Princeton Election Consortium

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Politics & Polls #29

February 3rd, 2017, 7:34am by Sam Wang


Are we seeing the birth cries of an authoritarian regime? Or is it the gang that couldn’t shoot straight? Julian Zelizer and I debate this and more in episode #29 of Politics & Polls.

Following up on a previous episode with Theda Skocpol on rebuilding the Democratic Party, here’s a great interview with Skocpol in Democracy Journal about learning from the Tea Party movement.

Tags: 2018 Election · House · President

8 Comments so far ↓

  • Ross Mitchell

    In reponse to Julian’s CNN opinion piece, why is it that no one forcefully acknowledges what is painfully true: Donald Trump is not of healthy mind. He is a pathological liar and an extreme narcissist. These illnesses alone will prevent him from “recovering.” When you write opinions like this you only further normalize his sick behaviour.

  • 538 Refugee

    I’ve been using the term “pathological liar” since before the election.

    There was also a reference to science. The cheating that goes on to get published/funded/etc undermines the good research. It doesn’t take much for someone to point out the faked stuff to cast doubt on science in general.

    I almost submitted a link during the campaign season which stated neuroscience is one of the highest offending fields. Couldn’t find the right context to insert it in but I wondered if you saw much of it from where you sit. Do you read some stuff and just say to yourself, “This can’t be right”?

    • Sam Wang

      Hmmm. I see science as having self-correcting mechanisms when integrated across multiple papers. See this article on the “replication crisis”; intentional fraud could be rare, but there is also the problem that any single result does not hold up over time. Within their own domains, psychology and clinical medicine are working on solutions.

      Regarding neuroscience, I think you mean cognitive neuroscience. They are not as bad as you imply, but I do think their interpretations can sometimes get beyond their actual experimental observations.

    • 538 Refugee

      I can’t find the article I was originally referring to but this older one has a lot of the same stuff. Including a sensational headline. I specifically remember two fields singled out in the one I read. (It could have been someone needing copy found this and updated it.)

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704310/

      True or not, these types of articles give Trump and company plenty of ammunition to sow the seeds of doubt about a great many things. Climate change. Vaccines. No smoking in public places. The media needs to step in and stop sensationalizing findings and stress that results need to be verified before we get too excited about them.

      But some things are subtle. I could have given this same link to the article. Does the .gov make it more credible than the click bait link? ;)

      http://www.dana.org/Cerebrum/2013/Sound_the_Alarm__Fraud_in_Neuroscience/

    • Emigre

      Casting doubt on science is not different from casting government as the root of all problems, to succeed both need catchy and easily understood headlines. In politics, as we have learned recently, these headlines can be created conveniently by fake news. In science it requires more effort than just sloppy research because of the self-correcting mechanisms that Sam referred to. Probably the most damage was not inflicted by “pathological liars” rather through Funding Bias, that is, the publication of studies designed to support the interests of the study’s financial sponsor, : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funding_bias

      Politicians have always found the scientific enterprise an easy target for their own benefits. I remember how in the 70s and 80s we were very careful not to be “proxmired”, that is, avoid any language in grant applications or publications that Senator Proxmire could exploit for his Golden Fleece Award. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Fleece_Award

      Current dangers are more self-inflicted, often caused by eye-popping, headline-creating declarations up front: “.. the cumulative (total) prevalence of irreproducible preclinical research exceeds 50%, resulting in approximately US$28,000,000,000 (US$28B)/year spent on preclinical research that is not reproducible-in the United States alone. “ Of course, the limitations and caveats are buried inside.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26057340
      $28B wasted and one third of it from public funds! Proxmire would have had a field day!

  • Emigre

    Concerning polls. Any plans to add Trump’s job approval rating curve on the left side?
    http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/trump-job-approval

  • ArcticStones

    Incompetence or intent?

    Regardless, this is how bad it has gotten: Former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik (who is an ordained Lutheran priest) was detained at Dulles Airport.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/03/former-norway-pm-bondevik-held-washington-dulles-airport-2014-visit-iran

    Why? Because in 2014 he visited Iran. He was detained despite his passport clearly stating that he is a former prime minister.

    “I was surprised… What will the reputation of the US be if this happens not only to me, but also to other international leaders?”

    This is not normal.

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