Behavior Economics

Predictions, Pundits, and the 2016 Election: The “Are You Happy Now?” Edition

During the election of 2016, which will live in infamy, Susan Sarandon, famously said that electing the Ol’ Pussy Grabber would be better for the country and the world than electing Hillary Clinton because it would force people to choose sides and organize against him. In short, she thought a win for the Ol’ Pussy Grabber would bring the “revolution” immediately, and she didn’t really trust Clinton. In the stupid vernacular of the day, people would be woke. I’m not even sure how to use this term: I am woke; I was woke yesterday, but I’m not woke today? We are woking the world? What kind of stupidity is that? Anywho, that’s a rabbit hole for another blog post to fill in.

Like anyone really needs to revisit this shyte, but here she is bloviating the contents of her “political” insights all over Chris Hays over at MSNBC:

What the fuck does that or did that even mean? Bring the revolution immediately? Are we revolting now? A couple people have written in to tell me how revolting this blog is — and I’m not talking about my mom; she tells me that ALL OF THE TIME… unless, of course, my mom has gotten internet savvy and figgered out catfishing. Do you think? Nah. That’s not possible, right? That’s just me being paranoid, right? Right? RIGHT? MOM!!?! Garsh darn it! Cut it out! I KNOW it’s YOU! Man, she always does this to me. YOU ALWAYS DO THIS TO ME! You always do this…

Anywho! Was she talking about #TheResistance? That was her “revolution?” I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. But at the time, I didn’t pay much attention to it other than to make this meme, which didn’t go viral by the way! Don’t ya hate it when you make a meme and it doesn’t go viral immediately… or ever? Why can’t you people make this meme go viral? Hunh? Is that asking too much? Share this meme until people begin unfriending you and unfollowing you for it, dammit!


I thought it was pretty darn funny — I KNOW, Mom, no one else “gets” my sense of humor! Christ, does she ever stop? The moment has passed. That ship has sailed.

I guess I also made this non-viral meme — although it got a little more play on Twitter — in response to Bernie Bros, Steinskyites, and Johnson fappers — do these groups have cute little nicknames? I don’t know. These seem appropriate, though.


Someone suggested that I include a couch in the choices. It also got a pingback from my good friend, Shmaltz, from over at Shmaltz and Menudo, the very thorough blog (It’s amazing that way. I really don’t know how she does it. It’s really worth a visit just for that reason alone.)

All right smart-mouth, chimes in my favorite drunk uncle, git to the POINT!

hippo-dungspray_bots-4459Okay, so here’s the point. We all made predictions about the election. Such FUN! I’m surprised no one talks about a post-presidential election-depression like you do after football season or the end of a TV show season or pregnancy or whatever. I mean, for people like me, it is engrossing, amirite? And this election was especially so, and the good news is it hasn’t let up! The shit keeps flying as the shit show continues and the shit hits the fan! It’s like we’re living behind a helicoptering hippo!

In particular, Sarandon made a prediction that the revolution would be immediate after the election of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber. She’s been asked about it since the election, and, to be generous, she’s equivocated on her answer.

Behavioral Economics & Decisions Under Uncertainty

Behavior economists look at predictions based on the choices people make. In essence, they are saying that in order to make a decision, whether you know it or not, you make a prediction about the outcome of the choice. In order to evaluate the choices that the electorate made, we’ll use the tome that Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky edited, Choices, Values, and Frames.

Conventional Political Wisdom

Conventional wisdom holds that the incumbent has several distinct advantages: (1) free publicity that comes with holding elected office, (2) being perceived as being more experienced, and (3) raising funds more effectively. The incumbent is also perceived as responsible for the current conditions, so the policies of the incumbent become the reference point that the challenger’s policies are compared to. So, one of the deciding factors is the economy or the condition of the country. Everybody knows that when the economy is good or acceptable, voters play it safe, and vote for the incumbent. When the economy is bad, they  vote for the challenger. But, in 2016 there weren’t no incumbent, were there? So, what then?

Loss Aversion Versus Risk Seeking

If you’re playing it safe, behavior economists label this loss aversion. If you’re a gamblin, it is risk seeking. Loss averse is the behavior that occurs when people prefer a sure thing to taking the risk of losing something. Risk seeking is the opposite, so people are willing to take a chance at losing something in order to gain something. Behavior economists have determined that the default condition for people is loss averse. Losses loom larger than corresponding gains is the rule of thumb that has been verified in a wide variety of decisions in a wide variety of situations.

There are two salient pieces of information that people use: (1) do they perceive their choice in terms of gains or losses and (2) what is their point of reference for the perceived gains or losses.

If we take the Obama presidency and the state of the US in his last year as our reference point, then we are asking whether the electorate was loss averse and seeking to maintain the status quo or were they risk seeking and willing to take a big loss if they also had a chance at a big change? The punditry has said Clinton was a de facto incumbent in that election, so that’s it.

Behavioral Economics & the 2016 Election

Can we break them down in the terms that behavioral economics prefer?

I voted for Hillary Clinton.

  • Condition of the US: A-OKAY.
  • A President Clinton will not make things worse. She should continue the slow improvement to the economy and carry on the satisfactory domestic and foreign policies of Obama!

I voted for the Ol’ Pussy Grabber #1.

  • Condition of the US: SUCKS! Burn it all down! Burn, baby, burn!
  • A Clinton presidency would just continue sinking the US! The Ol’ Pussy Grabber will make ‘Merica great by mumbo-jumbo derp and blargh draining the swamp can’t be bought (ha ha!) magic and wishful thinking.

I voted for the Ol’ Pussy Grabber #2.

  • Condition of the US: bad.
  • President Obama couldn’t get us out of it. A President Clinton would just continue the same ineffective stuff. The Ol’ Pussy Grabber just might shake things up enough to improve them! Surely, the programs that help my white ass aren’t by the gob’ment! And, he’ll just go after all the black and brown takers and leave all the god-fearing white folk alone, right?

I voted for Gary Johnson.

  • Condition of the US: bad.
  • Neither a President Clinton or the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has the heuvos or interest to change it, but my man, Gary the Johnson haz all the johnsons needed to make the changes we need! Weed for EVERYONE! All the weed taxes will save us! Praise the lord and pass the doobie, bro!

I voted for Jill Stein.

  • Condition of the US: bad, real bad. People are getting vaccines and their kids ain’t getting measles and whooping cough and mumps which is totally good for them!
  • No body else running realizes that we all need to be like volunteer tourists and embrace the peace and tranquility that only the white person’s burden can bring.

I voted for either Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

  • Condition of the US: okay. It don’t need my help.
  • A President Clinton will continue the okay policies of Obama.
  • There’s no way the Ol’ Pussy Grabber can win, so I can vote for one of these yahoos and continue picking up groovy Occupy/Libertarian chics and denounce the status quo that I secretly support and so do they! Win-Win, right! Amirite?

I didn’t vote #1.

  • Condition of the US: I don’t know, don’t care.
  • My vote won’t make a difference, anyway. All politicians are alike. There is no difference between the political parties.
  • Whoever wins will just continue with more of the same.

I didn’t vote #2.

  • Condition of the US: okay. I’m okay, you’re okay, everybody’s okay.
  • Clinton will win. She doesn’t need my vote. Besides voting is hard.

I didn’t vote #3.

  • Condition of the US: SUCKS!
  • Clinton will win, so it will continue sucking. Nothing I can do about it.

The Bernie Bro or Broette!

  • Condition of the US: SUCKS!
  • A President Clinton will just continue the give away of America to corporatists. The Ol’ Pussy Grabber will do something really stupid that everyone will hate. Then, we’ll have no choice but to protest in the streets (which is cool) and America will LISTEN (really, this time they will) and we must as a people rise up to ensure that they are afforded the same dignity and respect as ourselves (Spats McGee).
  • I wanted Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! He totally woulda beat the Ol’ Pussy Grabber! And, I firmly believe that the evil Dems stole all the nominations from him, so to punish them for their insolence, I won’t vote (Clinton’ll win, so it won’t matter any way…. he he he… I get to be childish and still get my way!) We’ll never know if Bernie woulda won, so you can STFU about it now, too. Dems couldn’t’ve stole the nomination from Bernie: it’s their party, they make the rules, and they followed them. So, STFU about that, too.

Are You Happy Now?

How did these predictions turn out? Are you happy with your choice? Would you do it differently? Do you like the policies that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has enacted? Do you like the composition of the Supreme Court as of today? Are you looking forward to the Ol’ Pussy Grabber nominating someone to replace Anthony Kennedy? You happy with the legislative chaos? The foreign policy chaos? The fucking chaos that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber stirs up because that is the only thing he can do? You think this is how it should be? Is the Ol’ Pussy Grabber a “good” president?

How many people voted for the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and are now dismayed and professing surprise and even shock that he is, “gasp” and “clutch my fucking pearls, Batman,” taking away THEIR healthcare! THEIR coal mining-specific social support! And, isn’t protecting THEIR jobs!

These memes didn’t go viral, either.

What the fuck did these people expect? He’d only hurt the bad people? The blacks and browns, maybe? That good white folk would be restored to their Constitutional right to use nigger and spic, again? The gob’ment don’t provide the programs white folks use; the Ol’ Pussy Grabber will only go after the takers, you know the coloreds, blacks, browns, queers, Muslims, and such, not good god-fearing white folks! Color me disgusted.

Easy there! My favorite drunk uncle slurs looking a little worried. Steady! Steady, lad! Here have a nip o’ this, you’ll feel better. You know your really fucked when your favorite drunk uncle is worried about how emotional you’re getting.

So, did people view a Clinton win as a gain or a loss? She represented a continuance of the status quo. Did they view an Ol’ Pussy Grabber win as a gain or a loss? He represented change.

Shifting Opinion

Can we all agree that the Repubes have been successful at painting the condition of the USofA as SUCKS regardless of its actual condition for a couple of generations now? Because of this Clinton was viewed as a loss, so people were risk seeking, meaning they were willing to take a chance on an unknown quantity (the Ol’ Pussy Grabber) and not continuing the status quo (Clinton).

The Comey October Surprise

Or was that the way it went? By the beginning of October, Clinton had successfully framed the Ol’ Pussy Grabber as a big risk and people were shying away from him. She was cruising to a win if the polls were to be believed. But, then Comey announced further questions about her emails, and, she began to look like a risk, too. The difference between them was reduced. She seemed as bad as he was, so all things now being equal, enough people were risk seeking to elect the Ol’ Pussy Grabber. The challenger whose expected value is substantially below the incumbent’s is unlikely to be elected even in the presence of substantial risk seeking, according to Kahneman and Tversky. See what I wade through, so you don’t have to? In this case, the challenger’s expected value was above or nearly the same as the incumbents, and, therefore, squeaked out a victory.

You can throw in all the Russian fake-news social media bots, voter suppression, Bernie Bros, you want, by election day, enough people had questions about Clinton to throw in with the Ol’ Pussy Grabber. It’s like sportsball fans complaining about the refs. Refs don’t score points. If Clinton had been viewed as having a value substantially greater than the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s, she woulda won. It was close, so only a little nudge woulda shifted the scales. It is clear that the Comey announcement was the deciding factor.

Bernie Bros: Fuck Clinton at all Costs

But, before we go, let’s address the abandonment of Clinton by Bernie Bros (and Broettes) who jumped ship like rats off the Queen Anne’s Revenge! Let’s frame the choice of the Bernie Bros to sit out the election at best, snipe at Clinton, or vote for the Ol’ Pussy Grabber at worst in terms of loss aversion. Bernie Bros saw the state of the US as bad. We were being run for the 1% by the 1% of the 1%. Clinton was more of the same. The onliest person who could save us all was the Bernster. Seeing Clinton as a sell-out mortal enemy made it hard for the Bros to turn around and embrace her. They became so risk seeking that Sarandon’s view that electing the Ol’ Pussy Grabber would bring on the “revolution” immediately seemed like it was better than maintaining the status quo of being co-opted by the likes of Clinton and Dem company.

And that is how the left shot itself in the dick and we all became the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid. Let’s not do this again, okay? Let’s learn our lesson here, all right? Can we? Please? Purty please? Do you really want this mishegas to continue?

8 replies »

    • Howdy James!

      Voting trends and patterns are interesting, aren’t they?
      When people are afraid, they tend to vote conservative. Perhaps you recall the ebola being carried over the southern border by ISIS members thing a couple of years ago. Pure scare tactic to get people to vote conservative.
      When the economy is good, the incumbent or the candidate most closely associated with the incumbent wins, unless of course you’re Al Gore. D’oh!
      When the economy is bad, the challenger wins because people are willing to take a chance on a big loss for a big gain.
      When people know that their neighbors have voted, they’re more likely to vote.

      These things have all been confirmed through research numerous times.


      Liked by 1 person

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