Predicting the 2016 Election

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Huffington Post article

Recently I found the above article on the Huffington Post predicting what the electoral college will look like in November. The writer predicts that Hillary Clinton will win the election and goes through several different scenarios explaining her path to the White House. I wanted to post this article for two reasons. First there are so many predictions going around that I thought it would be fun to bookmark one so that I could look back after the election to check it’s accuracy. As a Hillary supporter I want to see her succeed but I assumed the election would be very close until I read this article. The author makes a convincing case for Hillary having a runaway victory. I won’t rehash the whole article but  he present some interesting facts such as: 19 states and the District of Columbia have voted Democratic in the last 6 elections. By contrast only 13 states have voted Republican in the last 6 elections. His point is that Republicans have an uphill climb from the get go. I liked the article and it made me very optimistic for the future.

My second reason for pointing out this article is to make a larger point about being a discerning reader. As a Hillary supporter I read through this entire article and was really buying into everything he was saying. I was excited to see real statistical information from an expert on the subject who could predict the outcome with this certainty. However when I looked to see who wrote the article I saw the name Richard North Patterson: Novelist and contributing opinion writer. Novelist? Opinion writer? I was expecting to see a title of Political Scientist or Political Expert or something else that gave him the expertise I assumed he had. I realized that I willingly accepted his opinions as facts because they were all the opinions I agreed with.  The fact that he’s an opinion writer doesn’t necessarily make his article incorrect but it does create the need for some closer scrutiny. This article is full of mostly opinions and assumptions. It’s easy for many of us to look at a Fox News story and pick apart it’s mistakes because we are already looking at it with a skeptical eye. It’s a lot harder to be a skeptic and see through the bullshit when they’re telling you things that you want to hear. We can make fun of the Fox News audience but don’t be fooled into thinking that we’re any better. Democrats are just as susceptible to bullshit as they are. It’s a good rule of thumb to consider the source of the news you read. Even if it’s just a headline on Facebook, does it come from a well know source like Reuters or some no name site like DefendingLiberalJustice.com. Be a discerning reader.

 

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