The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, August 05, 2018


The vast majority of all Democrats and a significant number of Republicans have become obsessed over Russian interference in our elections. The Dems work hard at conflating factually-based evidence of Russian hacking and social media manipulation with evidence-free allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. After all, it serves their political purposes in a futile effort to delegitimize Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton.

The big question is what affect, if any, Russian interference had on voter attitudes and the election result. Common sense tells us that the effect would be very small, given the tsunami of 'legitimate' political adds and media commentary that washes over the electorate in the months before any election. But Dems and #Nevertrumpers are undaunted, clinging to the fantasy that were it not for the Russians, the election result would have been different.

A major political study, out of the University of California and Stanford (certainly not bastions of pro-Trump sentiment), backs up common sense. Using typical academic jargon, the authors summarize their findings:
Significant theories of democratic accountability hinge on how political campaigns affect Americans’ candidate choices. We argue that the best estimate of the effects of campaign contact and advertising on Americans’ candidates choices in general elections is zero. First, a systematic meta-analysis of 40 field experiments estimates an average effect of zero in general elections. Second, we present nine original field experiments that increase the statistical evidence in the literature about the persuasive effects of personal contact 10-fold. These experiments’ average effect is also zero. In both existing and our original experiments, persuasive effects only appear to emerge in two rare circumstances. First, when candidates take unusually unpopular positions and campaigns invest unusually heavily in identifying persuadable voters. Second, when campaigns contact voters long before election day and measure effects immediately — although this early persuasion decays. These findings contribute to ongoing debates about how political elites influence citizens’ judgments.
Heh ... the best estimate for the effects of campaign contact (by far the most common contact with voters in the run-up to an election) is "zero." The implication is clear. Russian on-line mischief is a tiny percentage of all contact that a voter expereiences during an election season. It's difficult to stop and generally annoying, but if you are to believe the Standford-Berkeley study, it's quite likely that it had "zero" impact on the election. ZERO!

Of course, ginning up a phony contoversy over "Russian Collusion," demanding a special prosecutor to "investigate," and providing months and months of fake news stories to buttress the irresponsible allegations of collusion have served to further divide the country, exposed high level corruption in our law enforcement and intelligence communities, and indicated that the DNC and Clinton did in fact work with the Russians in an attempt to discredit Trump. All of that didn't effect the election (although not for lack of trying) but did much to cause tens of millions of people to lose faith in our political discourse, the FBI and the Congress. That is substantially more that a zero effect, and it's not good.