5 years ago

Famed election forecaster Nate Silver: 2014 will be boring, 2016 will be epic

YH Bill Simmons and Nate Silver(Above: Nate Silver discusses his FiveThirtyEight blog with Bill Simmons on The BS Report)

Appearing yesterday on Bill Simmons’ weekly podcast, The BS Report, stats guru and famed election forecaster Nate Silver predicted that the 2014 election cycle will be a snoozer, but 2016 might be one for the ages.

The statistical model Silver developed correctly predicted 49 out of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election. He then nailed every single state in the 2012 presidential election, making his polling analysis one of the biggest story lines of the year. But things have slowed down considerably since the culmination of the 2012 election cycle last November.

Here’s Silver’s take on the current lack of compelling political stories compared to years gone by:

…this is not a super interesting year in politics right now. You go back to Monica, and then the 2000 election, and 9/11 and 2004 was a close election and 2008 was historic, right? 2012 was another close election — a really good run of political events that, again, we look at things and assume it’s kind of the new normal when it’s really an outlier, right? Politics were pretty boring during the mid-90s and so forth when Clinton blew out Dole and [there was] not much to write about, really…

You look at where the news cycle is going and I’m kind of aware that 2016, I think, will be fascinating. But I’ll be frank, I think 2014 midterm will be dull as compared to most other recent elections. There’s not much at stake where we know that GOP’s gonna control one branch of Congress — almost for sure — and we know Obama’s in the White House through 2016, so you don’t have really control of all of D.C. at stake and that makes it less compelling.

So what does a political prognosticator do when he thinks politics is going to be boring for the next couple of years?

Sports, of course.

Silver licensed his blog, FiveThirtyEight, to The New York Times in 2010. At one point he was responsible for an incredible 27% of the Times’ web traffic. That’s no small feet considering the Times’ site is one of the most visited in the United States. The month before the 2012 election nytimes.com garnered 573 million page views.

But Silver reportedly butted heads with some of the big wigs at the Times, so he made a bold move last month and announced he would be taking his talents — and his blog — to ESPN.

He will continue producing political content (ESPN says he will forecast elections in 2014 and 2016), but he will broaden his site to include sports and other categories. “I’ll probably be writing a little less about politics now — not so much the kind of daily grind or the play-by-play,” he said.

ESPN may seem like a strange move for a political commentator, but Silver has deep roots in the sports world. He was a baseball analyst for Baseball Prospectus from 2003-2008. During that time he developed a rating system for Major League Baseball players that accurately forecasted their production.

This also isn’t ESPN’s first foray into new media experimentation. ESPN actually has a history of signing one-man digital brands. They took a chance on Bill Simmons, whose BostonSportsGuy.com website caught their attention in 2001.

Simmons has since served as executive producer for ESPN’s wildly successful 30 for 30 documentary series, written two books and produced countless podcasts, and his new website, Grantland.com, has grown into one of the premier sports and pop culture destinations on the web.

ESPN allowed Grantland to have its on freestanding URL outside of ESPN.com, its own distinct design, and they’ve given Simmons wide latitude to create a distinct brand.

It has paid off in a major way.

Simmons has become one of the defining figures of this era of media.

Conversely, Silver seems to have been frustrated by The New York Times’ rigid old-media model. He even alluded to it briefly on Simmons’ podcast yesterday. He no doubt sees the upside in taking his brand to a place where he will be given the kind of freedom ESPN has given Simmons.

After an in-depth discussion about the future of the media, Simmons pivoted back to politics and commented to Silver that 2016 looks like it could be fascinating year.

“That’ll be epic,” Silver quipped.

And he says he’ll be paying especially close attention to Republicans.

“It used to be the Democrats had all these fights… I don’t know how you bridge the gap between the libertarians and the moderates and the religious right and the Tea Party and kind of the country club Mitt Romney establishment vote… It’s going to be incredibly interesting to see that play out.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Silver’s new venture plays out as well.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims


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13 hours ago

Alabama wins private property rights case against Obama-era regulations

In a victory for private property rights this week, the federal government agreed to reconsider rules adopted during the Obama-era that unreasonably restrict the freedom of Americans to use their land.

“We are encouraged that the Trump administration has agreed to revisit these rules, which threaten property owners’ rights to use any land that the federal government could dream that an endangered species might ever inhabit,” Alabama Attorney General Marshall said in a statement.

Why this matters: Under these rules, unelected federal bureaucrats could designate a piece of private property as “critical habitat” for an endangered species even if the land doesn’t contain that particular species and, moreover, doesn’t even contain some of the features needed to support that species. Use of the land would then be severely limited. 


The details:

— The state filed a lawsuit, Alabama v. National Marine Fisheries Service, in November of 2016 challenging the rules, calling them “an unlawful federal overreach.”

— Nearly 20 other states joined the lawsuit, along with four large trade associations.

— The settlement forces federal agencies to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and retains our freedom to file another lawsuit if their new rules are as excessive as the old ones.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

13 hours ago

Jeff Sessions is right to sue California for ignoring federal immigration laws

America may be a country of immigrants, but it’s also a country of laws. No one is exempt from those laws regardless of what some local officials in sanctuary cities may think.

As you may have seen on the news recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced a lawsuit against the State of California for failure to completely cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officers.  I stand with AG Sessions’ decision.

From the mayors and local politicians disregarding federal immigration law to the illegal immigrants they are prioritizing over American citizens, it’s about time we hold these lawless individuals accountable.


The “leaders” in these cities are violating their oath of office and the Constitution.  They should be immediately removed from their positions and the illegal immigrants they are protecting should be deported. Period.

I agree with President Trump that we need to strengthen our borders.  We should build the wall and we should continue to support law enforcement’s crackdown on violent foreign gangs like MS-13.

These efforts mean nothing though if illegal immigrants and criminals can continue to seek refuge in some of our country’s largest cities.

It boils down to fairness, safety and what it means to be a sovereign nation.

A country without borders is hardly a country at all. I’m fed up with seeing the tax dollars from hard-working families across East Alabama go to cities who snub their nose at the very ideals that make America great.  Congress should withhold funding from sanctuary cities that refuse to uphold federal law.

President Trump has proven his tough stance on illegal immigration is much more than just campaign rhetoric. He has already done so much to curtail our illegal immigration crisis but he can’t do it alone.

Elected officials – from the state and local level to Members of Congress – must do their part.

And if they refuse, then they aren’t fit for public service.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is a Republican from Saks.

(Image:U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Flickr)

15 hours ago

WATCH: Cam Newton’s leadership message resonates with Boy Scouts

When Cam Newton speaks, people listen.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback had the full attention of the audience at the 11th annual American Values Luncheon.

Boy Scouts were among attendees that filled the meeting room at the North Exhibition Hall of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.


Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn joined Newton during a question and answer session. Famous for leading the Auburn Tigers to the 2010 National Championship under Malzahn’s leadership, Newton’s talk followed in the tradition of several other football greats, including Nick Saban, Shaquille O’Neal and Bo Jackson.

Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Jesse Lewis Sr. and Jimmy Rane were honored at the luncheon for their contributions to the community.

Newton shared his life experiences and lessons learned.

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)

15 hours ago

Celtic Pride! Joel Blankenship shares his Irish roots with The Ford Faction

Joel Blankenship makes his weekly return to The Ford Faction to talk the St. Patrick’s Day parade held in Birmingham and what the holiday means to him.  Joel mentions the law that can be passed to put Police K9’s in schools to help sniff out guns or drugs.  He provides feedback on what this could mean for schools and how it will benefit the need for police K9’s.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

16 hours ago

VIDEO: Alabama Rep. Roby thanks Air Force secretary for decision to bring F-35s to Montgomery

U.S. Representative Martha Roby participated in a defense appropriations subcommittee hearing this week where she expressed her appreciation to Secretary Heather Wilson for the Air Force’s decision to base F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Dannelly Field in Montgomery.

Roby also discussed other military-related programs in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, including helicopter training at Fort Rucker near Enterprise and the professional education programs at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery.

(Image: Representative Martha Roby/YouTube)