If every vote counts…do you want them to?

For the sake of argument, let’s suppose that every vote counts (that is: every vote makes an impact such that Government or Civics or the outcome of an election or Whatever would be impacted (presumably negatively) if there was one fewer vote).

Then, consider this question: do you really want every vote to count?

Do you want the vote of someone who disagrees with you to count?

Do you want the vote of an uneducated (whatever you think that means) person to count?

Do you want the vote of somebody less educated than you to count?

Do you want the vote of somebody who is drunk or high or not in their right mind (whatever you want that to mean) to count?

Do you want the vote of somebody who has incorrectly voted to count? What I mean by this is: suppose that somebody is voting for a candidate or proposition or whatever and they believe that by voting X, then outcome A will occur. Really, though, by voting X, outcome B will occur. If they want outcome A, then they actually need to vote Y. But they do in fact vote X. They have deliberately, and in their right mind, voted for the opposite outcome they desired (or, at least, a different outcome than desired). They have, I would say, voted incorrectly. (For the sake of argument, suppose that in this particular case, it is definitive that voting X leads to outcome B and voting Y leads to outcome A.) Do you want that vote to count? (Do they want that vote to count?)

Now, move beyond what you want. Answer this: should every vote count? Is counting every vote and using the result of the outcome a good way to elect officials, establish laws, govern?

-JD Cross


Two Forecasts, One Question

Here are two forecasts, both from 538 (as of 6:30am Pacific, 2016-10-19).

First, we see that Hillary is forecasted to win the election. Also, we see the history of this forecast (more on the history of this forecast below…it’s actually the point of this post).

Second, we see the forecast for the World Series. Note – and you’ll have to take my word on this (or comb through Google’s cached web pages) – that the Cubs, yesterday, were forecasted to have a 38% chance of winning the series, tied with Cleveland which also had a 38% chance of winning.





So, here’s the question: Are forecasts useful for anything?

Here are three more questions that help to explain the above question:

If we consider a forecast to be static (not changing in time), and the forecast has “error bars” (that is, is, say, 95% accurate) what does that mean? and is it useful?

If a forecast changes in time, is it useful?

(What the word “useful” means is important in answering the questions. The answer to the questions will change dramatically depending on what specific utility is sought. I ask the questions from this perspective: by useful, I mean to say that an individual would make an exceptionally important (life changing perhaps) decision based upon the forecast. For example, a middle-class individual might take out a second mortgage on their home to place a $250,000 bet on the outcome of the World Series.)

-JD Cross


One Vote

Does one vote matter?

If you answered “yes” to the above, then please answer the next question, too.

Is a vote for a 3rd party candidate like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein a wasted vote?

If you answered “yes” to the above, please explain. (Note: if your explanation does not address the paradox of voting and involve something like fivethirtyeight’s voter power index, then your explanation is probably not complete or believable or correct.)

-JD Cross


Uber Markets

Free markets work. In just 2 years, the price of a NYC taxi medallion (license) has dropped by a million dollars.

You might think this is remarkable, newsworthy. To a certain extent it is. It shouldn’t be, though. We’ve known for centuries that markets work and the more free markets are, the better they work.

Healthcare, anybody?

-JD Cross


The four year cycle

Four years ago, people didn’t think it could get much worse. Four years before that, the options were pretty bad. Four years before that, it was all doom and gloom. And four years before that, the Supreme Court decided…between two bad candidates. And before that? Clinton versus Dole. Boy, those sure were the good ol’ days. We had 2 bad candidates…

What do you think 2020 will be like? And 2024?

The system is unidirectional, monotonic, one-way.

New candidates – candidates in the system, candidates of the system, candidates made by the system – won’t help. We need a new system.

-JD Cross


Make voting suck less

Howard Dean (here, in case you forgot) got front page treatment with his op-ed on ranked choice voting.

This is good. Ranked-choice voting isn’t the answer, in my opinion, to the horrible system of choosing the people who write the rules that govern our lives. But, it’s better than what we currently have, and importantly, it’s at least something worth discussing.

The system we currently have will result in either Donald or Hillary becoming President. We say the system is broken, but it’s not. It’s just doing what it does – putting the person who wins the majority of votes (popular, electoral college, whatever, irrelevant) into the White House. The system is just doing what it does. It cannot doing anything otherwise.

What people mean when they say the system is broken is that they don’t like they system. They want a new system. Yes, we need a new system. So let’s talk about alternatives.

-JD Cross


Predicting the future, analyzing the past

A really great video with commentary on former pro baseball player Bobby Bonilla. If you’re starting to get bored, hold on. At 8:30 comes a series of really great insights that will make you think about the story differently.

It’s about contracts, negotiations, gambling, Bernie Madoff, a whole lot of things.

You can’t predict the future. And, as the guy in the video says, analyzing a decision that was made 17 years ago is…probably not going to get you to the right answer.

-JD Cross


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