“Is this just math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?” – Megyn Kelly to Karl Rove, as he insisted that Obama would not win the Presidency on Election Night.
Believe me, this one is worth a watch.
Setting aside the perfect hilarity of this moment, let’s look at the question and what it means for broadcasted political ‘science’.
In this instance, Karl Rove (backed by many other conservative pundits) completely incorrectly predicted the election – and continued to do so after it was obvious that Obama had won. There’s no way around this fundamental problem. This election cycle, it seemed as if left-wing statisticians, pundits, and political scientists were given a wholly different set of numbers to work with than their right-wing counterparts. Unfortunately, this isn’t the explanation for the widespread, right-fueled predictions of a landslide Romney victory.
How do we marry these blatantly incorrect predictions with the idea of journalistic integrity? What does this mean for left-wing statisticians, pundits, and political scientists? Should they begin making highly improbable predictions – based on math they do to make themselves feel better?
What will happen to Karl Rove after this embarrassing (maybe, not in his mind) error and subsequent televised meltdown? Though he might encounter some chiding from – well – the political broadcast journalism community as a whole, will this be the end of his career?
Let me make my own prediction here, that certainly does NOT make me feel better: Karl Rove, and all of his cohorts who insisted upon a Romney victory past the point of any hope, will NOT face any negative consequences for his mistakes during this election, or any election in the future. As long as people are still stupid enough to believe him, he’ll keep on spewing the math he does as a Republican to make himself feel better.
-Emily Rose Pelz