There was plenty to get wrong in the 2016 election, and experts missed few opportunities to do so. Scale thumbing ranks high on the list of excuses.
It is actually hard to think of an election that beat this one for aggregate wrong-ness.
Obviously, predictions of the outcome were spectacularly off the mark but there were other less visible examples.
One that comes to mind is the idea that people hated the process and just wanted it to be over. We are five weeks past the election but the battling continues.
Jill Stein discovered there was a profit to be made in recounts. She could raise more money from distraught donors than the states would charge her to recount the votes. The profit went into her party’s coffers.
After-the-fact rule changing continued with the we-won-the-popular-vote-ists facing off against the we-won-the-most-geography-ists. Easiest way to assess those claims is to reverse the actual outcome and see what the two sides say then.
Taking the battle to the Electoral College has enjoyed a brief run but the final decision of that near-anonymous body on Monday December 19 should deliver a garlic spike to that plan.
Even the spectator sports industry has discovered that there is a market for ending their interminable seasons and giving it a rest. Why should politics be different? It is not even a very good game.
Have we all been wrong about people hating the political process? The political professionals and the media they depend upon for attention are behaving like the fans still love it.
Then there is the email hacking thing.
Did Vladimir Putin, former KGB thug, thumb the scales for Donald Trump? Many certainly believe that he did though the prove-it people are hanging in there.
Since the accuracy of the embarrassing emails is not in dispute and since the embarrassing emails have clearly been revealed, it is not completely illogical to say that somebody thumbed the scales (or tried to) by putting the emails out there.
Let’s blame Putin with the understanding that it could have been somebody else whose image might not have been quite as nasty. “Putin hacks DNC” is a better story than “Bambi hacks DNC” because Bambi has a better PR firm than Putin does. Either way, “DNC Emails Hacked” is accurate.
I am not sure why either Putin or Bambi would want Donald Trump to win but I understand why Putin would want Hillary Clinton to lose. He thinks she did the same thing to him. As they say on the TV cop shows, that’s motive. Bambi was unavailable for comment.
Now, here are two unasked – and thus, unanswered – questions about scale thumbing.
Why are the Russians (or Bambi) so good at winning our elections and the Democrats and Republicans so bad at it?
Winning elections by nefarious means is supposed to be a big skill of ours. It is an American export. Our political consultants hawk their wares in other countries.
Have we been supplanted? Are nefarious election-winning techniques just another American industry that has been outsourced?
Political operatives had better get on top of this one or their kids will be needing the free college thing.
The second question is what can be done about email hacking? That one has sort of been asked but the most obvious answers have been ignored.
Most have focused on cyber security and elaborate techy-ness. Really? When vast numbers of people can’t manage the “reply all” thing.
Hacking emails depends on one key factor: revealing embarrassing stuff.
Telling people not to put embarrassing stuff in writing does not work. The whole point of the private server was to keep embarrassing emails sent by self-serving techno-dopes out of the public domain.
That sort of leaves us with one choice.
Has anyone considered not doing embarrassing stuff?
Even small children learn that if you can’t get away with something, there is always the choice of not doing it at all.