving any of Trump's opponents a platform. It's good politics to shut down every primary they can legally shut down.

Should they do it? As a moral perspective? I can't fault politicians for optimizing their use of a system, as long as they stay within the law. I would end the primary system as we know it, but since it is the system, I can't blame them for using it to their advantage.
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Old Yesterday, 07:11 PM   #131
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Also RFK 1968.
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Old Yesterday, 07:21 PM   #132
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Also RFK 1968.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think RFK only joined the race after McCarthy beat Johnson and Johnson dropped out.

I was only five years old at the time, so this is based on subsequent reading.

I long for the days when the election didn't start until the first primaries, and you could win even if you didn't join it until some of the primaries were already over. I hate these 18 month election cycles.

ETA: I'm wrong in the details. McCarthy didn't win in New Hampshire, but he came close. RFK joined shortly after, and then Johnson dropped out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_D...tial_primaries

And, the point I was making earlier, the Democrats had a strong challenge against a sitting incumbent, and the Republicans won the election.

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Old Yesterday, 07:53 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
There have been four times in my lifetime where a candidate opposed a sitting president of his own party, and was taken seriously, at least by the news media. McCarthy 1968. Reagan, 1976. Kennedy, 1980. Buchanan, 1992. The news media loves it because they have something to cover and they can sell commercials, but the political parties aren't so fond of it, because their actual nominee has gone on to lose the election in every case.

The GOP knows that they have nothing to gain by giving any of Trump's opponents a platform. It's good politics to shut down every primary they can legally shut down.
I wonder if this is somewhat cargo-culty thinking.

There's a reason why incumbent presidents lose elections when they have had a serious primary challenger, but that is not necessarily because they have had a serious primary challenger. It seems more likely that there was a serious primary challenger because there is blood in the water.

I think most people would agree that there is no chance of Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford of Bill Weld actually winning a primary against Donald Trump, but there is a good chance that if any of them got into the double digits it simply means that Trump does not command enough of the vote among Republicans for him to win the general election.
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Old Yesterday, 09:29 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I wonder if this is somewhat cargo-culty thinking.

There's a reason why incumbent presidents lose elections when they have had a serious primary challenger, but that is not necessarily because they have had a serious primary challenger. It seems more likely that there was a serious primary challenger because there is blood in the water.

I think most people would agree that there is no chance of Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford of Bill Weld actually winning a primary against Donald Trump, but there is a good chance that if any of them got into the double digits it simply means that Trump does not command enough of the vote among Republicans for him to win the general election.
What you're describing would be basic reverse causation, not anything to do with cargo cults, as far as I can tell. [/nitpick]

I'd put money on it being both: obviously, the weaker the candidate, the more effective and serious the primary challenge will turn out to be, but also, the process of primarying a sitting president will harm the president's popularity and chances of re-election, and the party.
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