The unrelenting smartypants of Mark Penn

Don’t you just love it when a spectacular failure wants a no-backsies do-over as Wold’s Smartest Man? Mark Penn has re-surfaced with an op-ed in The Hill.

Today we live in a polling bubble …

How else can one explain that although many polls showed a close race last November, almost no one (myself included) predicted a lopsided victory for Donald Trump in the Electoral College.

…he asked? After running Hillary’s first-to-worst campaign in 2008, Penn has, uh – what has he done? Oh, that’s right, nothing. It’s the politics game: He effed up on a grand scale, now he’s a made man.

The Hill, of course, is in no mood to take any note of Penn’s epic incompetence, stupidity, or penchant for giving candidates sterling advice like this:

Penn advised Clinton not to apologize for voting for the Iraq War, insisting that “It’s important for all Democrats to keep the word ‘mistake’ firmly on the Republicans.” Clinton followed this strategy. She would only apologize six years later in 2014.

So, we get this editorial. And why shouldn’t we, when it’s JUST. THIS. HOT?

Why the polls are wrong about Trump. Again.

…except for being wrong about the polls being wrong, this is a great headline. After Comey dropped his last-minute bombshell, the voters shifted about a net 5 points away from Clinton. The few groups who were still polling picked up on it, but most the big names had already packed up. Gone home. Still – look out!

…several of the same organizations are using their polls to proclaim that he has had the worst start of any modern president and the worst ratings of a president at this time in his presidency. While Trump is no FDR when it comes to forming a political coalition, a fairer reading of the polls and the election results shows his performance is probably 5 or 6 points better than is being touted…

Mark’s a science-pollster, so he would know. Let’s get knee-deep in the varnish stripping and number crunching and regression analyses, shall we?

There are several reasons for this mismatch between likely reality and the interpretations we are seeing.

Wait. “Likely reality”? This is about your feelings? I thought you were a polls guy, Mark. Where are the data?

Most polls have moved away from voters or likely voters to U.S. adults with no screen for registration or even citizenship. And the questions often focus on storylines and narratives critical of Trump. Rarely are they written from the perspective of having missed the major swings and economic discontent that upended the election.

Screening? Storylines? Narratives?! What’s wrong with asking “Do you have a favorable view of Trump?” What’s so fuzzy about that? This apparently is the newer and wiser Mark Penn, the not-spectacularly-stupid genius. He’s going to sidestep facts and figures now, y’know, all that stuff that Trump made a mockery of, cough.

The current crop of stories also sets Trump ratings expectations, as though America went through the typical process of coming together around the winner.

Jesus Christ. Donald Trump is so divisive a figure that America couldn’t “come together” over his election. This is why polling can’t measure his true popularity, get it? Me neither.

Instead we had recounts, Russian conspiracies, investigations and rallies unlike any seen after any election.

Because of unforeseen events, acts of god, black swans and forces majeure, not that any of these is a crime perpetrated by one of the candidates – a well-known pillar of society – the perception of an unpopular president is seeping into the data. Now say my name! Mark Penn!

The country was sharply politically divided on Election Day and remains that way today. That is the backdrop of any realistic assessment of what is happening in America.

The country was deeply divided on Election Day, not that it was anyone’s fault, not by way of anything you could call relevant, and there’s certainly nothing to see here. But if Americans have known about and hated this Donald Trump for a long time, it only means they harbor a secret love for the guy. It’s just buried deep inside. ‘Wish I knew how to quit you, Adolf.’ THAT’S the hole that Mark Penn will be digging in for all eternity, Sisyphus in reverse. Hup – is that the phone?


YOU: Hullo?

MARK: Hi my name is Mark. I’m conducting a poll on people’s political opinions. I’d like to ask you some questions about President Donald Trump…

YOU: Fuck him.

MARK: Ah yes, I see. Of course. Then again, on second thought, you might saaay…

YOU: Fuck him.

MARK: GAH. Okay, fine, but what about this? What if, uuh, what if he….


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