Pilots know that in a storm or in any instruments-only flying situation you watch your instruments rather than your perceptions or your gut. Your perceptions are frequently wrong and following them can lead to catastrophe. In elections, our instruments are the data, a mixture of polls, early voting, fundraising. These can’t predict the future. But they are the best evidence we have.
This has been rattling through my mind as I read and listen to the news this morning. To listen to it the election has taken a dramatic turn in the Republicans’ direction. The AP writes: “In the closing stretch of the 2018 campaign, the question is no longer the size of the Democratic wave. It’s whether there will be a wave at all.” A few moments ago I heard one of morning TV’s top political talk hosts press a Democratic talking head over a new poll showing that with just two weeks to go it’s a dead heat in the most competitive battleground districts.
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