Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Dangerous Allure of 'One-And-Doners'

 '1-and-doner' Andrew Wiggins of Kansas
Duke's '1-and-doner' Jabari Parker
You know what we are gonna say:

  • 'The game has been diminished due to one-and-doners'.
  • 'One-and-doners are inexperienced rookies'.
  • 'One-and-doners can't make the big shot or make the big free throw when it counts'.
  • 'Inevitably, one-and-doners will screw up and lose the Big One for us, the good guys, the home team'.
No, we are not talking about the collapse of the Dicky V. '3's: 'Super Scintillating Sensational' Diaper Dandy McDonald All-Americans Jabari Parker of Duke and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament that might as well be canceled for the next 2 weeks here on Tobacco Road in the Research Triangle of North Carolina.

We are talking about the only way that Republicans can not take over the US Senate in the 2014 mid-term elections: by nominating the latest flavor-of-the-month inexperienced candidate to run for one of the 100 highest offices in the land.

Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com fame was the fair-haired child of the national Democratic Party in 2012 when he 'said' President Obama was going to win a second term. Every time he 'predicted' a Senate victory in the Senate, House or Governor's race around the nation, he was feted with celebration and loud huzzahs from the DNC and praised as the 'Savant King'.

Alas, as the slave would whisper into the ear of a conquering Caesar coming back to Rome amidst great pomp and circumstance: 'Sic transit gloria mundi'. 'All Glory is Fleeting'.

Today, in 2014, the Democrats are slamming Nate Silver. Why?  Because he had the temerity to do what most good objective pollster people are supposed to do: report the truth of their polls and data.

Today, in 2014, it looks like Republicans will gain the 6 seats they need to take back control of the US Senate from Majority Leader Harry Reid after 8 (long) years. There is a 30% chance the Republicans may pick up 11 seats and go from a 45-55 minority to a 56-44 majority.

We suppose they will then tell President Obama the same thing he coldly told House Republicans in 2009 when they came to discuss some alternatives and compromises on health care reform: 'Elections. Matter'.

Nate Silver is not doing anything that anyone reading this blog could not do. He takes every reputable pollster's hard work; averages the numbers (which takes basic math skills) and then aggregated it in his blog...and became famous for his 'predictions'.

They were not his 'predictions' any more than any other pollster's declarations are 'predictions'. They are mere 'snapshots' of the mood of voting electorate (i.e. 'people are legally registered to vote') at the time they take the poll. Nothing more, nothing less.

What Mr. Silver was able to do was take a lot of data points produced by dozens if not hundreds of polling firms and then use the power of numbers to come up with his conclusions.

In 2008 and 2012, he was considered a hero by the Obama forces. In 2010 and now in 2014, probably not. Because most polls show that the GOP will gain at least 4 seats in the US Senate almost without question and probably the 5 to break-even at 50 or 6 to gain control.

Anyway, back to the 'one-and-doner' issue.

The ONLY way that Republicans can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory it seems in this 2014 election cycle is to do what they did in 2010 and 2012 when they failed to keep or gain 5 Senate seats:

Nominate less-than-stellar candidates in the spring primaries. 
  • The Tea Party 'thought' they had recruited 'the next' LeBron James when they nominated Christine O'Donnell in Delaware over incumbent Senator Castle. 
  • They thought they had recruited 'the next' Kobe Bryant when they nominated Sharon Angle to run against Harry Reid in Nevada. 
  • They thought they had recruited 'the next' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when they nominated Ken Buck in Colorado to run against Udall. 
  • They thought they had recruited 'the next' Wilt Chamberlain when they nominated Todd Akin in Missouri.
  • They thought they had recruited 'the next' Michael Jordan when they nominated Richard Mourdock in Indiana to unseat Rhodes Scholar Richard Lugar in the primary.
We all know what happened, don't we?
  • Christine O'Donnell went to the air to declare 'I am not a witch!'. 
  • Sharon Angle blew $39 million on the air in the arid TV market of Nevada and forgot to get all the blackjack dealers in the casinos organized to turn out the vote as they did for Harry Reid. 
  • Ken Buck lost his race to now Senator Mark Udall in a race that many observers think was his to win.
  • More infamously, Todd Akin said this about abortion in the case of rape victims: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” 
  • As bad as that comment was, Richard Mourdock trumped him by saying this about abortion: “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Both comments swung the election by perhaps 20-30+ points in a matter of days, if not hours, if not minutes, if not microseconds.

They are all now 'one-and-doners', aren't they? The Republicans lost 5 US Senate seats over the last two elections, 3 in the wave-year election of 2010 alone with these candidates.

Instead of wondering if Republicans would be gaining 6-11 seats today to gain the majority, Nate Silver and the other pollsters would be now wondering how many more seats the Republicans could gain from their 50-seat position of today in 2014.

To top that off, if you are a conservative or a Republican or a Tea Party member or whatever, the pressure on President Obama to become more realistic and pragmatic about Obamacare and his still non-performing economic agenda would have been far greater since 2011-on had these seats not been lost by the GOP.

As bad as we think the 'one-and-doners' are for college basketball and the NBA by extension, the loss of these 5 seats by the 'one-and-doners' nominated by the Tea Party have been far more damaging to the United States, don't you think?

Think about it before you pull the lever, punch the button or fill out your paper ballot this spring in the primaries.

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