On Monday I predicted that Rubio would outperform expectations in New Hampshire because the voting in primaries is – in my view – probably rigged. Instead, Rubio dropped like a rock after his Saturday debate in which Christie annihilated him.
So I was totally wrong about Rubio getting a suspicious bump up in the polls. When I wrote my prediction I had not yet seen the Rubio-robot meme take off and dominate the news cycle.
Instead of Rubio doing well in New Hampshire, the guy who annihilated Rubio at the debate (Christie) failed to get enough of a bump to stay in the race. [Edited]
We also saw John Kasich outperform expectations. Or as I like to call him, the tiny spare tire for the establishment. If Jeb and Rubio can’t get traction, Kasich is the last hope of some sort of “normal” Republican candidate.
In past posts, I have often said that predicting the future is hard, but you can fit any conspiracy theory to the past. I’m going to demonstrate that now.
Remember, my Rubio prediction was 100% wrong. That is objectively true. No wiggle room at all.
Now watch me describe my wrong prediction as being more right than wrong. I do this for entertainment, and to make the point that you can force any data to fit the past if you try hard enough. I’ll do that for you now.
My prediction of a strong second-place showing for Rubio had two purposes. One purpose was to test the Master Persuader filter’s ability to predict. But the other purpose was to make cheating in New Hampshire harder by focusing some attention on the possibility. (Yes, I did that intentionally.)
So imagine you are a hypothetical vote-rigger for the GOP and you were planning to give Rubio an “unexpected” boost in New Hampshire. You would have to pivot fast after Rubio’s debate failure because otherwise it would be too suspicious to give him a big second-place win.
So what do you do?
If I’m the GOP vote-rigger in New Hampshire, and Rubio is off the table (at least for this state), I would go for Plan B. And that plan looks like this:
1. Prevent Cruz from coming in second, at all costs, to slow his momentum.
2. Punish Christie for taking out Rubio.
That’s where John Kasich (the emergency spare tire) comes into play. Kasich is a credible placeholder to keep Cruz at bay until the GOP can figure out how to rehabilitate Rubio or make Jeb more credible for upcoming primaries.
At this point in the election cycle, the fixers could ignore Trump until the field narrows and they can pour support into whoever is the anti-Trump that remains.
Before Rubio’s debate failure, an election fixer could plausibly give Rubio an unexpectedly good New Hampshire result. But after the Rubio-robot meme, the best fixer strategy would be to move votes from Rubio and Christie to Kasich, and give Kasich the second-place win that keeps Cruz in third.
My Rubio prediction was 100% wrong, and his bad debate performance is probably the reason. As far as I know, there is NO EVIDENCE of any foul play in the voting. But given Rubio’s debate disaster, the vote in New Hampshire did go the way a vote-rigger in the GOP would want it to go.
And that’s how you make any data fit the past.
Update: Readers and tweeters corrected my error in the original post here in which I indicated Christie underperformed. He actually fell into the predicted range based on the latest polls before the vote. But keeping true to my “any data fits any theory” theme, he could have earned a bump in votes from the debate and had it denied.