> From: Nathan Newman[SMTP:nathan.newman at yale.edu]
> Reply To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2000 9:28 AM
> To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> Subject: Laying Bets: W Will Win
> Doug and Max a week ago predicted that Gore will win the election. I wish
> they were right, but unfortunately, I think they are wrong. I was buying
> the economic fundamentals line - ie. incumbent parties win when the
> economy is doing so well - but the reality is that enough folks have come
> to believe in the "new economy" rhetoric of endless prosperity that they
> don't worry about it being endangered by the "wrong" candidate. Clinton
> fatigue is very real and Bush has positioned himself as the candidate to
> pursue Clinton's policies while being a different person - and with a nice
> sounding conservative spin. Change, but not really change.
> And Gore has remained the same lousy speaker and uncharismatic guy a lot
> of folks worried about. Given the fact that the media and a lot of other
> folks - including Nader and folks on this list - have kept saying there
> aren't important enough differences between the candidates, voters will
> choose the candidate they like over the one they don't if the issue
> differences don't grab them.
> Probably most important, the GOP folks want to win, from the moderates to
> the rightwing nuts, while a lot of traditional Dem voters aren't as
> convinced the election will matter. So GOP turnout and activism will
> probably be more successful or at least successful enough. Gore and
> Clinton are to blame for stupid trade policies that alienated the base but
> that lack of activism will be the reality that will probably put W in
> office in the fall.
> So we'll have a chance to see if the Left does better with a GOP President
> in office so we can concentrate our opposition. Hope it works as well as
> folks predict.
> Any counter bets/predictions?
I have one. As election day draws nearer, I foresee a sharp increase in frantic, unprincipled party hackery and spinmaking by surrogates and coat-holders for each of our two political parties. I also predict that Al Gore will will the election. Nathan, would you like to bet?
Since the above post contains some kind of subliminal message against voting for Nader, I'd like to highlight a point made by Dean Baker in a letter in this week's Nation. Dean reasons that Nader's chances of hurting Gore in any serious way are slim.
The argument goes like this: Let's say Nader gets 10 percent of the popular vote. That's wildly optimistic. It's reasonable to assume that about 30% of Nader voters wouldn't have otherwise voted for Gore *or* Bush -- they would have stayed home or voted for another third party.
So Nader actually takes 7 percentage points away from the two parties. Most polls, Dean says, show Nader taking 2 votes from Gore from every 1 vote from Bush. So out of 7 percentage points, Nader takes 4.6% from Gore and 2.3% from Bush.
That gives Bush only a 2.3% advantage -- a margin that would not have come close to affecting the outcome of any of the last 5 presidential races and would have changed the outcome of only 3 of the last 20 presidential races.
Nathan, what do you say? Would you put your money where your mouth is? Or maybe a case of Elephant Lager?