“If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, take their money and then vote against them you’ve got no business being up here.”

By Whskyjack, a Trail Mix Contributor

It is a fact that every politician understands. It is also the test for every newbie. And they don’t come any more newbie than Donald Trump. His test?   The favors he received from the Russians. Is he bought? or is he independent? It is critical as to how he responds. So far like any newbie he is clueless.

The title quote is from California politician Big Daddy Unruh

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Something that made me go “Hmmmmmm, I wonder”

By Whskyjack, a Trail Mix Contributor

I clipped a few paragraphs from an article  by Lawrence Lessig, it is a long piece but well worth the read and just maybe if …………

Lester Lawrence “Larry” Lessig III is an American academic, attorney, and political activist. He is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the former director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Wikipedia

The Equal Protection argument against “winner take all” in the Electoral College

Most people, even Dems, can’t seem to allow themselves to even think about a constitutional challenge to the Electoral College — because they’re convinced our current Electoral College system is embedded in the Constitution. So when someone says, “what about one person, one vote,” they respond, “it’s the Constitution that creates this inequality—just as with the Senate—and the Court is not going to overrule the Constitution.”

Yet that response misses a critical point.

Yes, the Constitution creates an inequality because of the way it allocates electoral college votes. A state like Wyoming, for example, gets 3 electoral votes with a population of less than 600,000, while California gets 55 electoral votes with a population of more than 37 million. Thus, while California has a population that is 66x Wyoming, but only gets 18x the electoral college votes.

But the real inequality of the electoral college is created by the “winner take all” (WTA) rule for allocating electoral votes. WTA says that the person who wins the popular votes gets all the electoral college votes for that state. Every state (except Maine and Nebraska) allocates its electors based on WTA. But that system for allocating electoral votes is not mandated by the Constitution. It is created by the states. And so that raises what should be an obvious and much more fiercely contested question—why isn’t WTA being challenged by the Democrats in this election?

Also

The 2000 election was the first time in US history that the candidate losing the popular vote won a majority of the Electoral College outright. Now that has happened again in 2016. The major contributing factors to this outcome are the winner-take-all system of allocating Electors coupled with the growing concentration of the US population in a handful of States. These factors create a substantial risk that a candidate that loses the popular vote would win the Electoral College outright even if the small state advantage did not exist. This election is a clear example of that risk. To be clear, Trump did not win the Electoral College because of a constitutional design, he won because of the winner-take-all system of allocating Electors and that critical legal factor is strictly a function of State law…………..

In summary, a winner-take-all system of allocating Electors by the states denies the minority of voters within each state any representation whatsoever within the Electoral College and ultimately in the case of the 2000 and 2016 elections, denies the plurality of voters nationwide their choice for President under circumstances in which the constitutionally established small state advantage made part of the Electoral College wouldnot. This is neither a reasonable nor a rational result in a representative democracy. This result was dictated by the winner-take-all method of allocating Electors used by the states. It is this state law method of allocating Electors that is an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and its bedrock principle of one man one vote.

To read it all

A World of Data Analytics

Slate breaks the traditional information embargo on election coverage with estimated results throughout the day.

By WhyskyJack, a Trail Mix Contributor

dataoverloadIt is why the Cubbies are no longer the lovable losers and why my Royals won last year.

It is at the heart of the Clinton campaign decision making.

And in a controversial move Slate is going to use it to give us real time estimates on who is winning throughout the day.

From Slate:

Here’s a longer description of how this whole thing works. The project can be broken down into two phases: what happens before Tuesday, and what happens on the day itself. In the lead-up to Election Day, VoteCastr conducted large-sample surveys in eight battleground states. Unlike a typical media poll that might ask hundreds of respondents dozens of questions, these surveys presented thousands of people with just a handful of queries each. The results were then run through predictive models to determine the probabilities of each voter in each of the eight states casting a ballot for Clinton, Trump, Gary Johnson, or Jill Stein. (VoteCastr did not include Evan McMullin in its models. The independent candidate is only on the ballot in two states we are tracking, Colorado and Iowa.)

The other piece of the pre–Election Day puzzle is early voting, which now accounts for an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the general election vote. Local officials collect and report information about who voted early in each state in advance of the election, and VoteCastr then compares that public info with its own private voter files. To understand how this works in practice, consider my early ballot, which I cast in Iowa City last week. Though VoteCastr doesn’t know who I voted for, it can make an educated guess based on the things it does know about me: my age, race, and party registration. Our friends at VoteCastr tell me the model believes there’s a 97 percent chance I voted for Clinton. When my name shows up on the list of people who voted early in the Hawkeye State, VoteCastr will use that number to fill in the blank. These voter preference estimates allow VoteCastr to make more specific forecasts about the early voting split than most other modelers, which simply sort returned ballots by party registration.

Slate is taking a lot of criticism for doing this while the polls are still open, but if they go ahead with it and it works (a risk in itself) then the flood gates are open.

Is it good? Is it bad?

Eh, I don’t know but I really don’t see how anyone can stop it.

Slate’s Votecastr page:
slate.com/votecastr

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VoteCastr Estimates (4:40pm ET)

election-graphic-1

Never attribute to evil when stupidity will suffice

By WhskyJack, a Trail Mix Contributor

At last somebody is looking at the whole of the Clinton email scandal. While it isn’t pretty it looks way more realistic than all the accusations and rumors. (Politico: What the FBI Files Reveal About Hillary Clinton’s Email Server)

You have a tech shy SOS working with the antiquated tech of the State Department where workarounds have long been the rule. It occurred to me that for the State Department, communication is as essential as weapons are to the military. One would think they would keep their communication devices up to date.  Yet the State Department’s communication systems seem to be the equivalent of the military moving a patriot missile battery around with a team of mules.

This is a good read:

The interviews—taken together and reconstructed for this article into the first-ever comprehensive narrative of how her email server scandal unfolded—draw a picture of the controversy quite different from what either side has made it out to be. Together, the documents, technically known as Form 302s, depict less a sinister and carefully calculated effort to avoid transparency than a busy and uninterested executive who shows little comfort with even the basics of technology, working with a small, harried inner circle of aides inside a bureaucracy where the IT and classification systems haven’t caught up with how business is conducted in the digital age. Reading the FBI’s interviews, Clinton’s team hardly seems organized enough to mount any sort of sinister cover-up. There’s scant oversight of the way Clinton communicated, and little thought given to how her files might be preserved for posterity—MacBook laptops with outdated archives are FedExed across the country, cutting-edge iPads are discarded quickly and BlackBerry devices are rejected for being “too heavy” as staff scrambled to cater to Clinton’s whims.

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So it goes

vonnegut

By WhskyJack, a Trail Mix Contributor

Thinking about recent comments started me on a search for a Vonnegut quote. Why? This is his year.  We are living in a Vonnegut novel. Crazy , funny and dark.

OK, time for a trip to the basement where my books sit row by row.  Which one, which one………

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”  From Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut

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