Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The implication of the Clinton electability argument

During the primary, many pundits and other participants in political fandom made the argument that Clinton is more electable than Sanders. In light of more recent remarks about Sanders supporters electing Trump, I think it's useful to explicitly tease out the implication of the Clinton electability argument.

The electability argument goes like this:
  1. The universe of potential Clinton voters contains X number of people who would vote for Trump or abstain from voting if Sanders were nominated.
  2. The universe of potential Sanders voters contains Y number of people who would vote for Trump or abstain from voting if Clinton were nominated.
  3. X > Y
  4. Therefore, Clinton is more electable than Sanders.
That is, the electability argument is based on the premise that Clinton voters are more pro-Trump/more likely to abstain from voting than Sanders voters. During the primary, it was remarkable that the same pro-Clinton camp that argued that Sanders people were moral monsters were also implicitly arguing that Clinton people have a much higher level of pro-Trump sympathy.

After the primary, it is remarkable that premise 3 has been somehow reversed. Whereas previously we were supposed to vote for Clinton to please the crypto-Trumpists in her camp, now apparently it is the Bernie people who have more crypto-Trumpists in their camp. Of course, if the new story is the true story, then that also means the electability argument used during the primary was totally backwards.