Fun with numbers

“I – I don’t believe it!
There she goes again!
She’s tidied up, and I can’t find anything!
All my tubes and wires
And careful notes
And antiquated notions.”– Thomas Dolby

In my professional life and my amateur one I tend to run into a lot of numbers. As a support facilitator and case manager I swim in them. It could be testing numbers in a students full and individual evaluation. It could be grades. It could be performance on state testing. Name a number and I’ve probably seen it.

Shift to home and some of you know I’ve written five books and four of them are on baseball. I would be what you would call an amateur sabermetrician. It’s a fancy sounding term that simply means I enjoy taking baseball statistics and breaking them down to analyze players. I definitely highlight the amateur label as the dream of working in baseball was once alive, but those days are gone.

Political science is a bit of a hobby on the side. It should surprise no one when I say that I am interested in numbers. I’m obviously no Nate Silver, but I find the whole thing fascinating. This is especially true when we come to significant events like the impeachment trial.

I decided to look up some numbers as the trial begins because it will definitely be informative for later on. I saw CBS conduct a lor of polls surrounding the impeachment and all of them were interesting. I’ve hyperlinked the article for anyone that wants a more direct look.

At this point, 56 percent of the voting public wants Trump to be convicted in the Senate. Oddly enough, that seems to match the votes on the constitutionality of trying someone after they’ve left office. I think it would be reasonable to expect that the final verdict will likely come down to the same numbers. We can each hand pick about five or six Republican senators we see voting for conviction. The rest have already turned their head and refuse to listen.

So, what’s the goal here? Obviously conviction is a long-shot at best. Yet, a majority of the people can’t be ignored. More than that, as more and more details become public, that 56 number is going to move. It won’t move much. It never does, but it will move some. The movement is the whole ballgame. If 56 percent becomes 60 percent then we have reached a critical point in the evolution of American politics.

Another landmark poll question in the article asked Republicans if they would leave the party should Trump form a new party. Only 30 percent said no outright. That’s downright scary and just one sign that the GOP is becoming less of a political party and more like a death cult. One pictures Trump mixing the Kool-Aid now for his followers to enjoy.

One of the great myths in the American system is the myth of “bothsidesism”. It’s essentially moral scorched earth. People use the notion to defend not choosing either side. That makes sense. Perverse people use it to defend their side. Essentially what their guys and gals do isn’t so bad because the other side does it.

Except this isn’t true. At least it’s not true in the same degree. If I get caught jaywalking and you get caught committing mass murder you could say we are both criminals with some fidelity, but the context is just outrageously off. Yet, people do the political equivalent everyday. There are still memes that talk about Joe Biden’s corruption. When they compare that to the obvious virtue of Trump and his “obvious sacrifices” for the American people it makes you wonder what world they are living in.

That brings this next poll question into further focus. 57 percent of Republicans view Democrats as the enemy. That’s opposed to 43 percent that view them as just a political opponent. When Democrats were asked the same question, only 41 percent viewed Republicans as the enemy. That’s still not good, but there is clearly a difference in the orthodoxy of both parties.

Cults have a number of defining characteristics. I’m not an expert and I haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn Express lately, but life experience has taught me a few things. You never succeed when you take the whole cult straight on. That’s usually when you have a mass murder-suicide pact on your hands. We don’t want the political equivalent with the GOP. It will obviously get messy and there is no telling what will happen with the collateral damage.

A vast majority of Republicans view a vote to convict as disloyal (71 percent). So, even if you see all the evidence and it clearly points to Trump you are still being disloyal if you vote to convict. Political parties have jumped the shark when they ask their members to be loyal to the party in lieu of being loyal to the country. That’s how we know this thing has become a death cult.

You beat cults by winging off a member at a time. If there are a 1000 members then maybe you wing off two or three percent. If you keep whittling that number down then 1000 might turn into 700 or 800. In electoral politics, it doesn’t have to be much. Biden won by four percentage points in the 2020 election. Imagine if that number were six or seven percent. Imagine if it were eight or nine percent. That’s a virtual landslide in presidential elections.

Similarly, if the congressional elections have a similar swing then you could see Democrats add another 10 to 15 House seats and maybe add four or five Senate seats. That’s just 2022. If you keep the pressure on you can have a similar effect in 2024. Suddenly, you are looking at huge advantages in both houses. The remaining members of the cult will have to recalibrate what they are doing. So, instead of taking them head on, they will come to the realization themselves that something needs to change. That’s how these things work.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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