Tag Archives: Math

California’s jungle primary could prevent Democrats from taking back the House

Democrats need to retake 24 house seats to take back Congress in November. 7 of those 24 seats are in California, districts currently represented by vulnerable Republicans which voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

You would think, “we’re a third of the way home!,” but you would be wrong.

So-called good government reformers (“goo-goos”) convinced enough Californians to vote for the top two primary aka jungle primary in 2010, in which candidates pretend to run in a non-partisan primary election and the top two vote getters advance to the general election. Their stated goal is that this would result in more moderate or centrist candidates being elected rather than partisan extremists. The results have proven them wrong.

StopTop2For the past two election cycles the Top Two Primary folks tried pushing this nonsense as a ballot measure in Arizona, fully supported by the editorial staff of The Arizona Republic. Luckily these goo-goos failed, and there was not a third attempt this election cycle.

Goo-goos do not understand human behavior, nor can they do math. Motivated by what happened in 2016, there is a plethora of Democratic candidates running in these seven districts on Tuesday, which only splinters the Democratic vote by the number of candidates running. Republicans on the other hand, always tribal in their voting behavior, have the vulnerable incumbent and the odd challenger running, or only a couple of Republicans running in open seat districts.

On Tuesday, despite the heavy Democratic voter advantage in “blue” California, Republicans could very well emerge with both of the top two positions via the top two primary aka jungle primary, and with it the Democrats’ opportunity to take back Congress this November. Democrats’ California conundrum could cost them the House:

One week before the June 5 vote, California Republicans face the near-certainty of failing to advance a candidate to the general election for US Senate, and the risk, though fading, of failing to place a candidate on the November ballot for Governor. Democrats, meanwhile, are terrified that they will be shut out next week in one or more Republican-held US House districts, particularly in suburban Orange County. Party strategists see winning these seats as key steps in their path back to majority control.

Continue reading

Math, it’s not for everyone.

There has been a fair amount of commentary, some of it here at Blog for Arizona, that the Democratic Party primary contests are “rigged” in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Numbers cruncher Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight, along with Harry Enten, recently crunched the numbers and declared The System Isn’t ‘Rigged’ Against Sanders:

Screenshot from 2016-02-11 12:39:46Whether [New York Daily News columnist and Bernie Sanders supporter Shaun King] intended it or not, he implied that caucuses — which often require hours of participation and mean lower turnout — are representative of what would happen if a larger electorate had its say.

Well, a funny thing happened in Washington on Tuesday: The state held a mail-in, beauty-contest primary — so voting was easy, but no delegates were at stake. (The Associated Press has declared Hillary Clinton the winner.) The results are still being finalized, but Clinton leads by about 6 percentage points with more than 700,000 votes counted. Sanders won the Washington caucuses, which had 230,000 participants, by 46 percentage points.

So, turnout was much higher in the Washington primary than in the caucuses, and Clinton did much better. Something similar happened in Nebraska, where Clinton lost the early March caucuses by 14 percentage points and won the early May primary, in which no delegates were awarded, by 7 points.

Nebraska and Washington are part of a pattern. As Sanders fans claim that the Democratic primary system is rigged against their candidate and that Sanders wins when turnout is higher, they fail to point out that Sanders has benefited tremendously from low-turnout caucuses. Indeed, if all the caucuses were primaries, Clinton would be winning the Democratic nomination by an even wider margin than she is now.

Continue reading

Once in a lifetime ‘Perfect Pi Day’ today

This morning is once in a lifetime event for you math geeks: “Perfect Pi day.” Once In A Lifetime Math Moment On Saturday’s Pi Day, ‘3/14/15 At 9:26 a.m.’:

piesMarch 14th has been known as Pi Day ever since math promoters realized the fun that could be had with the date, but in 2015, Pi Day really is significant as the mathematical moment of Pi–3.141592653–will only come around once in a lifetime, on March 14th, 2015 at 9:26 a.m. and 53 seconds. It will be a moment captured in mathematical perfection for fans of the mathematical constant representing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

For those like us in the U.S. who use the Western Calendar, we can watch our smartphones and clocks tick over to that time, and have the enjoyment of living during the instant of “Pi” carried out to 10 digits.

A moment like this won’t be back for another hundred years, March 14th, 2115.

So head on out to your favorite restaurant, bakery or pie shop this morning and celebrate “Perfect Pi Day” the right way,  with a slice of your favorite pie.