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Nate Silver: 16 things we can - and can't - know about the 2016 presidential election

Jonathan Oosting
on May 28, 2015 at 4:24 PM

LANSING, MI — Nate Silver, a data guru and polling analyst who correctly predicted the winner of every state in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, says the fundamentals of the 2016 race point to a "toss-up."

Silver, an East Lansing native who now runs the FiveThirtyEight website, spoke at the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference on Thursday, where he outlined 16 things to know — or that we don't yet know — about the 2016 election. Archived video is not available, so here's a recap:

1. Hillary Clinton is inevitable*

Yes, the asterisk was Silver's. Clinton appears a lock to win the Democratic nomination, he said, noting that 111 Democrats in Congress have already endorsed her. He gave Bernie Sanders credit for endorsing himself.

2. Democrats have a weak bench, but Hillary isn't running unopposed

Beyond Clinton, Democrats do not have a deep bench, Silver said. The vice president doesn't appear to be a strong candidate, and the third-place finisher in the 2008 primary was John Edwards, whose personal scandals appear to preclude him from office. Sanders is running, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is likely to join the field as well.

3. Democrats are acting like Republicans. Republicans are acting like Democrats.

It's usually the Democrats who are trying to herd cats and Republicans who have a "next-in line" candidate, Silver said. That's reversed this year with a large GOP field fighting to appeal to different segments of their base.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is an interesting candidate, Silver said, "because he can still channel some of the tea party spirit but gets establishment support as well."

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Julian Assange On TPP: Only 5 Of 29 Sections Are About "Traditional Trade," Covers "Essentially Every Aspect Of A Modern Economy

Julian Assange On TPP: Only 5 Of 29 Sections Are About "Traditional Trade," Covers "Essentially Every Aspect Of A Modern Economy"

Covers "essentially every aspect of a modern economy"

by REAL CLEAR POLITICS | MAY 29, 2015

JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS: First of all, it is the largest ever international economic treaty that has ever been negotiated, very considerably larger than NAFTA. It is mostly not about trade, only 5 of the 29 Chapters are about traditional trade.

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FBI Surveillance Planes Being Used in the US

Similar flights have since been spotted near Chicago, Boston and in California, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has filed several Freedom of Information Act requests for more information.

It believes the planes use cameras and infrared imaging technology to photograph people and vehicles in a broad swath of the city; technology to sweep up cellphone data from a plane also exists, but it’s not clear if the FBI flights use it.

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Feds Spend $579K on Anti Rape Video Game For Male Coeds

I think most people would agree that you can’t assign a price to stopping the practice of rape. It stands as one of the most horrible acts that one person can perpetrate on another. However, taxpayer money spent on marketing campaigns aimed at stopping rape with zero chance of making an impact needs to be marked as money wasted in the name of a good cause.

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‘Rand Paul Should Just Run as a Democrat': The New GOP Talking Point

by Andrew Kirell
May 28th, 2015

Over the past 24 hours, an extraordinary conservative talking point was born: If Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) thinks so poorly of his own party’s aggressive foreign policy vision, then he should just pack up and leave.

Senator Paul’s act of heresy? Daring to suggest that the Republican Party’s hyper-aggressive hawkish wing at least partially contributed to the environment in which the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant currently thrives.

Forum: 
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Rand Paul, Ron Wyden to introduce resolution in senate urging the president to declassify 28 redacted pages of 9/11 report

By Brian McGlinchey
May 28, 2015

The growing, nonpartisan drive to declassify a 28-page finding on foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers is about to take an enormous step forward with the introduction of a Senate resolution urging the president to release the material to the public. Dramatically compounding the issue’s visibility, the resolution is being introduced by high-profile Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul of Kentucky.

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John Whitehead Describes How Robots Will Practically Run Our Government and Society in the Near Future on Lions of Liberty

In this episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast, host Marc Clair welcomes the Rutheford Institute‘s John Whithead to discuss his newsest book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People. Mr. Whitehead explains why, less than two years after writing A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, he was compelled to write this follow-up due to the massive amount of technological advancement and increasing government overreach that has taken place in the meantime. John describes how robots may become our newest law enforcers and how digital surveillance – along with physical surveillance via drones – may serve to quell free speech. He answers the question on everyone’s mind: “Is the NSA really listening to all of our phone calls?” Expect to be blown away by the revelations revealed in this shocking episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast, and stay tuned for Marc’s thoughts in the wrap-up rant!

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Disney's Tomorrowland -- a surprisingly positive film

I took a much younger person; she loved it, and so did I. Despite the usual Disney excesses,
the message of the film was very positive about a future built by individualist "dreamers" unfettered by government or other top-down institutional regulators.

It almost seems a sci fi Galt's Gulch, but as usual something goes wrong; yet it ends on an optimistic note.

And mostly it is great fun.

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