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Archive for the ‘California Politics’ Category



“Oswald’s Been Shot” – A Tale of Two Photos

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

oswaldshot1Here’s a Calbuzz Classic, from the 2013 memory file, to commemorate once again the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the most tragic and consequential political event of our lifetimes. For those of a certain age. the live coverage of that wretched weekend began a string  of televised cultural horror shows that, for now, ends with the election of Donald Trump. As the saying goes, he’s no Jack Kennedy.

It’s often said that the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a major league fastball, an act that provides a batter about six-tenths of a second to see the ball, decide whether it’s a strike and then to swing at it.

Given that, it seems about time that photojournalists (average salary $53,750) start getting paid more like ballplayers (average salary $3.2 million).

That conclusion emerges from recalling how two local news photographers performed in the white-hot spotlight of history 50 years ago, when strip club owner Jack Ruby gunned down alleged presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the underground parking garage of the Dallas Police Department.

oswardshot2Six-tenths of a second, in fact, is precisely the difference in the timing of two great photographs taken of the event, one by Dallas Times Herald photographer Robert H. “Bob” Jackson (above), and the other by the late Ira Jefferson “Jack” Beers of the Dallas Morning News (left). Beers’ image captured the instant before Ruby fired, Jackson’s the impact; Beers’ photo for the morning paper went around the world first, distributed by the Associated Press, Jackson’s was published a few hours later, and won the Pulitzer Prize.

In baseball terms, Beers had hit a double, while Jackson launched a grand slam deep into the upper deck.

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat

The bittersweet tale of the two photographers, two cameras and two images made on Nov. 24, 1963 was told splendidly a few years ago by Michael Granberry of the Morning News, a lovely story that became an instant classic amid the canon of assassination journalism.

timesheraldWhile the career of the widely feted Jackson soared, Beers never stopped blaming himself for missing the shot of a lifetime; sick with depression and heart disease, he died at 51.

From that moment on, Mr. Beers “never had as much confidence in himself,” says his daughter, who describes him as “feeling let down. Not by anybody in particular. More by fate, I guess. He always felt like, ‘Why have I had to struggle so hard to finally get the picture and then not get it?’ “

Scott Sommerdorf, a major league photographer and Chief Calbuzz Photo Editing Consultant, explains some of the technical differences between the two photos this way:

“Timing, and composition come into play in assessing these two photos,” he said. “An old phrase; ‘If it’s not good enough, you’re not close enough” is applicable here.

morningnews“(Beers) is  just not close enough to fill the frame – one of the things we always look to do. Jackson’s shot is tighter and gives us more impact when we can read the faces on the men in this frame.

“We could improve Beers’ photo with a crop to make it tighter, but Jackson’s is still superior because of his slightly better timing,” he added. “Of course neither photographer could have planned for this, but Jackson’s timing was much better. Jackson’s is one of just a handful of classic photos we can all easily recall, and the timing is the key to its power.”

What the news business is really like: It’s a plain fact that reporters are different than normal human beings, due to their lack of what we might call the Basic Human Decency and Sensitivity Gene.

So behind the scenes, the events of November 1963 — as horrible and tragic as they were for President Kennedy’s family, the nation and the cause of world peace — were for Beers, Jackson and the staffs of both Dallas papers one helluva’ hometown story, an occasion for their day-to-day caustic and aggressive competition against each other to be elevated to an unprecedented level of ferocity.

Bob-Jackson-at-Barry-Whistler-Gallery-in-Dallas_140053A rare glimpse of that hard-core newsroom perspective may be found in “JFK 50,” a one-hour, online documentary prepared by the Morning News, the only surviving paper in Dallas, as part of its weeks-long spectacular coverage of the anniversary.

“And then we were getting the reports that we’ve got a helluva’ photograph,” recalls Jim Ewell, a reporter for the morning paper, “That Jack Beers had got the world breaking photograph of Ruby shooting Oswald.”

Jackson remembers feeling deeply anxious upon his return to the Times Herald newsroom, unsure of what he captured in his camera of the Oswald shooting:  “Jack Beers’ picture was already on the wire,” he says in the documentary, “and there was a little group of people out at the wire machine looking at it and they called me over and said ‘Do you have anything as good as this?’ And I said, ‘I’ll let you know after I run my film.’” (Photo above © Allison V. Smith)

(Memo to the pre-septuagenarian crowd: once upon a time, long before pixels were invented, photos were taken with something called “film” that was “developed” in a “darkroom” using baths of chemicals and water. But we digress).

castleberry_photoTake that, you bastards: Jackson again: “So it was a pretty tense moment. So I went in, ran my film and (the photo editor) was standing right outside the door. I remember holding up the wet negative, you know and looking at it, and it looked sharp, that was the first thing, it looked sharp.”

Reporter Darwin Payne was one of those hanging around the newsroom, desperately hoping that Jackson had something better than Beers: “There it was, in the water, I guess that’s what it was, cleaning off some of the chemicals, and I said ‘there’s the Pulitzer Prize winner.’”

Vivian Castleberry, one of the few women writers on the paper and the story, recalls the moment she saw the photo this way: “All of Dallas could have heard the screaming from that room when he developed that picture and the image came out of what he had.”

Jackson: “And I remember lettin’ out a yell of some kind and so we made a wet print…and carried it out to the newsroom and then we realized we beat the Dallas News.”

nschiefferhatA footnote to the story: Bob Schieffer, now a CBS-News honcho, but then a grunt reporter for the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, remembers that his editors grabbed the Beers photo off the AP wire and quickly slapped it on the front page of his paper:

“And I grabbed a bundle of those papers myself and took it down to Dealey Plaza and sold them, started selling them, like a paperboy down there ‘cuz this was such a huge scoop,” says Schieffer, “and what made it such a sweet scoop, there was such competition between the Dallas News and the Star Telegram in those days, we were on the streets of Dallas with the Dallas News picture on our front page, on the streets of Dallas, before the Dallas News got their first edition out.”

God we love the news business.

P.S. Another good yarn about a great journalistic performance on 11/22/1963, h/t Rob Gunnison.

Op Ed: Young Man’s Hope for Spirit of California

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

goldengateWhile your aging Calbuzzards are feeling pretty downcast and pessimistic about the future of the state and the nation under the Trump Regime, we’re delighted to offer a brighter vision of Thanksgiving from one of our smart, young contributors.

By Patrick Atwater
Special to Calbuzz

On Tuesday Nov. 8, Californians voted in record numbers to reaffirm our commitment to freedom, openness and really just basic human decency.  This fundamental difference in values offers an alternative future for America and indeed the world.

Civilizations succeed when they open themselves to new ideas and new people from new places. There is nothing great in closing off a country from the world.  Simply compare the backwardness of inward-looking medieval Europe – filled with castle walls – to the flourishing in the open minded Renaissance.

appleproductsWe are the world As an alternative to a walled off America, California builds bridges to every corner of the globe.  Every iconic Apple product says “designed in California,” and Hollywood movies inspire millions.  That open and imaginative attitude is exactly what the world needs to build a bright future.

Today, Californians work to automate driving, pioneer personalized medicine and colonize Mars. Under Gov. Jerry Brown’s leadership, California’s economy has growth to the sixth largest economy in the world, and our once-troubled state finances have stabilized.

Yes, California still has its share of problems.  Housing costs prohibit all but the creative elite from affording life in too much of coastal California.  Too many of our roads are chock full of potholes. The quality of too many of our kids’ schools is too often a function of the zip code they live in.  And a lingering drought challenges us to do more to prepare for an uncertain water future.

potholesCommon sense pothole repair Yet fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with California that cannot be addressed by what is right with California.  Gov. Brown’s call for common sense reforms could lower housing costs. New sensors can map potholes radically more affordably and comprehensively.

The web can connect students with opportunities unimaginable a generation ago and help us move beyond our one-size-fits-all public education system. And new data technologies enable new ways to measure and thus better manage California’s precious water resources. 

Today there is a global crisis of confidence in our basic public institutions. Meanwhile, ultimately none of those promising pilots linked above are certain.  Ultimately, they simply highlight a new frontier for public problem solving. Of course, the pioneers’ journey by land and sea to California was far from certain as well.

patrickatwaterToday’s challenges offer a golden opportunity for Californians to bring that pioneering spirit to bear on our pressing public problems.  America – and indeed the world – needs nothing less from California today.

Patrick Atwater is an author, entrepreneur and frequent Calbuzz commentator.  He currently runs a big water data project to prepare California to adapt to our historic drought and whatever the future holds. 

 

Herr Trump’s Conflicts of Interest Already Starting

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

trumphoteldcBy Dick Polman
From NewsWorks.org

Two months before the inauguration‚ henceforth to be known as Enthronement Day, the craven corruption has already commenced.

Foreign diplomats intend to line Donald Trump’s pockets by staying at his new D.C. hotel, in order to win favors for the nations they represent. They’re not even subtle about it. One of them says: “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor’?”

“His city.” Gee, I always thought it was our city.

We The People‘Emolument’: not a moisturizer. I had long been led to believe, by the Trump campaign and its voting minority (at this writing, 1.7 million fewer voters than Hillary’s campaign), that the Clintons’ alleged mixing of private business and public service was veritably satanic. And yet here we are, suddenly poised on the precipice of an unconstitutional kleptocracy.

If you don’t understand what’s going on, check the dictionary definition of the word emolument: “A salary, fee, or profit from employment or office.” Then take a look at what the Founding Fathers wrote into the U.S. Constitution. Section 1, Article 9 specifically bars all federal officials — no exceptions — from profiteering while in office. Conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill, who profess to revere the literal language of the document, might want to read this slowly for full comprehension:

“… no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatsoever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

trumpeyesLost in transition. Translation: Unless Trump speedily puts his business empire in a blind trust, to be administered by a trustee with no family ties — a move he has refused to contemplate — he will likely be violating the Constitution on Day One of his enthronement. But don’t take my word for it. Trevor Potter, a former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission, frames the issue in language that even the dimmest trumpeting troll should be able to process:

“The founders of this country were greatly concerned about foreign attempts to influence our government. They feared that kings or potentates would make generous gifts to our president in an attempt to sway U.S. policy, so they wrote into the Constitution the emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from receiving any personal financial benefit from a foreign government…

“Some foreign businesses and foreign leaders will want to cozy up to the Trump family, because that is how they are used to doing business and conducting foreign policy. The children will get a raft of proposals for new hotels and golf courses and other investments in places that will offer very favorable terms: cheap land, no red tape in the permitting process, low-interest loans for construction, a guaranteed large management fee in return for the Trump name on the new enterprise …

“This is a colossal mistake. It will produce conflicts of interest of an unprecedented magnitude…We will look like the very sort of kleptocracy we criticize in corrupt dictatorships elsewhere.”

hamiltoncastThe Hamilton distraction. Trump claimed back in August that “the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history” — yet here he is now, on the cusp of institutionalizing pay-to-play profiteering on a global scale. In open defiance of constitutional norms, he even met last week with three India business partners … and yet, public reaction runs the gamut from silence (congressional Republicans) to numbness (most people). And a lot of Trump critics simply prefer to be distracted by his petty tweetstorms about “Hamilton” and “Saturday Night Life.”

Granted, some former White House ethics lawyers, from past Democratic and Republican administrations, warned Trump in a letter last week that profiteering is unAmerican — “You were elected to the presidency with a promise to eliminate improper business influence in Washington. There is no way to square your campaign commitments to the American people, and your even higher, ethical duties as their president, with the rampant, inescapable conflicts that will engulf your presidency if you maintain connections with the Trump Organization” — but hey, who cares, right? The holidays are coming, and there’s lotsa football.

Plus, we have Reince Priebus, the incoming Trump aide. On CNN yesterday, Jake Tapper hit him with the biggie: “As White House chief of staff, you’re supposed to look out for any political or ethical minefields. Is it seriously the position of the Trump transition team that this is not a huge cauldron of potential conflicts of interest?” Priebus replied: “Obviously we will comply with all of those laws and we will have our White House counsel review all of these things.” Yeah, sure. Unless Trump puts his empire in blind trust, Priebus’ assurances are worthless.

HamiltonNo checks and balances. And with the GOP in charge on Capitol Hill, don’t expect anyone to probe Trump by invoking the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. I suppose that could change, if or when his conflicts of interest flagrantly undercut the national interest. But for now, the party’s House sleuths are more likely to investigate the free-speech behavior of the “Hamilton” cast.

Oh, speaking of Alexander Hamilton, here’s something he wrote in 1788 — an eloquent warning about pay-to-play corruption in government: “In the general course of human nature, a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.”

dickpolmanIt’s right here in the Federalist Papers. And it turned up in a 2013 tweet … from Donald Trump.

Dick Polman, former political writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, blogs at  www.newsworks.org, where this column originally appeared.

Gavin’s Status, Plus a Final Word On Prez Polls

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

gavinlookrightBefore we dive into the painful subject of what happened in the presidential race — and why the surveys we all relied on didn’t predict the outcome — we take brief note of a Field Poll released yesterday, which looks forward to the 2018 California governor’s race and contains good news and bad news for Gavin Newsom.

As former mayor of San Francisco, current lite governor and high-profile ballot prop sponsor, Prince Gavin carries name recognition that now places him ahead of the two Republicans and six other Democrats tested in the survey, with 23% of the vote.

However: Newsom, who announced for governor back in February of last year, has failed to  do what Kamala Harris did in the 2016 Senate race – effectively clear the field of potentially strong Democratic candidates, especially not the mayor and the former mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti and Antonio Villaraigosa, and businessman activist Tom Steyer.

Of course, polling this early (and even close to the election as we’ll discuss later) tells us practically nothing except that GOP voters tend to flock to the Republican candidates – like potential contenders Mayors Kevin Faulconer of San Diego and Ashley Swearengin of Fresno, who clock 16% and 11% respectively if they’re identified as Republicans. Without party ID, their support in the survey drops since neither of them has much statewide name recognition.

One interesting side note: 42% of Republicans surveyed seem to prefer Faulconer compared to 31% for Swearengin if told that they’re GOP officeholders. But neither of them supported Donald Trump for president nor do they serve in partisan positions. It’s hard to imagine that if either ran for governor he or she – once identified as a Republican — would do much better than statewide GOP registration, which is now below 30%.

Here’s a nifty graph from the Sacramento Bee of the Field Poll’s findings of where the potential candidates stand when their party ID is included. Much more to come in this one.govrace2018

No, no, no the LAT/USC poll was not right. Now that the gasbag Tony Quinn has attacked us over at the Fox and Hounds blog for making the same wrong prediction about Hillary Clinton’s election as president, along with every other serious political writer (including the Los Angeles Times), we wish to inform has-been Quinn how wrong he is when he says the LA Times/USC poll was “exactly right.”

As we have mentioned before and will say yet again – the LA Times/USC poll was correct in predicting a Trump victory. But its prediction was based on the popular vote – not the electoral vote – and its measure of the popular vote was more wrong (but in Trump’s favor) than almost any other major survey.

What actually happened: 

hillaryafterHad Clinton won 54,287 more votes spread across Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania,  she would have been elected president instead of the loathsome Donald Trump; the pollsters would be congratulating themselves on the accuracy of their national projections; the Democratic Party would not be engaged in baseless angst about its relationship to working-class America; most importantly, Calbuzz would not look stupid, given that we scooped the world on Hillary’s triumph a day before the election.

Moreover, the Los Angeles Times/USC poll would be viewed as inaccurate as it actually was. The poll missed the nationwide vote that it purported to measure by an even larger margin than the rest of the national pollsters. The best pollsters’ estimates, when all the votes are counted, will wind up extremely close to the final popular vote margins. They missed on who would win the most electoral votes and thus be elected (as did we and Times political writers, who forecast she would collect 352 EVs).

As of Tuesday, the popular vote was 62,318,079 for Clinton and 61,166,063 for Trump – a difference so far of 1,152,016 votes or about a 1% margin that is sure to go up as California’s massive vote continues to be counted. Clinton likely will end up with about two million more votes than Trump (and perhaps a 2% margin), despite losing the Electoral College and the presidency thanks to our arcane system that gives small states, not to mention those that historically sanctioned slavery, outsize influence.

Latino-VoterMore people voted for Clinton. As of this writing, Trump is winning Pennsylvania by 68,236 votes, Wisconsin by 27,257 and Michigan by an excruciating 13,080 – a total of 108,573 over three states that Clinton and every pollster in America thought were bricks in the Blue Wall.

What happened? Most national polls measuring Clinton’s total popular vote against Trump were right on the money, but the polls in key states – especially Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania (also Florida and North Carolina) – clearly and incorrectly were based on likely-voter models that failed to take into account the strength of Trump’s appeal to non-urban white voters – men in particular – who unwisely voted with a vengeance against Clinton and the Establishment and for Trump and whatever change they somehow believe he will effect.

Pre-election polling also suggests that FBI Director James Comey’s letter on Clinton’s emails had a powerful effect on voters who were on the fence about backing her. We won’t even mention the fact, (now turning to Trump Talk, in order to mention it after saying we won’t) that the MSM gave Trump a billion-dollar free ride to rise in the polls through the GOP primaries and only rarely caught up with his lies and outrages. Or that they hounded her about her damn emails as if they were the equivalent of all his misdeeds, misbehaviors and worse. Asshats.

According to the exit polls (which are suspect on various counts) not enough women found the prospect of the first non-male president, let alone Trump’s favorable views on sexual assault, compelling enough arguments to cross over party lines. This shows that party, more than any other demographic characteristic, almost always is the most powerful predictor of an individual’s vote.

The Clinton campaign writ large – and it’s a mistake to blame the candidate alone for this – made some spectacular tactical blunders in failing to nail down its blue firewall in the industrial Midwest and instead dabbled in places like Arizona, which were never necessary to reach 270 electoral votes.

trumpOf course it was the economy, stupid. The problem was NOT that Clinton failed to offer an adequate message to working-class voters, despite the latest incorrect conventional wisdom narrative concocted by  MSM commentators and much of the Democratic Party’s Sanders wing.

According to the exit polls (despite our doubts, they are at least a data point that roughly indicate trends), Clinton beat Trump 52-41% among voters with incomes under $50,000, while Trump won 49-47% among voters with incomes greater than $50,000. The critical voters, if the exit polls can be believed, were the 31% of voters with incomes between $50,000 and $99,999, who voted 50-46% for Trump.

In most parts of the country these are middle-class voters differentiated even more so by education: college graduates would have elected Clinton 52-43% while non-college graduates chose Trump 52-44%. That is THE difference, since both groups of voters comprised half of the exit-poll sample.

The data confirm what Jonathan Rothwell, a Gallup economist, wrote back in July: “Americans who have a favorable opinion of Trump are slightly more likely to be employed and no more likely to be out of the labor force than those who see him unfavorably.”

Gossip-300x223Psst! She got more votes. What the sponsors of the exit polls – the networks, cables, big papers and wire services – have never reported clearly (we had to calculate the numbers) is that in their exits, Trump beat Clinton 46.8-46.7% in the popular vote.

Which is, as we know by now, DEAD WRONG. At last count Clinton was ahead of Trump 47.8% to 46.9%. Of course, all this is within margins of error but as pollsters are happy to explain, the margins of error only get larger when you start looking at subsamples of the total population.

So recognizing that the numbers here for Latinos especially are likely understated, let’s not sugarcoat what happened last week in the election: white people — especially white men without a college education — put Donald Trump in the White House. People of color and those with college educations, would have overwhelmingly elected Clinton, period, paragraph, end of story.

racevoteall

Remorse and regret. Along with both presidential campaigns and virtually every political reporter in the world, we trusted horserace polls that foresaw a Clinton victory.

Beyond that, however, our President Clinton forecast consistently rested on one extraordinary fact: every pre-election survey (as well exit polls) found that nearly two-thirds of all voters say Trump is unfit to president.

Given that, we didn’t believe he could be elected — apologies for a failure of imagination.

 

 

 

How Donald Trump Pulled Off the Unimaginable

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

trumpfaceAs a practical matter, why did Donald Trump win the presidency against all rational expectations?

Because:

– While he lost the popular vote by at least a million votes* – almost exactly as predicted by the polls  – he won the electoral vote by a handful of votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania from white voters in rural areas and small towns.

– FBI Director James Comey’s interference in the election further decimated Hillary Clinton’s favorability after a billions of dollars worth of false-equivalency reporting by a mainstream media – especially cable news – that gave Trump a free pass on his proposals, lies and behavior, while hammering Clinton on her handling of her emails.

– Neither pollsters nor either campaign fully grasped how significantly Trump had motivated non-college-educated white men in non-urban America to get out and vote. Their margins overtook Clinton’s strong appeal in cities and suburbs by just enough to allow Trump to squeak out victory. As Nate Silver has noted, had one in 100 voters shifted from Trump to Clinton, she would have won the electoral college 307-231.

remnickThe polls were right. Strange as it may seem, nationwide surveys by mainstream pollsters were off only by the margins of error in their surveys – including the outlying Los Angeles Times/USC tracking poll that missed predicting the national vote by just as much or more than traditional polling. Their models for likely voters simply didn’t anticipate Trump’s effect in the countryside.

This is why we will have President Donald Trump – three words that virtually no one, especially Calbuzz, ever expected to say.

No one has summed up this frightful turn in America better than David Remnick in the New Yorker who wrote:

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety…

The commentators, in their attempt to normalize this tragedy, will also find ways to discount the bumbling and destructive behavior of the F.B.I., the malign interference of Russian intelligence, the free pass—the hours of uninterrupted, unmediated coverage of his rallies—provided to Trump by cable television, particularly in the early months of his campaign.

We will be asked to count on the stability of American institutions, the tendency of even the most radical politicians to rein themselves in when admitted to office. Liberals will be admonished as smug, disconnected from suffering, as if so many Democratic voters were unacquainted with poverty, struggle, and misfortune.

There is no reason to believe this palaver. There is no reason to believe that Trump and his band of associates—Chris Christie, Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Pence, and, yes, Paul Ryan—are in any mood to govern as Republicans within the traditional boundaries of decency. Trump was not elected on a platform of decency, fairness, moderation, compromise, and the rule of law; he was elected, in the main, on a platform of resentment. Fascism is not our future—it cannot be; we cannot allow it to be so—but this is surely the way fascism can begin.

History was aligned against Clinton As Calbuzz noted in mid-October, “After two terms of one party or the other in power, American voters have generally sought a change.”presidents

 It’s extraordinary when a party keeps the White House after two terms.

Still, in the face of Trump’s wholesale attacks on women and minorities, his blatant lies and indiscretions, and his abject unfitness for high office, it seemed impossible that he could win the presidency, even by the tiniest of margins in a few upper Midwest industrial states. Call it a failure of imagination.

The worst and longest-lasting impact, of course, will be on the U.S. Supreme Court where he will appoint justices who will not – as Clinton’s appointees would – uphold abortion rights, overturn Citizens United, stand fast on immigration reforms, civil and voting rights and generally safeguard minority rights and progressive values.

But he will also have a free hand to cancel executive orders on climate change and nuclear arms controls and overturn health care for millions of low-income Americans, just for starters. Only where he is constrained by the Democrats in the Senate – who now must do exactly what the Mitch McConnell’s Republicans have done for eight years – is there hope that Trump’s retrograde agenda can be thwarted.

badpollingP.S. The Los Angeles Times and USC, by running a tracking poll that was always 6 percentage points too favorable to Trump, came out on the right side of the margin of error for the final decision. But it is intellectually dishonest and just plain wrong for David Lauter to write “the poll now looks like the only major survey to see the wave coming.”

Especially when he and a colleague wrote, just before the election, that they expected Clinton to win with 352 electoral votes.

Yes, Lauter allowed, the Times/USC poll was “at least as accurate as the majority of surveys that found Clinton ahead by 4 or 5 points.” A slight bow to his own poll’s error. But his survey was measuring the popular vote and if the New York Times estimate that Clinton will end up with about 1.2 million* more votes than Trump, then his survey’s prediction that Trump would win the popular vote will be off by more than top-drawer traditional surveys.

*I addition to the NYT, Nate Silver notes that “Clinton leads in the popular vote count. She should eventually win the popular vote by 1 to 2 percentage points, and perhaps somewhere on the order of 1.5 million to 2 million votes, once remaining mail-in ballots from California and Washington are counted, along with provisional ballots in other states.”