My Thoughts on Turning 30

Today I turned 30 years old.  Yay?  NO.

Looking back on the twenties that I just departed, I see that I’ve changed so much – some for the better, more for the worse.  When I turned 20 in 2007, I wasn’t exactly riding high, but life was looking promising.  I had a direction, I had a goal, and I had reasonable confidence that I would eventually make it there.  Now, ten years later, I feel like I’ve seen so much, done so much, and fell so far.  I’m the total opposite of what I was at 20.  I’m 30 and I’ve been told I look like I’m 22 or 23, but inside I feel like I’m 60 – worn, weary, and bitter from what has been a brutal decade.  A decade that I feel was largely wasted on battling against myself and constantly learning lessons the hard way.

I’ve been meaning to blog about what’s happened in the last year, this last mostly-horrible year of my twenties, and how my new life has been going.  I haven’t had the time.  I barely have the time right now, which is why the quality of this writing probably isn’t up to par.  I’ll hopefully write more later, but suffice to say, my life for the past year – really, for the past several years but especially this past year – has been mostly miserable, punctuated by occasional moments of blissful happiness when I somehow manage to escape and forget the pain of my regular life, until I’m brought back down to earth and have to go back to it.  Every day feels like yet another round of trudging through a cycle of regret, longing, and confusion.  I was at work today and the enormity of turning 30 and being so damn old already and having wasted most of the past ten years hit me hard.  I just wanted to collapse on the ground, and in fact I nearly did so.

I normally like to do special trips for my birthday and other occasions but my life has turned so bad that I’ve lost much of my previously held enthusiasm for doing so.  I originally was going to go to Dallas for this birthday but I changed my mind because my life has too many problems right now. (I’m planning on going in a few weeks instead.) This has been a pretty miserable and meh-whatever birthday so far – I got a few hours of sleep, spent a few more hours catching up on a week’s worth of emails that I haven’t had the time to get to, and all around I feel like crap.

This isn’t an auspicious start to a new decade.  I guess I’ll post again in 2027 and offer another short and hasty retrospection of the preceding ten years.  I wish I could say it’ll be much happier than this one, but I’m really not expecting it.  My thirty years of life so far have not turned out anywhere near what I ever hoped for.

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89th Academy Awards: Predictions and Choices

As I do every year now, I made sure to watch every nominee for Best Picture prior to the ceremony, which is today, February 26 2017.  It was a more difficult lift than usual given my late start (I didn’t really begin in earnest until late January, just a few days before the nominees were announced) and the fact that an unusually high number of nominees were already mostly out of theaters.

 

A note on the movie theaters where I saw the nominees: Because I was largely unable to leave Austin during this time, I leaned heavily on Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations to get through the movies.  Of the nine Best Picture nominees, only two – Lion and Hidden Figures, the first and last ones I watched respectively – were not seen at an Alamo Drafthouse.  Lion was the only movie I didn’t see in Austin period; I saw it at the Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco when I was visiting there in January.  I saw Hidden Figures at Violet Crown Cinema in downtown Austin.  Of the remaining seven that I saw at an Alamo Drafthouse, I saw one (Moonlight) at the Village location, one (Hell or High Water) at the Slaughter Lane location, two (Manchester by the Sea and Arrival) at the South Lamar location, and three (La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, and Fences) at the Lakeline location.  Since the Lakeline location got the most movies, I decided that I’d watch the Oscars there tonight.

 

I’ll put my predictions and preferences for the top eight categories in a table format.  I’ll put the movies and performances I haven’t seen at the bottom, separate from the actual rankings.

 

Best Picture

Nominees by alphabetical order Nominees by my preference, from highest to lowest My predicted winner
Arrival La La Land La La Land
Fences Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge Fences
Hell or High Water Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures Manchester by the Sea
La La Land Moonlight
Lion Hidden Figures
Manchester by the Sea Hacksaw Ridge
Moonlight Lion
Comments: This race has largely been a battle between La La Land and Moonlight.  Between those two I pick La La Land easily, and out of all the nominees it was a hard choice between La La Land and Arrival, but in the end I give it to La La Land by a hair.  La La Land is currently the solid favorite to win the prize.  I’m surprised Hell or High Water was nominated, but in a good way – I thought it was released too early in the year and didn’t generate enough buzz to keep it from being overlooked.  I really don’t see why Hacksaw Ridge and Lion were even nominated; to me they were meh average-type films.  Hidden Figures was also a largely okay movie on the merits; I wonder if its nomination was propelled by its racism/sexism-based subject matter.

 

Best Director

Nominees by alphabetical order Nominees by my preference, from highest to lowest My predicted winner
Denis Villeneuve for Arrival Damien Chazelle for La La Land Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge Denis Villeneuve for Arrival
Damien Chazelle for La La Land Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge
Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea
Comments: There were a ton of fantastically well-directed movies this year, and any one of these men deserve the prize.  Chazelle’s direction in La La Land was masterful and very much worthy of the win.  Villeneuve’s handling of Arrival was stunningly excellent as well.  Despite not being a big fan of the movies overall, Hacksaw Ridge and Moonlight were both well-directed, which is why I put their directors ahead of Lonergan, who did a great job himself but not quite up to what the rest of the nominees put out.  The race is once again largely a La La Land versus Moonlight battle, and once again La La Land is ahead.

 

Best Actor

Nominees by alphabetical order Nominees by my preference, from highest to lowest My predicted winner
Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea Denzel Washington for Fences Denzel Washington for Fences
Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea
Ryan Gosling for La La Land Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic Ryan Gosling for La La Land
Denzel Washington for Fences Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic (haven’t seen)
Comments: This race has been a battle between Washington and Affleck, with Washington having the slight lead.  Incidentally, this reflects my own personal feelings as well.  Washington and Affleck both did fantastic jobs in their roles, and I say this as someone who thinks Washington is often overrated.  In the end I give it to Washington by a small edge.  Garfield did a good job, but not enough to top the others.  Gosling was whatever; I don’t know if he should’ve even been nominated.

 

Best Actress

Nominees by alphabetical order Nominees by my preference, from highest to lowest My predicted winner
Isabelle Huppert for Elle No preference (aside from not wanting Meryl Streep to win) Emma Stone for La La Land
Ruth Negga for Loving
Natalie Portman for Jackie
Emma Stone for La La Land
Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins
Comments: The current favorite is Stone, though there’s some rumbling that either Huppert or Portman could swoop in and nab the prize.  I have not seen any of these performances aside from Stone’s, and I wasn’t really impressed with Stone’s anyway, so I did not rank them or state any preference, aside from being Anyone But Streep.  No, I haven’t seen Florence Foster Jenkins but I don’t care – Streep is the most overrated actress of our time (her Best Actress win for The Iron Lady was an outrage) and I don’t want her being nominated for any more Oscars, let alone winning them.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees by alphabetical order Nominees by my preference, from highest to lowest My predicted winner
Mahershala Ali for Moonlight Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea
Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Dev Patel for Lion Dev Patel for Lion
Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals (haven’t seen)
Comments: Let me start out by saying that, just as is the case with the movie he’s in, I have no idea why Patel is in Oscars contention.  His performance was… whatever.  I mean he wasn’t dumbly gaping at the screen with his mouth slightly ajar the whole time like he was in Slumdog Millionaire, so I guess there’s some improvement.  But… really?  And if he’s going to be up for an Oscar, why in the Supporting Actor category?  He’s in the movie for at least half the time and usually the adult actors are the ones who are considered the Lead.  Moving on… Ali was good though I think his performance is overrated.  So in the end it was a battle between the two “-dges”: Bridges versus Hedges.  Both were very good and Hedges in particular surprised me with his bold and layered performance.  But Bridges really stole the show in his movie and I had to give it to him by a hair.  The race is largely Ali’s to lose, though there’s an outside chance that Patel (ugh, why!) could win.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees by alphabetical order Nominees by my preference, from highest to lowest My predicted winner
Viola Davis for Fences Viola Davis for Fences Viola Davis for Fences
Naomie Harris for Moonlight Naomie Harris for Moonlight
Nicole Kidman for Lion Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea
Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures Nicole Kidman for Lion
Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures
Comments: The top and bottom of this pack were easy.  For the top, easiest pick ever: Davis.  Her performance blows most I’ve seen in any movie this past year out of the water.  In fact, the biggest outrage is that she’s even in the Supporting category when she should’ve been Lead – she’s in the movie something like 80 percent of the time.  For the bottom: Kidman and Spencer.  Call it the Lion Syndrome: this phenomenon where a decently okay movie somehow gets Oscar nominations out of nowhere.  Kidman is barely in the movie and she has like one scene where she’s sick so she croaks to her son in a weak voice.  Spencer’s performance was even more whatever – she did fine, but her character, and the resulting performance, was pretty generic.  In fact, I feel like I’ve seen Spencer give basically the same performance in one or two of her other roles before.  That left Harris and Williams to battle it out for the middle spots, and in the end, even though I’m a big Williams fan, I gave a slight edge to Harris, in large part because Harris just has more screen time and more material to work with.  It doesn’t matter though – Davis has a solid lock on this category, and it’s very well-deserved.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees by alphabetical order Nominees by my preference, from highest to lowest My predicted winner
Hell or High Water La La Land La La Land
La La Land Hell or High Water
The Lobster Manchester by the Sea
Manchester by the Sea The Lobster
20th Century Women 20th Century Women (haven’t seen)
Comments: This seems to be a hotly contested race between La La Land and Manchester by the SeaLa La Land looks set to win in a bunch of categories so that could portend a win here too, or maybe voters will pick Manchester just to give non-La La Land movies a few crumbs.  I’ll go with La La Land as my prediction for the winner, but it could really go either way.  While I do like La La Land’s script, I’m also partial to Hell or High WaterManchester was decent and it had its moments.  In the end I had to rank it above The Lobster, which I did not think had an impressive script.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees by alphabetical order Nominees by my preference, from highest to lowest My predicted winner
Arrival Arrival Moonlight
Fences Fences
Hidden Figures Hidden Figures
Lion Lion
Moonlight Moonlight
Comments: Look at that – the alphabetical order is the same as my personal preference order!  Total coincidence, of course.  Moonlight has been playing second fiddle to La La Land for most of this awards season, so of course for the one category where they’re not facing each other Moonlight gets to really shine and become the solid favorite for the win.  That’s not to my liking – as someone who thought it was fine but not great, I didn’t think Moonlight’s screenplay was one of its strengths.  Plus, it was easy for me to choose Arrival as my top pick – one of the smartest and most mature scripts I’ve ever seen.  Fences was also pretty good – though eclipsed by Arrival – and Hidden Figures, despite being another good-but-not-great movie overall, did keep things interesting, even if its script wandered into gaggingly clichéd territory at times.  My bewilderment at Lion’s award success continues here, as its script really is as average as the movie itself.  Even so, it’s still better than Moonlight’s – which is the one that will end up winning the award, how’s that.

 

2016 Presidential and Senate Predictions: November 7

November 7 2016: My original hope was to have predictions for all 50 states and interesting U.S. Senate races up by November 7.  Because of my lack of a working laptop, I wasn’t able to complete this, so I only completed battleground states and a few other states of interest (such as all three states I’ve lived in: California, Oklahoma, and Texas), as well as all the important Senate races.  Also, because I started this document on November 6, all the RCP polling numbers are from that date, though I doubt they would’ve changed much in the intervening day.

 

For the Presidential race: Clinton wins Colorado, Florida, Maine-2, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, and finishes with 308 electoral votes.

 

For the U.S. Senate races: Democrats hold Nevada and flip Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, for a gain of 6 seats and 52 Senate seats in the next Congress.

 

Alabama

 

No predictions

 

Alaska

 

No predictions

 

Arizona

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 46.3 percent Donald Trump: 50 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 42.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 48 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 11.4 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
As recently as last week, Clinton looked like she could win this state.  Arizona has early voting and there’s been lots of it, which to me means that Clinton can narrow the gap, but not close it all the way.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
John McCain: 49.5 percent John McCain: 52 percent John McCain:  percent
Ann Kirkpatrick: 39.5 percent Ann Kirkpatrick: 47 percent Ann Kirkpatrick:  percent
All others: 11 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
This is one of those races where Democrats smelled blood but ultimately the prey was too healthy and strong, and got away.  

 

Arkansas

 

No predictions
California

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 54.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 59 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 32.0 percent Donald Trump: 39 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 13.7 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
I think at one point Trump said he could make California competitive?  Yeah right.  

 

Colorado

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 43.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 52 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 40.4 percent Donald Trump: 46 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 16.3 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
Colorado was one of two states (along with Virginia) that started the cycle as a supposed battleground but ended up being so consistently pro-Clinton that it became an integral part of her firewall.  Trump did take a small lead in the middle of the fall and quickly lost it, as Colorado returned to being a critical foothold in Clinton’s path to victory.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Michael Bennet: 48.2 percent Michael Bennet: 55 percent Michael Bennet:  percent
Darryl Glenn: 40.8 percent Darryl Glenn: 44 percent Darryl Glenn:  percent
All others: 11.0 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
Much like in the Presidential race, this was one of those coulda-beens for the Republicans that just failed to materialize.  A big part of it was because no strong Republican candidates emerged.  

 

Connecticut

 

No predictions

 

Delaware

 

No predictions

 

District of Columbia

 

No predictions

 

Florida

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 46.6 percent Hillary Clinton: 50 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 46.4 percent Donald Trump: 49 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 7 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
The state that screwed over Democrats in 2000 may well do the same for Republicans this year.  While Trump currently holds a very small lead, early voting and Clinton’s superior ground game will put her over the top.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Marco Rubio: 48.6 percent Marco Rubio: 51 percent Marco Rubio:  percent
Patrick Murphy: 45.4 percent Patrick Murphy: 48 percent Patrick Murphy:  percent
All others: 6.0 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
Despite a glimmer of hope for Murphy late in the game, Rubio has led all cycle and can confidently predict a slim victory.  Murphy is my most despised Democratic Senate candidate this cycle and I am shedding no tears for his political demise.  

 

Georgia

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 49.2 percent Donald Trump: 51 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 44.4 percent Hillary Clinton: 47 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 6.4 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
Along with Arizona, Georgia is an emerging swing state that Clinton maybe could’ve grabbed this time, but ultimately probably won’t.  There’s been lots of early voting, and Clinton could benefit enough from it to put in a close finish.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Johnny Isakson: 50.4 percent Johnny Isakson: 54 percent Johnny Isakson:  percent
Jim Barksdale: 39.4 percent Jim Barksdale: 45 percent Jim Barksdale:  percent
All others: 10.2 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
Isakson is already sitting right at 50 percent, and Trump is creating a sort of upward drag that’s keeping him there.  Barksdale would have to knock him out right in November because a January runoff (which could happen, though I’m not predicting it) wouldn’t see the kind of Democratic turnout Barksdale would need to win.  

 

Hawaii

 

No predictions

 

Idaho

 

No predictions

 

Illinois

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 49.0 percent Hillary Clinton: 58 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 37.5 percent Donald Trump: 40 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 13.5 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
A solid win for Clinton’s “home” state.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Tammy Duckworth: 48.0 percent Tammy Duckworth: 55 percent Hillary Clinton:
Mark Kirk: 34.7 percent Mark Kirk: 44 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 17.3 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
Kirk has been dead man walking all this cycle, and he’s still that way as he walks into Election Night.  This will be the easiest Democratic win tonight.  

 

Indiana

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 49.0 percent Donald Trump: 57 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 38.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 42 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 12.7 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
The state that effectively gave Trump the Republican nomination will stay red and stick with him tonight.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Todd Young: 42.7 percent Evan Bayh: 50 percent Todd Young:  percent
Evan Bayh: 42.0 percent Todd Young: 49 percent Evan Bayh:  percent
All others: 15.3 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
When Bayh first got into the race, he made a big show of force: money!!  Poll numbers!!  Republicans weren’t so easily deterred, and they were right: what was once a safe Bayh win is now a tight Todd lead, but sparse polling makes it hard to say for sure.  My gut says that Bayh still manages to pull out a very narrow win, despite the headwinds he faces from Trump.  

 

Iowa

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 44.3 percent Donald Trump: 52 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 41.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 47 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 14.4 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
Iowa has been the one battleground state that Trump has had his tentacles wrapped around all cycle, and he’ll probably finish with a modest win.  It is annoying that Clinton hasn’t been able to keep this farm-and-labor Midwestern state in the Democratic column, when I’m pretty sure a more populist Democrat like Bernie Sanders would’ve carried it comfortably.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Chuck Grassley: 56.3 percent Chuck Grassley: 58 percent Chuck Grassley:  percent
Patty Judge: 34.0 percent Patty Judge: 41 percent Patty Judge:  percent
All others: 9.7 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
There was some buzz that Judge could give Grassley the race of his career.  Instead, it looks like he’ll win by about 20 points instead of his usual 30.  

 

Kansas

 

No predictions

 

Kentucky

 

No predictions

 

Louisiana

 

No predictions

 

Maine

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 44.0 percent Hillary Clinton: 51 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 39.5 percent Donald Trump: 46 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 16.5 percent All others: 3 percent All others:
Maine is special: it splits its electoral vote by Congressional district and Trump is leading in Maine’s rural, more conservative Second District, 41.5-41.0.  Trump has managed to keep things reasonably competitive here, but lacking a formidable ground game in a state that’s been largely ignored, I predict Trump will fall short in both ME-2 and in the state as a whole.  

 

Maryland

 

No predictions

 

Massachusetts

 

No predictions

 

Michigan

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 45.4 percent Hillary Clinton: 51 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 42.0 percent Donald Trump: 48 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 12.6 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
Trump made a lot of noise and really tried to turn this long-time blue state red, but like so much else he says and does, it will mean nothing in the end.  Still, Trump did have reason to think he could be competitive in an industrial state that is getting sick of establishment corporatist Democrats like Clinton.  This is another one of those states that Bernie Sanders would have quickly taken off the table.  

 

Minnesota

 

No predictions

 

Mississippi

 

No predictions

 

Missouri

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 49.5 percent Donald Trump: 54 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 40.0 percent Hillary Clinton: 44 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 10.5 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
Back in the heady days when Clinton looked like a sure winner, there was some murmuring that Clinton could maybe put this state into her expanded field of play.  But no, Trump gets a comfortable win here.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Roy Blunt: 46.8 percent Jason Kander: 50 percent Roy Blunt:  percent
Jason Kander: 45.5 percent Roy Blunt: 49 percent Jason Kander:  percent
All others: 7.7 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
Alright, I’m gonna go all out with this crazy prediction: Kander wins by a hair.  I’m calling it.  Kander has run the superior campaign that centers around his biography and personality rather than partisan alignments, and I think he can really overcome those Trumpian headwinds.  

 

Montana

 

No predictions

 

Nebraska

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average* Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 56 percent Donald Trump: 59 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 29 percent Hillary Clinton: 39 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 15 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
Nebraska is special: it splits its electoral vote by Congressional district.  Clinton has made a play for Nebraska’s Second District, which includes the relatively friendly Omaha, but the one and only poll of that has Trump still leading there 49-40.  Clinton will not win NE-2 and she’ll get swamped statewide.  

 

Nevada

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 46.5 percent Hillary Clinton: 51 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 45.0 percent Donald Trump: 48 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 8.5 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
A late Trump surge has given him hope that this could be the state he uses to pierce Clinton’s firewall, but alas, according to the gods of early voting, it is not to be.  Early voting has been very favorable to Democrats and Trump may well have already lost this state before Election Day.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Catherine Cortez Masto: 46.7 percent Catherine Cortez Masto: 51 percent Hillary Clinton:
Joe Heck: 46.3 percent Joe Heck: 49 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 7.0 percent All others: 0 percent All others:
What a reversal of fortune.  Heck was leading for a long ass time before a late Cortez Masto surge in the second half of October.  Now it’s effectively tied, but as Trump goes, so goes Heck.  The same early voting upward draft that carries Clinton to a small victory will do the same for Cortez Masto.  

 

New Hampshire

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 43.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 50 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 42.7 percent Donald Trump: 49 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 14.0 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
The state that gave Trump his first win in the primaries might now be his best chance of piercing Clinton’s firewall, as he’s benefitted from a late surge here and there’s no pesky early voting like there is in Nevada.  But Clinton has retaken the lead in the last few polls, and it’s really hard for me to imagine Trump actually winning here.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Kelly Ayotte: 47.1 percent Maggie Hassan: 50 percent Kelly Ayotte:  percent
Maggie Hassan: 45.6 percent Kelly Ayotte: 49 percent Maggie Hassan:  percent
All others: 7.3 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
Ayotte’s and Hassan’s fortunes have been seemingly tied to Trump’s and Clinton’s.  While Ayotte has done a pretty good job of swimming against the tide of Trump, Clinton bombarded New Hampshire with attention in the closing week of the campaign.  This was a really hard race for me to call – it’s probably the closest Senate race in the nation – but in the end, I think that Clinton machine is going to deliver a very tiny win to Hassan.  

 

New Jersey

 

No predictions

 

New Mexico

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 45.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 53 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 40.3 percent Donald Trump: 42 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 14.4 percent All others: 5 percent All others:
Gary Johnson is polling at 9.3 percent, which accounts for the outsize All others percentage.  I think Johnson will still finish relatively strong here, but Clinton will carry the state comfortably.  

 

New York

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average* Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 51 percent Hillary Clinton: 60 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 34 percent Donald Trump: 38 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 15 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
So much for Trump’s vow to make his and Clinton’s shared home state competitive.  Solid blue state.  

 

North Carolina

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 46.5 percent Donald Trump: 50 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 45.5 percent Hillary Clinton: 49 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 8.0 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
North Carolina has early voting, but it hasn’t been favorable to the Democrats.  I would think that Clinton had a really good chance of flipping this state, especially with the changing demographics and all that.  In the end, Trump will still pull off a narrow win.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Richard Burr: 47.0 percent Richard Burr: 51 percent Hillary Clinton:
Deborah Ross: 45.0 percent Deborah Ross: 49 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 8.0 percent All others: 0 percent All others:
This has been a pretty frustrating race for me to watch.  Aside from Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, Ross is probably the most liberal Senate candidate in this cycle.  She did hold a small average lead at the end of September and she’s grabbed leads in polls here and there, but in the end, the rather complacent Burr will probably still squeeze into a tight win.  

 

North Dakota

 

No predictions

 

Ohio

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 45.8 percent Donald Trump: 51 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 42.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 48 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 11.9 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
Along with Iowa, this has been Trump’s best battleground state the whole cycle, and like Iowa and Michigan, it has a lot of those blue collar industrial workers who would gravitate toward Trump over Clinton.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Rob Portman: 53.8 percent Rob Portman: 56 percent Rob Portman:  percent
Ted Strickland: 35.5 percent Ted Strickland: 43 percent Ted Strickland:  percent
All others: 10.7 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
Strickland was a very promising, old school populist-type Democrat.  The Republicans annihilated his campaign early on.  It’s really sad to see how his campaign has dwindled this way.  Ohio really has not been kind to downballot Democrats as of late.  

 

Oklahoma

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average* Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 53 percent Donald Trump: 68 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 29 percent Hillary Clinton: 31 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 18 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
In my former state, I can’t see either Clinton or Libertarian Gary Johnson doing particularly well.  A big win for Trump.  

 

Oregon

 

No predictions

 

Pennsylvania

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 46.2 percent Hillary Clinton: 51 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 44.3 percent Donald Trump: 48 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 9.5 percent All others: 1 percent All others:
Ah, the Keystone State – the state that Republicans always dump a ton of money into thinking they can win it, only to… not.  Pennsylvania has no early voting, so that kinda helps Trump, but in the end It’s still going to be the same Lucy-holds-the-football state that falls in line with the Democrats.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Katie McGinty: 45.0 percent Katie McGinty: 52 percent Katie McGinty:  percent
Pat Toomey: 43.0 percent Pat Toomey: 47 percent Pat Toomey:  percent
All others: 12.0 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
Of all the “tossup” Senate races, this (and Wisconsin, I guess) has been the best for Democrats.  Toomey is as corporatist and pro-Wall Street as it gets, and his victory in 2010 was essentially a fluke, helped along by the Republican wave that year.  He’s been assiduously working to prop up a moderate image to ensure that his 2010 victory isn’t a fluke, but in the end, the Clinton/Democratic headwins will be too strong for him to overcome.  

 

Rhode Island

 

No predictions

 

South Carolina

 

No predictions

 

South Dakota

 

No predictions

 

Tennessee

 

No predictions

 

Texas

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 50.0 percent Donald Trump: 52 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 38.0 percent Hillary Clinton: 46 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 12.0 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
Despite increasingly insistent murmurings that Clinton could win here, bolstered by a number of polls showing Trump’s lead in the low single digits, my own state of Texas is unlikely to be carried by anyone other than Trump.  I do think Clinton will post the best showing any Democrat’s seen here for a long time, largely because of Latino voters activated by Trump.  For the record, Green Party’s Jill Stein, whom I’m voting for, is currently polling at 2.0 percent, well below the 12.0 points separating Clinton from Trump.  

 

Utah

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Donald Trump: 37.4 percent Donald Trump: 36 percent Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: 27.0 percent Hillary Clinton: 31 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 35.6 percent All others: 33 percent All others:
Why the massive 35.6 percent for All others?  Evan McMullin, the independent running as the traditional Republican, who’s hoping that a win of Utah’s 6 electoral votes will put him in the running for a decision that will be made in the House of Representatives.  McMullin accounts for 25.0 out of that 35.6 percent.  As much as I’m rooting for a McMullin win here because it would definitely make this election more exciting, sadly, McMullin has only led Trump in one survey, so it will still probably be a (close) Trump win.  

 

Vermont

 

No predictions

 

Virginia

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 47.3 percent Hillary Clinton: 52 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 42.3 percent Donald Trump: 46 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 10.4 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
Virginia was one of two states (along with Colorado) that started the cycle as a supposed battleground but ended up being so consistently pro-Clinton that it became an integral part of her firewall.  Trump was never going to do well in this highly-educated state, and Clinton can easily count on it to help her win tonight.  

 

Washington

 

No predictions

 

West Virginia

 

No predictions

 

Wisconsin

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Hillary Clinton: 46.8 percent Hillary Clinton: 53 percent Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump: 40.3 percent Donald Trump: 45 percent Donald Trump:
All others: 12.9 percent All others: 2 percent All others:
There was massive rumbling earlier in the cycle that Trump, in his bid to make the industrial Midwest competitive, could put Wisconsin into play.  But come on, really?  I say no.  

 

RealClearPolitics Polling Average Predictions Results
Russ Feingold: 47.0 percent Russ Feingold: 51 percent Russ Feingold:  percent
Ron Johnson: 44.3 percent Ron Johnson: 48 percent Ron Johnson:  percent
All others: 8.7 percent All others: 1 percent All others:  percent
Feingold is perhaps the most valuable candidate, in terms of his liberal-ness, running for Senate this cycle.  Meanwhile, Johnson was for this cycle what Rick Santorum was in 2006: an incumbent Republican who got in during a wave year who has since been too conservative for his light blue state and has lagged significantly behind his Democratic challenger the entire year.  Then the race unexpectedly narrowed in the last month and Democrats went into a panic.  I still say Feingold pulls off a win.  It will be narrower than one would have predicted a few months ago, but a win’s a win and I look forward to Feingold’s return to the Senate.  

 

Wyoming

 

No predictions

 

* No RCP average was available, so I put down the results of the most recent poll on RCP instead.

Political Endorsements for 2016 Election Cycle

San Francisco Mayor: Amy Farah Weiss (Result: Lost)

TX-30: Barbara Mallory Caraway (Result: Lost)

MN-2: Angie Craig

President of the United States: Bernie Sanders (Result: Lost)

State’s Attorney, Cook County, Illinois: Kim Foxx (Result: Won)

IL-10: Nancy Rotering (Result: Lost)

Wisconsin Supreme Court: JoAnne Kloppenburg (Result: Lost)

FL-23: Timothy Canova (Result: Lost)

MD-8: Jamie Raskin (Result: Won)

California State Assembly District 47: Eloise Gomez Reyes

MD Senator: Donna Edwards (Result: Lost)

WI Senator: Russ Feingold

CA-17: Mike Honda

PA Senator: John Fetterman (Result: Lost)

WV-Governor: Jeff Kessler (Result: Lost)

OR-5: Dave McTeague (Result: Lost)

CA-44: Nanette Barragán

CA-46: Bao Nguyen

IA-1: Pat Murphy (Result: Lost)

NY-24: Eric Kingson (Result: Lost)

WA-7: Pramila Jayapal

NY-19: Zephyr Teachout

NV-4: Lucy Flores (Result: Lost)

FL-9: Susanna Randolph (Result: Lost)

MN-8: Rick Nolan

Austin Community College Board of Trustees Place 9: Julie Ann Nitsch

President of the United States: Jill Stein

I Endorse Jill Stein for President in 2016

I am supporting Jill Stein for President of the United States in the 2016 general election, and I will be voting for her on November 8.  Why?  Because I agree with her on most issues, and I share her belief that this country needs and deserves a strong, compassionate government that works proactively to help all Americans.   I supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, and Stein is easily the closest candidate ideologically to Sanders.  I have read her platform and while it’s pretty light on specifics, what is there is awesome – basically Bernie Sanders on steroids.

 

Stein has been the target of vicious criticism from Hillary Clinton supporters, who think that she’s going to take away enough left-leaning votes from Clinton to cost Clinton the election.  That is highly unlikely – not only is Clinton favored to win (even as the race is supposedly tightening in these last few days), but if she does lose, it won’t be because of Stein, who is taking too low a percentage of the vote to be the margin of difference.  In any case, the bottom line is, I’m not going to be the deciding vote.  Even if a bunch of other people think the same way and vote for Stein and throw the election to Donald Trump, I’m still not going to be the deciding vote.  In other words, I could vote for Clinton to “save us all” from Trump (as the histrionics usually go) and it would make no difference; Trump would still win.

 

Attacks on Stein have largely focused around three things:

 

  1. “Her proposals are unfeasible and not based in reality.” This is especially lodged against her centerpiece proposal to erase student debt through quantitative easing.  I accept that Stein’s understanding of quantitative easing is lacking and some of  her proposals in their current form are unworkable or lack specifics.  But her intentions and convictions are in the right place, which I think is more important than the details of campaign proposals which won’t be the exact same as final legislative outcomes anyway.
  2. “She is against vaccination and believes they contribute to autism.” This is False.  Moreover, as the President has almost no control over vaccination policies in schools, this is largely irrelevant to the office she’s running for.
  3. “She thinks that Wi-Fi damages people’s brains”. This is a somewhat stronger claim than the autism charge, but it’s been blown way out of proportion.  Again, I fail to see how this is relevant to decisions that Stein will actually be making as President.

 

You might be wondering, why not vote for Hillary Clinton?  Well, I can’t type up my own long list right now, so I’ll borrow someone else’s that encompasses my own and more.  Please read “The Definitive, Encyclopedic Case For Why Hillary Clinton is the Wrong Choice”, for, well, the definitive case against Hillary Clinton from the left.

 

For the record, Hillary Clinton is one of my least favorite politicians alive today (in any political party).  If Jill Stein were not running, I would not vote for Clinton; I would either vote for another leftist candidate or abstain from voting in that race altogether.  The only thing I look forward to with regard to Clinton is a speedy end to her political career, and I refuse to do anything to contribute to it.  That said, in the unlikely event that Clinton governs in a very liberal fashion as President, I will consider voting for her if she runs for reelection in 2020.

 

I encourage all of my fellow leftists and former Bernie Sanders supporters to join me in supporting Jill Stein for President!

November 3 2016 Update

Hello all.  I haven’t posted any new entries lately and I won’t be posting too many for some time.  The main reason is because I am currently without a working computer, so my computer time is restricted to two hours a day at the local public library.  There’s a lot I want to write about but not much opportunity to do it.

I do want to write a brief bit about who I’m supporting in the upcoming elections, and there is one ambitious thing I want to try to get done before the elections on November 8.  Remember how during the Presidential primaries I made predictions on the results (and got quite a few right or pretty damn close)?  Well, I want to try to do the same thing for the Presidential election in every state this general election, as well as for the competitive U.S. Senate races.  It’s going to be a lot of work to get done if I only have five more days and just two hours a day on the computer, but I want to give it a shot.  Stay tuned!