Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Feeling the math: "BE VERY AFRAID!!! Or maybe we actually shouldn’t be very afraid."

Paul Krugman comments on political reporting, the numbers, and Clinton's leads. Yes, plural. She leads against Sanders and against Trump.

... Here’s what you should know, but may not be hearing clearly in the political reporting: Mrs. Clinton is clearly ahead, both in general election polls and in Electoral College projections based on state polls.

It’s true that her lead isn’t as big as it was before Mr. Trump clinched the G.O.P. nomination, largely because Republicans have consolidated around their presumptive nominee, while many Sanders supporters are still balking at saying that they’ll vote for her.

But that probably won’t last; many Clinton supporters said similar things about Barack Obama in 2008, but eventually rallied around the nominee. So unless Bernie Sanders refuses to concede and insinuates that the nomination was somehow stolen by the candidate who won more votes, Mrs. Clinton is a clear favorite to win the White House.

Now, obviously things can and will change over the course of the general election campaign. Every one of the presidential elections I’ve covered at The Times felt at some point like a nail-biter. But the current state of the race should not be a source of dispute or confusion. Barring the equivalent of a meteor strike, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee; despite the reluctance of Sanders supporters to concede that reality, she’s currently ahead of Donald Trump. That’s what the math says, and anyone who says it doesn’t is misleading you.

Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) argues that Clinton's lead is likely bigger than the current numbers suggest. The reason? Current numbers do not take into account what Sanders' supporters are likely to do.

So how can Clinton lose? (That is, how can progressives lose?) Sanders would have to execute the "meteor strike" and do what is most fearsome about Trump: blow the place up. That would change the math from (Clinton + Sanders) > Trump to (Sanders + Trump) > Clinton. You don't have to think long about that one. I just don't think it will happen.

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