Here’s what will happen in 2018 election (POLL)

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Do you think Democrats will retake the House, the Senate, or both in the 2018 election?

Now that you’ve answered, let’s consider the limits of data science in 2018.

The best data scientists in the world agreed with nearly absolute certainty. These scientists determined, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Hillary Clinton would be the 45th President of the United States. That was in 2016.

Those scientists were wrong.

Many of those same scientists applied their advanced degrees and supercomputers to the next problem: how would a Trump presidency affect the US economy. Joined by several Nobel-winning economists, the data scientists came to one conclusion with absolute certainty: Trump will sink the US economy, and smart people should sell 100% of their stock immediately following Trump’s win.

Those scientists and economists were all wrong.

It’s easy to blame partisanship and bias for these huge errors by the best data scientists and economists in the world. And it’s likely that bias played a role in their embarrassing failures to predict the future. But bias wasn’t the only problem. Nor was it the primary error.

The primary error in data science is its confidence in data.

Now, I’m a huge proponent of data science. I work with big companies who under-invest in analyzing their own data and in studying publicly available data. Data analysis and lightweight artificial intelligence and machine learning can greatly improve business results. I’ve helped smart companies achieve amazing growth through a combination of data science and human behavioral science. It’s what I do for a living.

(Find out how I used data science to predict that Trump had a good chance of winning.)

But I also know the limits of data science. And those limits are far more humbling than many data scientists admit. The biggest limit comes from unknowns. Scientists call these “confounding variables.” While eventually knowable, in our present limits of knowledge, the effect of an unknown, confounding variable cannot be measured or accounted for. I’ll give you an example.

Say I want to test a hypothesis. My hypothesis is that trees begin to change colors as a result of temperature changes in the fall. I also want to factor out some variables I know could affect the trees: humidity, cloud cover, rainfall, and heat stress. Then I run my test over 3 years.

In the end, I discover a perfect correlation between temperature change and leaf color change.

Only later do I learn that I missed one other variable: sunlight hours. In the fall in subtropical zones, the hours of daylight decrease and the hours of darkness grow. In October, trees in my part of North America receive several hours less sunlight than they did in June.

Upon further investigation, I learn that scientists had long ago determined that hours of sunlight, not temperature, cause trees to hibernate in the winter. Their transition from active growth to dormancy causes their leaves to change color. An oak tree in coastal California where fall temperatures are often warmer than in mid-summer turns colors just as it does in St. Louis. Here’s the science, according to the United States National Arboretum:

In late summer or early autumn, the days begin to get shorter, and nights are longer. Like most plants, deciduous trees and shrubs are rather sensitive to length of the dark period each day. When nights reach a threshold value and are long enough, the cells near the juncture of the leaf and the stem divide rapidly, but they do not expand. This abscission layer is a corky layer of cells that slowly begins to block transport of materials such as carbohydrates from the leaf to the branch. It also blocks the flow of minerals from the roots into the leaves. Because the starting time of the whole process is dependent on night length, fall colors appear at about the same time each year in a given location, whether temperatures are cooler or warmer than normal.

It took science a long time to figure that out. While a pretty simple problem that’s easily tested in both the laboratory and in the wild, trees are subject to many variables: wind, moisture, cloud cover, heat stress, terrain, parasites, deer, beavers, etc. But people have been studying trees for many, many years. And trees are less complex than the human brain.

Now, let’s go back to the problem of modern data science. Data scientists are mostly concerned with how people will behave at some point in the future. These scientists don’t care why leaves change colors in the fall. They care about how people (consumers) will respond to the leaves changing.

People are more complicated than trees, at least when it comes to their behavior. The factors that influence human behavior have also been studied for centuries. But our understanding of the factors that influence our behaviors is limited. And even the variables we know about are so varied and numerous that predicting how one variable affects all the others is as much art as science. (For example, shoppers who receive a free sample of luxury chocolate candy at a kiosk in a mall are more likely to make a purchase from a luxury retailer in the mall than the same shoppers in a mall that doesn’t give away free luxury candy.)

Which brings us back to the 2018 election.

It’s very possible that Democrats will take over the House and the Senate. It’s also possible that Republicans could increase their majorities in both houses. It’s also possible that something in between will happen. I don’t know. Neither do you. And neither do the greatest data scientists alive.

That’s the point. When you hear predictions, don’t be fooled by the math and science used to bolster those predictions. The scientists who did the work, usually in good faith, don’t know the variable they don’t know. Nor do they know the likelihood of a new variable creeping into the equation. Nor can they factor the influence of those infinite unknown variables. Take all predictions about elections with a grain of salt, and be especially circumspect if the prediction comes with a lot of easy-to-understand charts and graphs. And, if you have a strong belief in science, you are actually more susceptible to believing in charts and graphs.

In a study published in 2014, researchers showed how influential charts and graphs can be. From their abstract:

The appearance of being scientific can increase persuasiveness. Even trivial cues can create such an appearance of a scientific basis. In our studies, including simple elements, such as graphs (Studies 1–2) or a chemical formula (Study 3), increased belief in a medication’s efficacy. This appears to be due to the association of such elements with science, rather than increased comprehensibility, use of visuals, or recall.

And people who believe in science are most gullible:

Belief in science moderates the persuasive effect of graphs, such that people who have a greater belief in science are more affected by the presence of graphs (Study 2). Overall, the studies contribute to past research by demonstrating that even trivial elements can increase public persuasion despite their not truly indicating scientific expertise or objective support.

When you see scientific-looking studies predicting with 98% confidence how the 2018 election will turn out, remember this study and this blog. In fact, check out this chart which shows you are more likely than others to share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook. You’re also slightly more likely than others to remember this blog post when the actual results of the election are announced in November.

2018 will change American culture at its core

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If you’re wondering how things will change in 2018, you might think back the mid-1980s.

In the 1980s, leftist professors, leftist news media, and leftist entertainers were angry. For years, they’d preached that Ronald Reagan was a neo-Nazi buffoon whose incompetence and malice would destroy America. Maybe even wipe out the human species. “I believe Ronald Reagan can turn America back into what it once was,” said comedian Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live in 1980, “a vast wasteland covered with ice.”

By 1986, though, the left’s dire predictions were ruined. Unemployment was low. Gasoline was under $1 a gallon in many places. The Iron Curtain showed signs of cracking. Stocks were soaring. Ronald Reagan was re-elected in one of the largest landslides ever. It was Morning in America.

So what did the left do? Did they grudgingly admit their errors? Did the credit Ronald Reagan for America’s miraculous turnaround?

Of course not. These are leftists we’re talking about. Admitting error takes character, a quality prohibited on the left.

Instead, the left found alternative heroes. The left created a narrative to explain America’s resurgence in which Reagan became the beneficiary of other people’s efforts.

Those other people: American workers.

In the left’s view, the American worker recognized Reagan’s wicked ineptness and took the country on its shoulders. Blue collar heroes sacrificed and scratched to remake America in spite of Reagan’s terrible, awful policies and blundering, dangerous style. Ted Turner made friends with the Soviet Union, conducting his own foreign policy to save the world.

This narrative preserved the left’s biases while explaining Morning in America. The left was wrong, but they didn’t mind. Their hallucinations, their self-images, were intact.

Look ahead to 2018, now. The US economy is poised to explode never before since Reagan. There’s a possibility of 7%+ GDP growth in at least one quarter of 2018. The Dow Jones Industrial Average could double by years end, approaching 50,000.

Will Democrats and the media credit Trump?

If you answered “yes” or hesitated in answering “no,” you don’t understand the leftist mind. The left will never admit Trump made America great again.

Instead, they’ll create an alternative explanation for surging American greatness. That explanation will be the same one they used in 1986: the American worker.

Here’s how 2018 will play out:

  1. President Trump will work with Democrats to hammer out an enormous infrastructure bill. Democrats will go along because they need votes in November. They’ll see the infrastructure bill as a way of driving a wedge between the president and the House Freedom Caucus while giving Democrat incumbents a bragging point in their districts.
  2. The tax reform bill will fuel a late-spring, early-summer rally like you’ve never seen before. Employers will complain about a huge, historic shortage of quality labor and about the rapidly rising wage problem. (Yes, wage growth will officially become a problem in May 2018, when Krugman declares “wages are out of control.”)
  3. The Justice Department will begin anti-trust investigations of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft as both conservatives and leftists attack Silicon Valley’s unchecked power and abuses.
  4. By late summer and early fall, economists will project 2018’s economy to one of the best on record.
  5. By early fall, the infrastructure bill passed early in 2018 will see a slew of new construction across the country. People will take note of all the cranes on America’s skyline. They’ll complain about highway construction as commutes and road trips grow longer.
  6. Just before the 2018 elections, the left will need a new narrative to explain American greatness. That new narrative: America’s workers.

What will this narrative look like?

Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen’s working-class music will return with a vengeance. But a new blue-collar music star will emerge. Movies and television shows worshipping blue collar workers will premiere. (Trump fan Rosanne returns in the fall.)

Economists will explain how labor turned America around despite Trump’s malicious ineptness. Specifically, how American consumers decided to stop paying down debt and start living a little after recovering from the post-financial crisis trauma. These economists will carefully explain that Trump’s policies of lower taxes, less regulation, and strong foreign policy, actually hindered economic growth.

Feminists will tell us that successful women can best express their feminity by choosing a blue-collar mate. (Seriously, this will happen.) Meanwhile, anti-Trump and NeverTrump pundits will warn that both America’s economic resurgence and its growing popular support for President Trump (above 50% by the end of summer) are “a mile wide and an inch deep.”

Of course, many things could derail all this. There’s North Korea and Iran. There’s Russia. There’s China. There’s Bob Mueller. But those are all low-probability risks. And even if one of those risks materializes, we can’t be sure whether it will help or hurt the scenario I’ve just laid out.

In the end, 2018 will be seen by most American voters as the year things turned around in America. Just like 1984. The change will be broad and deep, affecting education, entertainment, news, fashion, marriage rates (rising), birth rates (rising), and attitudes.

How much credit belongs to Trump will never be settled. But the truth will lie somewhere between the narratives offered by Trump’s strongest critics and his strongest supporters.

We are entering the second half of the Fourth Turning. Trump was as much a result of the cycles of history as a catalyst. But without his style and substance, the enormous social change sweeping America could not have happened.

Tomorrow, we’ll look deeper into that Fourth Turning prophecy. For now, think about how your life will change with growing wages, a retreat from technomania, and a revitalization of both American manufacturing and blue collar workers. You might like what you see.

UPDATE: Kid Rock Winning MI Senate Race

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If the election were held today, Senator Kid Rock would be a thing.

Via The Gateway Pundit:

News broke this weekend that Kid Rock is LEADING challenger, Dem Debbie Stabenow in a new poll 30% to 26%!

Everyone who wrote this off as a joke, then as a publicity stunt, then as impossible, then as improbable will be forced to say “Senator Rock” soon. Very soon.

Try this:

Finally, via The Gateway Pundit:

“He’s well-liked in Michigan. He’s a hometown darling. He’s got deep connections to Detroit. He’s done a lot throughout the state.”

“Anybody who’s writing him off is making a mistake,”former chairman of the Michigan GOP, Saul Anuzis, told POLITICO.


Senator Rock: Who’s the Joke? (offensive) VIDEO

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My serious Republican friends (think of people like Chris Wallace and Charles Krauthammer) worry.

They worry about this trend toward “unserious” politicians getting elected.

They worry about “what it says about voters” who elect Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and (very soon) Kid Rock.

These serious Republicans long for the days of serious men and serious matters. Of gray flannel suits beneath salt-and-pepper hair belonging to Yale grads and Harvard Law professors who can, on occasion, in the right circumstances, with just the right audience, shock the world with an (are you ready for this?) off-color joke!

The joke’s the thing.

The joke.

These serious Republicans decry the “joke” candidates. The joke president. The joke governor of Alaska.

But the joke’s on them.

And it ain’t very funny.

If you went to Yale like your great grandfather and you have a place in the Hamptons and your help drives a hybrid, Kid Rock looks like a novelty.

But if you drive a truck or operate a forklift in a steel plant, Kid Rock is real and Paul Ryan’s the (lame) joke.

To the 90% who make America run, who fight our wars and splurge by taking the family to Applebee’s, Kid Rock is real. Mitch McConnell’s the (lame) joke.

Once upon a time, those serious Yale alums with gray hair and gray suits got the job done. They stood up to the Soviet Union. They attended VFW meetings. They took their duty more seriously than they took themselves.

But that Ivy League gentry-entrenched establishment class of the Cold War era gave birth to a pussy generation of narcissists who take nothing seriously but their own selfies. And they take those selfies damn serious.

Chris Wallace thinks Kid Rock’s a novelty candidate. But tens of millions of us laugh at Chris Wallace. When he’s trying to be serious.

These divergent views of American politics won’t be reconciled. One will beat the other into submission. It’ll take a generation or two before the losers are bred out of the culture. But they the losers will be bred out. Like Neanderthals.

I’m betting on the Kid Rock side to win. The joke is the GOP leadership who were handed a mandate and used it for toilet paper. They can be bred out of existence in a generation.