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November 05, 2014


John Phamlore


There is a lesson to be learned here and a deep insight into why things are happening. What has happened in tech press and tech blogs is a completely false analogy that just because software can be reduced to bits and infinitely copied and just because devices such as phones can be mass produced in a few places and shipped all over the world, so can software project excellence be easily duplicated.

The problem of effectively managing large groups of people has not been solved, and it is hardly a science or engineering discipline yet. The trend I think you have totally been ignoring that is fueling hopes for mobile to be the great solution to everything is the collapse of hope that face-to-face contact between bureaucrats and those seeking their services can be in any way rationalized or freed from corruption, especially if there is any divergence in culture or social position between participants.

Mobile is the next great hope for being an intermediary that can break the cycle of corruption and ineffectiveness. But the paradox is that any excellent solutions must be locally developed and require skills and connections usually associated with the already wealthiest and best functioning areas of the world.


First off, it is very refreshing to see such honesty from anyone. You made a bold, falsifiable claim, for reasons that I would postulate were ideological, not critical, and were wrong. So you apologized for calling it wrong and want to investigate further on everyone's behalf. That's not a problem, that's to be lauded. That is exactly how everyone can arrive at a closer relationship with the truth.

Ignorant as I am, I want to offer my perspective. You should try to do a grey-wash of both sides of US politics to help understand how problematic even simple decisions have become over here. This whitewash/blackwash of the issues based on the letter they run under has made it clear you have only heard the rhetoric from one source, and have not verified the claims independently. There are warhawks in the D camp, there are gays in the R camp, and everyone is playing a game of thrones instead of trying to solve issues (unless those 'solutions' are delivered with a pile of $$$). Believing there is only one right side to an issue, and the Democratic Party has carefully selected exactly this for every issue, and everyone who identifies as democratic has perfect adherence to the Party ... it is patently ridiculous, but that is how every large party tries to sell itself.

Riddle me this, if you believe certain people can hold worldviews that are on their face absurd from the outside ... how do you know that never happens with the people that align with your ideology?

Full disclosure: I do not register with any party, and support candidates of multiple parties, including both D and R, based on their views on an issue by issue basis. Voting for parties for macro issues is a different strategy that I do not believe is wrong.


FiveThirtyEight did a quick analysis. The polls quite consistently were biased toward the Democrats (i.e. they overestimated the percentages that Democrats would get) by 5% on average, though in some states (KY, VA, MD) they were off by even bigger margins. Perhaps the pollsters "overcorrected" their likely voter screens after 2012, when the polls were biased toward the Republicans.

I think polling bias was a real issue and pollsters will rethink their methodologies. Everyone expected Virginia to tighten somewhat, but no one, not even Gillespie's internal polls, show the race within 1%. In retrospect, the GOP probably wishes they had diverted some money from New Hampshire or Kentucky to Virginia. As it is, it sets up Gillespie nicely for the open governor's seat in 2017, and shows that the GOP has a chance to take VA in 2016.

My guess is that a lot of Democratic voters said they would vote but decided at the last minute not to. Yesterday wasn't so much a vote for the GOP, but rather dissatisfaction with the status quo. Republicans won in many states where traditionally "Democratic" measures such as referenda on minimum wage increases and tax increases also easily passed. No amount of GOTV effort is going to help when people are unhappy with the status quo. It's not that Democrats wanted to see the GOP win, but rather they didn't see much difference if the Democrats had retained power, and so didn't bother to show up, while the GOP base did. That's not to say GOTV had no impact. AK is still up in the air because of a lot of absentee ballots, which could be Begich's GOTV effort. But it wasn't enough to overcome voter apathy.

Some Democrats lost because they ran bad campaigns. Mark Udall is a good example. Colorado re-elected their Democratic governor, albeit by a small margin, but Udall polled several percentage points behind. Others ran perfect campaigns (Kay Hagan) but were taken down by the nationalization of the race. Shaheen was a rare bright spot for Democrats, as she slightly outperformed the polling. NH voters are fickle and known to buck the trend sometimes. Brown and Shaheen are both decent ideological fits (Brown a bit closer), but Brown had the "carpetbagger" issue that kept his popularity low.

2014 was essentially the reverse of 2006. The polls showed tight races then, but broke sharply toward Democrats in the last week, and the Democrats did even better than predicted. This year, the polls started breaking toward the GOP, but not to the same extent as the polls did toward the Democrats in 2006. However, the actual votes broke toward the GOP in about the same margin, and it wound up being a big wave.

The focus now is on 2016. Yesterday showed that running away from Obama is not a viable campaign strategy, at least not in itself. But trying to tie candidates to Obama may yet have some worth, much the way that tying candidates to Bush was effective for Democrats in 2008. Barring an unforeseen economic crash in the next 2 years, the state of affairs shouldn't be as bad for Democrats in 2016 as they were for the GOP in 2008, but it won't be a cakewalk, either.


@Baron, what state is that? My state (IL) elected a GOP governor, though they re-elected Democrats to the state legislature with veto-proof majorities and passed a bunch of dumb (thankfully non-binding) referenda like a minimum wage increase, and a "millionaire tax."


I do not want to criticise you for believing in reason, Tomi. For an entertaining take on the current situation go to the following URL:-

Wayne Borean

It was fascinating to watch. Quite frankly, the Democrats shot themselves in the foot. Trying to not admit that they were in the same party as Obama was pretty stupid.

Still, I thought too that they'd do better than they did.

Which shows in my opinion that standing for something is important.


Millard Fillmore

@Baron95, back in the mid-1970s i joined the libertarian party, even collected signatures to get MacBride on the ballot for president. the three "pillars" of the party certainly sound good.

1) armed forces are for defense only. i can mostly agree with that. it is rare that intervention gives a better result than staying away. there are times tho, WW2, Rwanda, ISIS, that exceptions are reasonable.

2) police. gotta have police to have civilization. my (middle class) expectation and yours (upper class ???) of how the police interact with us does not match reality in many places of the USA. in Ferguson, MO for example the police and courts act as Profit Centers for the city. the cops do not go out on daily patrol so much as they go on hunts, looking for miscreants and scofflaws to pass out tickets. jay-walking, speeding, parking, littering, nose is too big, hair too curly, whatever. the health of the city budget depends on a steady supply of fines, court filing fees, processing fees, and what-not. the average household in Ferguson has THREE outstanding tickets, each over 100 dollars. for a near minimum wage household this is a staggering burden. do you really expect rich areas, especially a theoretical gated community where police essentially have to be invited in, will have the same distribution of tickets issued as poor areas, so they can contribute in equal measure to the city's finances? is there something in the Republican agenda that will address this? police are essential, even with libertarian freedom ... its all in the details. so i would grade this pillar as Maybe.

3) courts, to enforce contracts. this is where the libertarian ideals completely fall apart. do you have any real world contact with civil courts? i only have reports that i read on the internet, and some of that is really skewed. read up on Scientology to see what i mean. Baron, there is no way around this: Money Buys Justice. check out the history of Henry Clay Frick and the Johnstown flood, or more recently, West, TX. how many thousands of dollars in loose change is needed today just to ante into the legal process to get justice through the courts? how much time? is your boss understanding and allows you time off for depositions and whatever else? a man of modest means has no chance to battle 10 years and sink tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars into a lawsuit against a well funded defendant. and that is BEFORE the appeals get going. what changes will libertarians or Republicans make to increase the spread of justice? anything else is simply a redistribution of serfs.

deep down i am with you on this Baron, yet the actual outcome has such a wonderful potential of becoming delightfully perverse.


millard "when it comes to a politician speaking,
what you are hearing is not what they are saying.
what they are saying is not what they are offering.
what they are offering is not their real goal.
not that it matters anyway since what we finally get won't be anything like any of the above" fillmore


Democrats are like Samsung, an obvious winning strategy that suddenly confronted a different reality.
With congress at 15% popularity, "market share" mislead many into believing a game changer was around the corner.
Poor Obama, Poor Samsung.


@Baron, that's what happens when too many people flee New York, take their old ways with them to their new state, and then wonder why things get just as bad as they were where they left. It happened to Colorado, too.

I wonder why New Hampshire seems to be slowly following the rest of the Northeast. It used to be a bit more independent. But Shaheen managed to survive even as other "toss-up" races turned out to be blowouts. Maybe New Hampshire residents will just chalk it up to them going against the grain, but they seem to be turning into a more solidly blue state.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all...

Its been a wild week for me in travel, now am resting at a really charming part of Capetown here in South Africa and my first moment to sit and take it all in (even this evening dinner was 'work' haha). I love the discussion here (and the other parts of the blog) and will comment more fully a bit later over this weekend.

First, I want to go now and dig into the exit polls and see the 'facts' kind of before the various analysis from the many political blogs (of differing political sides) that I read, to get a feeling of exactly what was happening. The only thing that I know now on the helicopter view, is that apparently this was an exceptionally low turnout election for whatever reason and thats definite doom always for Democrats as the Repbulican base voters are far more reliable in any election. But even that was just a headline I picked up earlier so I think it was well below 40%, could it be near 35% only who voted - which is instant death for the Democrats.

I also watched Mitch McConnell's and Obama's short speeches on CNN when they commented on the Republican victory. McConnell seemed to me surprisingly realistic and his tone seemed to be promising (compared to the Mitch we've heard in past months and years) and Obama's response less so, but suggesting there is room for working together. It would be great to see the USA have a similar period of collaboration as Reagan and Tip O'Neil did. My gut says that is in Obama's heart, he really wanted to be the post-partisan President and if the Republicans give him a chance to sign some not-too-extreme laws, he'll quite happily play along. And McConnell's tone seemed to suggest to me a surprisingly 'mature' attitude to how to proceed in the next 2 years. That is however, the first impression. Lets see how it plays. It could just as well get into extreme vitriol and total gridlock haha.. And then there always is the Tea Party wing in the House as well as any GOP Presidential hopefuls seeking to score easy primary-contest points by remaining 'strong' on conservative values, as a thorn in both McConnell's and John Boehner's sides.

Ok, I'll do some thinking and reading (and sleeping, gosh I have had so little sleep the past 10 days or so) and attempt to be rational and sensible about this all haha....

Meanwhile keep up the discussion here, plus of course we now have the regular progamming on the blog, the Q3 smartphone bloodbath market share update already posted.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Millard Fillmore


"abortion barbie in Texas" is a phrase that strongly marks you as anti-abortion. perhaps you can help me. i would like to read some web sites but do not know what to Google for. i don't understand the morality of a culture that will fight birth control, fight abortion, fight like demons to bring babies into this world, but won't take care of the kids that are already here.

if you have any links, please send them my way.

many of the people who are active abortion opponents are oddly quiet when it comes to the care and feeding of these actual babies. taking care of kids is an enormous drain on energy, time, and money. why won't they help? a cynical person could conclude that outlawing abortion is cheap, and upkeep of kids is not. so when the kid comes into this world, their job is done. the anti-abortion crowd gets a nice religious rush at no cost to themselves.

Baron, if you have any links to help me understand their view, please send them my way.

i would like to understand their religion and mores, and how they came to the conclusion that their God will let them into Heaven on someone else's dime.

if you have links, please send them my way. i am intrigued.


millard "bound for heaven, on the cheap" fillmore


The "pro life" camp is also full of people who want the child murdered when it grows up badly, ie, kapital punishment.

Wayne Borean

With only 30% of eligible voters showing up, you have a massive problem.

Baron95 may think turnout was high, but we get higher turnout for municipal elections than that.


In 5 of the 7 states where the GOP flipped a senate seat, turnout was higher in 2014 than it was in 2010. Those states were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, and North Carolina. Perhaps the fact that a senate race was being decided explains part of the increase, but nonetheless, low turnout doesn't explain all of the results. Heck, Colorado mailed every registered voter a ballot (a first for them) saw an increase in turnout, and was among the highest in the country and STILL Hickenlooper barely squeaked by and Udall lost handily.

Millard Fillmore

i do not want to pollute Tomi's board with abortion talk, so my last comment on this is: "pro-life" is a strictly a public relations ploy.


millard "lots of advice, but no help" fillmore

Millard Fillmore

@Baron, your view on abortion is much clearer now. unfortunately Europe's methods are not tolerated by the Christian wing of the Republican party, nor is the European socialist support framework for the mother and child going to fly in the USA.

i do hope your view of the Republican party and what it wants to do matches reality. 7 years ago i moved into a place that had free cable television. after a few days of "57 channels and nothin on" frustration, i bumped into the Rachel Maddow Show. now you might turn your nose up at everything that silly liberal says, but what got to me was the personalities of the Republicans she reported on. at the time, she was harping on the C Street house, and its activities. so i watched some more, and OMG! the top levels of the Republican party are infested with utter slimeballs. birthers! death panels! do they really believe this crap? when i was growing up, this type of silliness was over in the Democrat party. what happened? on the radio, before the internet, someone mentioned that the resurgence of the Republican party started when LBJ pushed and signed the Civil Rights Act. What? southern democrats became southern republicans because of THAT? how revolting.

well, maybe, maybe not. i think the downhill slide really picked up critical mass when Pat Robertson used his religious show The 700 Club to lie for the Republican party. do you remember when the CIA ... ahem, excuse me ... the Contras mined Nicaragua's harbors? as i recall, a Czech ship was damaged. that night Reagan was on the TV saying it wasn't us, no, it was all the Contras. the next night Pat was on the 700 Club saying pretty much the same thing. then Pat went on to win the Iowa caucus ... a really bad sign. the evangelicals have been damaging the Republican brand ever since. now-a-days you have to rub elbows with exorcists and Dominionist slavers. that tears it for me.

Baron, i am somewhat paranoid. i hope your vision of a Republican future is better than mine.

about that war ... the war in Iraq was lost when Bush let the death squads run wild for MONTHS. i can choke down and forgive most everything else, but not that. we invaded, we occupied. yes it was our job to stop that insanity.


millard "with liberty and justice for some" fillmore

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

First my top read of the election. Did some digging of the full national exit polls and compared to the past elections, and a few very clear issues come out. As you probably all knew already, this was the lowest turnout election in recent history (may be of all time, I don't know yet), with only about 34% of registered voters turning out to vote. That compares with 41% in the previous midterm and 57% in Obama-Romney of 2012. Conventional wisdom well before the election held that if its a low-turnout election the Democrats would lose and only if they were able to have higher (than normal for midterms) turnout, did they have a chance to hold their Senate majority. And my assumptions here on this blog were based on the GOTV machine being able to do just that, boost Democratic turnout.

So it wasn't just a low turnout election, it was the lowest turnout for many midterm cycles and possibly lowest ever. That alone guaranteed Democrats their loss. But since we're all political junkies here who are in this discussion thread, a bit of the detail that I found fascinating

First, the party identification and political orientation questions. The whole election turnout was down about 40% from 2012 Presidential election so about 70 million votes vs 118 million. Where was it more and where was it less. The Republican support was down only 33%, Independent down 43% and Democratic vote down 45%. We knew this coming in, Republicans have more loyal voters while they have a smaller base. How was it in terms of total voters with that mix. In 2012 the Democrats had 7 million more voters than Republican party supporters, now the GOP had 700,000 more voters identifying with their party than the DEMs. That would shake an election strongly haha.

Its more revealing when we then look at the political ideology. The voting attendance was down 40%. For conservatives it was down 35% and for liberals it was down 38%, but for moderates the voting was down 44%. As the liberal group is smallest of the three (in both elections) and moderates largest, this is where the erosion happened. The conservative Republicans outperformed the national electorate, and so did also the liberal Democrats. It was the moderate Democrats and the Independents who mostly stayed away.

There is one interesting question which almost asks that very question. What is the opinion on the Tea Party. In 2012 only one in five voters approved of the Tea Party (21%) while in this midterm it was a third (33%). If those who disapproved of shutting down the government and who think its a good thing to do for example vaccinations etc, are not voting - and letting the Tea Party wing just gain more seats.. then yes, it will be a rout for the Democrats.

One last observation, also a surprise to me. The Gender gap that was 11 points for Obama vs Romney was only 4 points now for the Democrats on women (but now the Democrast suffer a massive male gender gap from 7 points for Romney in 2012 to 16 points now for the Republicans vs Democrats.

Incidentially the youth vote was not down significantly more than the overall electorate, so that was not where the elections were lost. Neither was the black vote (I think bizarrely, considering now Obama was not on the ticket) but the Latin vote was down far more than average, I think because of the severe disappointment in broken promises.

With those observations, I'll get to comments.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi John, BJI, KPOM and Baron95

John - yes, very powerful lesson for me but not yet willing to 'learn' it before I have more of the facts in to see exactly what happened. It is possible, similar to the Romney 2012 campaign, that the machine worked but didn't work well enough. Romney did bring out more voters in several key battleground states than McCain had done 4 years prior. So Romney's machine worked and they also accurately measured its boost to their turnout (which is why they thought on election day that they were winning). They didn't know that Obama's machine was even stronger and boosting Democratic turnout far more than Romney's machine helped GOP turnout. So yes, what you say is true and yes, machines alone cannot make us vote. But whether the full lesson was there, I don't know yet. I am curious to find out more what happened and will of course dig in and report what I find. Its quite possible this is the lesson I have to learn haha.

BJI - (thanks). Good points and its definitely a sign of the polarization of the US politics (and me coming from Finland where we have 8 political parties that have seats in our current Parliament (its been as high as 14 at some point) that gives far more latitude for differing, sometimes overlapping points of view and also helps bring about a culture of compromise as no one party can ever hold a majority by itself and always has to find compromise partners just to form a government.

On the party purity angle, I think it was the Democrats who were purist up to the Mondale disaster, and after that the DEMs have been more open to wide range of views. The Republicans had an open tent around Reagan's time but have been now migrating far more to the extremes in the past 2 decades appeasing ever more the Tea Party wing or its conservative predecessors. So they were the 'you have to be anti-abortion, you have to be anti-gay, you have to be a white old rich man's party' type of ideology where every solution is another tax cut for the rich. I think the Republican party is now in a similar ideological crisis (denying climate change etc) as the DEMs were in the 1980s and will have to go through a similar total electoral rout, for the GOP to wake up and embrace reason and moderation once again.

Incidentially this midterm election result will boost the power of the Tea Party wing of the GOP. That in turn means an even more ideologically 'pure' right-wing (I'd say nutter) candidate to emerge for the 2016 drubbing which will be the Hillary Clinton coronation. If the GOP is lucky, that election is their 'Mondale moment' after which they can start to heal themselves. In the worst case the Tea Party wave will not crest in 2016 if they nominate a moderate like Jebb Bush or Chris Christie and then the Tea Party wave would grow up to 2020 where it will then crash. The longer the Republicans suffer this madness the longer it will take for them to return to their senses after it all.

KPOM - good analysis and similar to what I am thinking now as I'm still pouring over the data. Definitely the Democratic-leaning moderate part of the electorate stayed at home, that was the big drop in the electorate, even more than in normal midterms. Disgust with both parties I would guess is the big reason, also maybe the poisoned environment (negative TV ad overload on TV) also contributing. I do agree with you some candidates ran bad campaigns (as always happens) and where recently we had several extremist Repblicans with silly stuff (I'm not a witch, legitimate rape etc) this time those happened on the Democratic side especially Braley in Iowa (in farming state caught on tape saying the other candidate was not even an attorney) and obviously Grimes in Kentucky twisting herself into a pretzel attempting not to say she had voted for Obama in 2012. Up to that point the Kentucky election was a toss-up... But its also those kinds of votes that very rapidly poison an independent voter into thinking - these Democrats are exactly as bad as the Republicans, two-faced opportunists who pander or won't tell the truth.... Bad campaigns or gaffes by the candidates definitely this time were mostly against the Democrats where recently were against Republicans. Again the exit polls also support this theory. The liberal Democratic wing will look past such gaffes, staying steadfast with their candidate inspite of it. But that will turn off the moderate Independents.

Baron - (thanks). Yeah good point about getting the blacks to vote. I was surprised how strong their support was now in these midterms where Obama was not on the ticket. So too the youth vote was not down anywhere near as much as I expected (it was down only marginally). I do disagree with your analysis of why the white vote was then down, while your theory may hold some merit I think the majority is just overall disgust with both parties, not being 'scared' of the focus on black issues haha... I would also think that the black voters would identify strongly on the liberal wing of Democrats (similar to how say evangelical voters identify with the conservative wing of Republicans). So as the liberal vote was among the strongest of the Democratic side, that would include a lot of the black vote. But the Independent vote was severely down as were moderates both on Republican and Democratic sides. So I think the bigger damage to DEMs support was from the moderate-minded voters in the middle, very many of whom showed up in 2012 but didn't show up now.

PS on the point of Libertarians, I was always hoping the Libertarian wing of the GOP might splinter out into a third party that would become a 'major' party like the Liberals in the UK, led by Ron Paul back in the day (and/or perhaps Rand Paul now). What Ron Paul was saying in the recent primary debates was often the sensible thing (mixed in with some real Ron Paul'ian bizarro-stuff which is why he could never be elected). But if there was to be an actual split in the GOP, I would now see that as more likely Tea Party vs Moderate Republicans, where the Republican party name would continue as the moderates and the Tea Party having already plenty of its branding, might split away led by Ted Cruz and that faction. For the US political system it would be good to get past the two-party system but if the party that has smaller national identification as it is, were to split, then it would give the larger party (Democrats) extended period of monopoly which in itself would not be good either.

Ok will return with more, thanks for the debate and please keep the comment coming

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Millard Fillmore

@Tomi, as a former Libertarian that spent many hours of volunteer work for that party a few decades ago, your image of a "Libertarian wing of the GOP" is a myth. any True Libertarian (at the rate Republicans are trashing the label, "true libertarian" is like saying True Communist) in the Republican party is only there for lack of a better place to go. everyone in the Republican party with enough power to influence or set policy has serious conflicts with some aspect of Libertarian ideals.

as a way to test whether a right wing Republican could be any type of libertarian, imagine if he had the power to legalize European style beaches and pools here in the USA. you know, freedom. personal freedom. sorry Tomi, i don't see any Tea Party types pushing for that kind of liberty. there are all sorts of activities that right wing Tea Partiers want to outlaw: birth control, gambling, gay in public, even a lot of sex in private.

the Republican right wing poached the term "Tea Party" from the Libertarians (, grabbed a few of their ideas, and merged it in with
ideas on religious regulation of morals and cutting back on interference (regulation) of businesses. oddly, there is no push to decrease the number of laws that give
corporations their current level of privileges and protections.


millard "they want to be like John Galt, but end up like James Taggart" fillmore

Millard Fillmore

@Tomi. here is a link to an interesting evaluation of this past election. the author claims to be a Republican ... i don't follow these things closely enough to know if he has good insight or is just yapping.

he does have an interesting view of elections in the near future. don't know how you can factor them into your own projections.

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