2016 Election: Bob Shrum Fails to Credit Himself for Hillary Overconfidence

The Eddie Mush of politics, Bob Shrum, has written an article in the October 19 America magazine attempting to explain how Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election. Among the big reasons Shrum cites was overconfidence to the extent that the Hillary campaign declined to even poll the battleground states in the final weeks of the election. 

Shrum rather incompletely attributes her overconfidence to a heavy reliance upon data analytics without mentioning that it was also probably due to almost all media pundits, including a certain someone very familiar to the author, predicting an absolutely certain Hillary victory:

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Finally, speaking of silver bullets, the Clinton campaign did not know the trouble it was in at the end because it relied so heavily on data analytics and in the last three weeks did not conduct telephone polls in the battleground states. Data analytics came into its own politically in Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns; it is value added, but it is not the be-all and end-all in gauging the state of a race. If the assumptions are off, if past history is not prologue, data analytics can offer comfort that you are winning a Michigan or Wisconsin when you are not—which is exactly what happened here. Stan Greenberg, Bill Clinton’s pollster in 1992, calls the decision not to poll the battleground states in the closing weeks “malpractice and arrogance.”

Uh, Bob. It wasn't just that heavy reliance upon data analytics that caused Hillary's overconfidence. It was also caused by the fact that almost every media pundit out there was predicting absolutely certain victory for her. And no one was more overconfident in their arrogant, over-the -top hubris than Bob Shrum himself. If you think your humble correspondent is overstating the extent of Shrum's overconfidence in Hillary's victory then take a look at the video below in which Shrum declared the election OVER on September 2, 2016:

JOHN HEILEMANN: Traditionally in politics, Labor Day is the start of the general election. This summer has felt like the general election started a long time ago. So does Labor Day now mean anything?

BOB SHRUM: Yeah, I think it is the end of the election. I think we are going to look back and say that this period from the Republican convention, Democratic convention, the aftermath, the Trump tweets, the attacks, his ridiculous performance this week on immigration first in Mexico and then in Phoenix. I think we are going to look back on it and say that is when the election was decided. He didn't have much of a chance to begin with I don't think but this was a really fateful period.

HEILEMANN: Do you think the election is over basically?

SHRUM: I do.

Shrum might have criticized Hillary's heavy reliance on data analytics but just two weeks before the election on October 25, Shrum himself was so heavily reliant on inaccurate polling that he angrily attacked Anthony Scaramucci for daring to question the accuracy of those sacred polls projecting certain Hillary victory:

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: In a year like this, would the two of you say that there couldn't be the possibility of an upset? Would the two of you say that if it was 52 to 48 for Brexit and it turned around and it was 52 to 48 to leave the economic union? That did happen in this year. And so what happens in our society right now because of the media bias is a tremendous amount of Trump shaming going on. I've lost friends over being a supporter of Donald Trump. There is a demonization and a caricature of the man that isn't true.

JOHN HEILEMANN: Bob, here is my question for you. What is your experience so far in your many years of doing presidential campaigns. Have you seen a lot of poll rigging over the course of your time even on the losing end of some presidential campaigns? Talk about that.

BOB SHRUM: No, and for someone as smart as Anthony to suggest that somehow or other the polls are rigged because of oversampling is idiotic and shows a misunderstanding of what happens....

We have the public polls converging towards a seven, eight, nine point Hillary Clinton lead. Twelve points today in the Democracy core. Twelve points in the Washington Post/ABC poll. And when you look at individual states, Pennsylvania is gone. Most of the industrial Midwest is gone. Georgia and Arizona are competitive. Hillary Clinton may be ahead there...

Got that? Two weeks before the election and Shrum the Prognosticator declared that Pennsyvania was GONE. Most of the industrial Midwest was GONE. So why bother wasting time on doing polling when Shrum is absolutely certain of Hillary's victory?

Yes, Bob, you can lay the blame on the heavy reliance upon data analytics but a very good reason for Hillary's overconfidence can be found if you just look in the mirror.


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2016 Presidential Bob Shrum Hillary Clinton