All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg - #AIS FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver on how gamblers think

We’re really excited to have our next speaker here. Nate silver is the editor-in-chief of 538

and he

Came to our poker game recently. Oh Nate came to our game. Come on out Nate ran the game over

Who was the big who’s the big loser that night?

I think wait who was the big loser cuz Nate was the big winner, right? Well, I he was the big winner

I was basically trying to think Jason’s here just kind of a loser that night. I think I don’t donated a little bit to Nate

Silver’s new

Model a lot of why but model is fun. I think you got the model is flat coming to the game

This was the largest poker when you’ve had in your life largest cash game win. Yeah by a factor of five

To two. Okay. Yeah. Well, we’re happy to donate you’re getting by the way your speaker fee. I just canceled it

Okay, but ladies and gentlemen Nate silver on the mind of a gambler

I’m really excited to talk to you all today

I’m working on a book about gambling risk and rationality. I prefer the term critical thinking to rationality

It’s partly involved talking to people about global societal risks

So talking to people about the risk of nuclear war, which is like not very cheery conversations, by the way

But also people who take risk for a living or at the very least

Manage risk and have real skin in the game and not just some actuary getting a salary there

They’re assessing risk and making big decisions financially mostly based on on that assessment

So I’ve started out talking to poker players and sports bettors. I’m a former poker player myself. I still play recreationally a lot

I’m currently I think number 301 in the global poker rankings. Not that I looked it up every morning

But mostly it’s the examples of talking to other

Fantastic poker players and sports bettors about their process and I’m also talking now more to VCS

To founders to hedge fund managers, for example

There are a lot of similarities. There’s a certain type of person that’s been talking about today

Personality traits modes of thinking it even affects maybe their political views a little bit and you see a lot of things in common

So I gave you some of this context already this is a work in progress

I mean the book is kind of halfway 0% written about 50% research. So things may change. I’m evolving and learning and correcting things

But it’s fun to write a book

It’s fun to have great conversations with the besties and other people and really kind of experience this firsthand

So I’m going to start with some things that I think are relatively straightforward and obvious

And then get into things that are maybe less so toward the end

But one really obvious one is that successful gamblers think probabilistically. It’s not just a matter of

understanding probability but being

comfortable with

Uncertainty, being willing to take bets on an uncertain basis. That’s kind of table stakes for even getting into any field involving risk

In poker at least you probably also need a fair amount of mathematical ability

There are now these things called solvers in poker that come up with a game theory optimal strategy for every situation

It’s a very complex situation. It’s way too hard to memorize. You have to kind of develop a mathematical intuition behind it

But even players with rare exception Phil Hellmuth might be the one exception actually, right

but even players who are known as being field players or

Exploitative players people who rely on tells and psychology and table talk

I talked to Daniel Negreanu, for example, one of the probably five best poker players of all time

And he told me that about four years ago

He realized that these solver kids as he calls them the math whizzes were

Were better than him at least at certain forms of poker and he totally remade his game to look at computer solutions

To be more studious and mathematical and it’s improved his results quite a bit

In the VC field, I don’t know if you’re necessarily doing as much modeling as I might in election model, for example

But at the very least people understand the intuition and the intuition is you need both

But I think the intuition is more important than the in the application

Number two this one ought to be really obvious

But it needs to be said successful gamblers are highly competitive things that you hear from people

Over and over again is I want to kind of prove people wrong. I want to outsmart the competition

I want to show who’s best. It’s almost more of this motivation than financial motivation, I think

It’s partly a matter of you can’t settle for being average as a gambler the average poker player loses money to the house

So does the average sports better? So therefore you have to deviate from average in some ways

But kind of one conclusion I’ve come to talking to people this book is that human beings are our

Competitive species right to get people to get along in society is pretty hard

You know one good thing about capitalism is that you have some managed type of competition

Democracy is kind of a type of competition and that’s probably a better way to kind of challenge these conflicting urges we have

Than things that are too centrally planned

But certainly people in this room people I talked to are on the high end of the competitive scale

Successful poker players and sports bettors have to care a lot about small edges

It’s the nature of placing bets in the field where you lose money on average

So a very good sports better might win 55 or so percent of his or her bets

You have to win 52 and a half percent to make up for the house cut for the rake or the big as different names

That means you can’t afford to make 1% errors, right?

You really have to squeeze every last drop of expected value or EV out of any situation that you’re in

This makes people very very very detail oriented poker players tend to be very studious about their craft

They really kind of love poker. You can’t just get the big things right in poker

You have to get the small things right too. It’s too competitive a field right now

This might not be as true by the way of


The average investment makes money it may not make a above-market return

But it’ll make money which is not true for the average poker hand that you play

By the way casinos too if you talk to casino executives

You might think you walk into a casino and everything that you do is maximized to them to make the maximum amount of revenue possible

Not really, right? They’re pretty good at the big stuff. They protect their downside risk a lot

But they’re not maximized as much as you would think because when you have like a license to make money

You don’t have to get the small stuff, right?

But in poker where only 10% of players probably make money in the long run you have to be very very detail oriented

Number four you see here a Paul Graham thread about Elon actually

Successful gamblers are contrarian at least to some degree and again

I’m kind of repeating myself a little bit

But there’s there’s no edge if someone if everyone does the same thing in the same way

You have to have some angle that you think makes you better than what the market thinks and the markets pretty good

So it’s a hard thing to manage

I think risk takers tend to view themselves as

Outsiders whether they are or not is probably an open question

What they think of themselves is thinking differently from the rest of the world potentially

this can also make them potentially like a little bit annoying like outside of investing and

Gambling context right where if you’re kind of always the person who says well actually

That can get kind of pushed back in social settings for example or on Twitter

But you can’t kind of settle for having the average view because the average view doesn’t do better than than the market

There is a fine line between being ahead of the curve and a permanent contrarian

In sports betting if there’s a line that’s constantly mispriced then I can just bet that I don’t want that

Market to correct itself. I want to keep exploiting that error in pricing right in

VC I mean you might want to find a founder or a sector or a company

That’s undervalued by the market, but eventually you want that sector to grow you want to attract more talent

you want to attract future fundraising rounds, so you kind of are more being ahead of the curve by

By half a year to a year. I think in some ways. It’s analogous to real estate

We are trying to kind of anticipate where the market will be in the future

And that’s a subtly different skill than being maybe contrarian per se

But related at least

Number five and again this might be a little bit redundant, but successful gamblers

Take shots, and this is very intuitive in VC where you have a field where you might

Might only have a unicorn or decacorn. You know 1% of the time or 10% of the time of course

You have a whole portfolio. It may not be that risky in the aggregate

But you have to be willing to make

Decisions under under pressure and be somewhat fearless as a result right timing is important

You want to be first to market in poker you have a finite amount of time you can spend on a hand in practice

Sometimes people take these risks in a calculated way right I talked to

Sam Beckman Fried for the book for example

And he’s like yeah, I knew this would have like it only a 50% chance of succeeding

But the payoff was so high I would take it

Some people just kind of more intuitively just kind of want to put skin in the game

Want to take risk get some excitement or pleasure from it again. We’re talking about the very extreme

Tales here, too, right?

The people who are super uber successful

Maybe are almost taking on more risk than they maybe should you can instead like we have a very

Happy and complacent life as an investment banker or something, but people who are true

Entrepreneurs, I think at scale and think and think very very big

I should say one challenge of writing the book is that talking only to successful people you risk survivorship bias, right?

So kind of which people fell along by the wayside if you know unsuccessful

Investors or gamblers then then send them my way. I need to talk to some of them as well

Number six successful gamblers especially in poker work well with incomplete information

One thing that differentiates kind of people in academia and academia is very useful for basic research and for advancing science and things like that

Right, but like but you don’t get months and months and years and years to develop a hypothesis

When there’s actual money on the line by that time the people who were faster will already have moved

So the skill is kind of knowing what information was available at the time you made the decision

I think there is a limit to how useful like an after-action review might be if you kind of

Pretend as though you had perfect hindsight, right?

We can say what would we have done about COVID now if we had known a lot of things we know now about it back

In February 2020 and it would be an easier problem to solve but like that’s not how the real world works

So decision-making under uncertainty is I think a understudied and under appreciate

appreciated topic

You can’t be too much of a control freak certainly in a game like poker

You can lose your temper very easily emotional management’s a big part of people who are successful in these fields

But you know all the value is in making the hard decisions, right?

hard because they’re edge cases hard because

You have some information but not others and you’re gonna get some things wrong

But otherwise if it’s easy, then everyone else is already gonna do it. There’s no excess returns to be made. I

Think related to this is that successful gamblers focus on process much more than results

One thing I found good for the book and refreshing is people if you ask them kind of what makes you tick?

What’s your advantage? They’re quite thoughtful and deliberate about it. They step back and think about what skills do I possess?

What’s the bigger kind of problem that I’m trying to solve?

Again emotional displacement is a big part of this. I’m not saying that you’re supposed to be totally

Emotionless, I mean emotion can help to guide intuition much to talk about in a bit

But it does mean you have to be willing to like lose poker hand lose

10,000 bucks and then play the next hand as best as you can right or have an investment or many investments that go sour

And still be on your kind of best state of mind for making future investments

It’s pretty hard

Most people aren’t very good at this at all

You can’t go too far and sometimes make excuses. There are lots of different ways to get unlucky in poker or investing

But having that focus on kind of what was my thought process?

It seems intuitive people in this audience, maybe but it’s not intuitive for the average person a different

Differentiates successful gamblers quite a bit

This next slide here you may have seen this video online

Where there are a bunch of girls bouncing basketballs they ask you to count how many times the basketball passed back and forth

and during the video kind of unbeknownst to the watcher a

Gorilla walks on stage like things change colors weird things happen. And the point is to try and say okay. Well you were so focused on

Counting number of basketballs being passed that you ignored the gorilla in the room so to speak, right?

I think though that if you’re instructed to count the number of passes that it actually a sign of intelligence that you do focus on

That right if you’re an air traffic controller

And you’re trying to like land planes at Miami Airport and you get a bunch of text messages from your teenage daughter, right?

You shouldn’t be distracted by that. You should kind of focus on the task at hand

But the point is that people have an amazing ability to vary what they were paying attention to

Especially in the moment and in poker’s is very important because most of the time poker is pretty boring, right?

good players fold

70% of their hands for the most part right a lot of decisions are fairly automatic

But maybe once an hour or once a day you’ll have a decision

For tens of thousands of dollars or where you’ll be knocked out of the tournament or win the tournament, right?

and so having that kind of

Knowing where you focus your attention is an underrated skill that I think people who are at least in poker are pretty good at

by the way

One thing I’ve noticed is that you used to kind of think of poker players as being kind of quite

Shlubby and sloppy and some of them still are but more and more the good players are focusing on physical and mental illness

fitness, it is like a

Demanding game. It’s a little bit demanding physically to kind of keep your composure

And not give away information from your from your mental state and to really concentrate is like actually a lot of work

I mean the kind of famous studies of chess players and how Magnus Carlsen will lose

You know five pounds over the course of a chess match just thinking which might seem ridiculous. But like but if you’re really playing

Poker at your a game at your a plus game, which you don’t achieve very often

I often find that when I am able to do that rarely I’m completely wiped out afterward

It is a physically demanding game

But in general kind of being having your ear to the ground looking out for

Opportunities and being flexible enough to take advantage of those opportunities is a underrated skill set

Number nine

successful gamblers apply practiced intuition, so

I’m 44 one of the things about becoming middle-aged you start to kind of

Potentially trust your gut a lot more which can be which can be risky in some ways

I think people can in matters that happen only occasionally like a presidential election people think well

My gut is that so and so will win

You don’t have enough practice at forecasting elections to really for that to be very useful, right?

We have one election every four years

If you’re a poker player though, you’re playing tens of thousands of hands every year

If you’re a VC, you’re hearing thousands of pitches every year, right?

And part of what experience does is kind of take things that were once hard and then become more automatic, right?

I mean, you’ll hear people say oh I made a decision

Very quickly, right and I make staff decisions you hear someone give a pitch

And you decide maybe in 30 minutes whether or not to fund them or not. You hear examples like that

But that doesn’t really reflect the fact that this person has spent years and years and years

Honing their insight and listening to pitches and that that produces value down the line

So it’s intuition of a sort, but it’s practiced refined well calibrated intuition that involves working really hard and and learning, right?

I mean in poker you kind of go through cycles where

Where you kind of are grinding and get better at something you feel like you achieve some condition of mastery

Then you kind of slip you get complacent. Maybe you tilt a little bit

Having the ability to like step back and re-evaluate

Your game like Negreanu or someone and say look I have to make some adjustments here

Maybe I’m doing play barely ever have but now I learn different flaws that I have right my opponents are getting better, too

That bottom of this chart here

We re-evaluate and grind back up and expect that you’re gonna have to keep doing that for your whole life, frankly

Differentiate successful people I think

Number ten, this is one of the more subtle ones I think but successful gamblers are

Structured thinkers they want to understand the process behind the outcome again in poker. It’s too complex a game

Just to purely learn through memorization and wrote skill, right?

You want to understand how things adapt what the underlying kind of curvatures are and everything

Heuristics or rules of thumb are are pretty useful, right?

Like in poker a heuristic might be that you should call with your medium-strength hands, right? Your best hands you raise

Your worst hands you fold or check right and then you kind of call with your medium-strength hands

But there are exceptions to that and heuristics only go so far

But the kind of flip side of this is like so at this conference. There’s a lot of talk about

Investing and gambling but also politics. I do think when you’re kind of a highly structured

philosophical thinker

That politics is very frustrating right people in the other world. I work in which is I you know, I run a website

I talk to people in politics talk to academics who are trying to get on see it TV and stuff like that, right?

It’s a lot of very hypocritical and ad-hoc thinking in politics, right?

It’s instrumental reasoning toward trying to win an argument at that moment in that day and so you can see why someone

Like Elon Musk might get very fed up with the kind of hypocritical nature of political discourse. That’s another conversation

We might have in the Q&A, but but it does lead to some personality clashes, I think

The last one here which is maybe a little bit counterintuitive

But I’ve kind of learned I think from observation is that the most successful gamblers don’t actually care that much about money

You know, they tend to be for the most part very generous. They’re always gonna pick up the tab

They’re gonna spend a lot on good wine and things like that, right?

They’re in it really for the love of the game and when they get bored, they tend to quit

Again, this might differentiate the 0.01

Percent or 0.001 percent from like the 1%

Certainly you want to manage your money carefully in poker

But still when you have people whose net worth

Fluctuates by the amount that poker players does like in poker is basically like, you know

Three states right super rich somewhat rich and dead broke like not a lot in between

When that’s the nature of your field and you’ve been in those states for different parts of your life and many good poker players have

Had periods where they’re broke you tend to recognize the ephemeral nature of success and to celebrate life in the moment a bit more so

That’s all. Thank you very much. Look forward to the Q&A now

Ladies and gentlemen, Nate Silver. I don’t know if there was this in the introduction that you run 538 like does everyone know the site?

So like during the election cycle

Nate does the best job of anyone on earth

gathering together polling data and then using statistical models to represent a

Distribution or a set of expected outcomes and making that known on his site in a way that super I think informative better than anything else

That’s out there. So thanks for that. Now. I get really addicted to them leading up to elections

I’m like, I got to go in and check what Nate’s changed on the site every day

And I know a lot of people did

Then what I observed on Twitter, which I think speaks to your first point here

Was a lot of people followed your prediction on the Trump election, right and they’re like

Nate made a prediction that Trump was going to win

but what you said was that there was a

43% chance that Trump would win and therefore people assumed he was going to lose and

That the nature of a lot of people’s understanding of things is very deterministic and binary

It’s like win or lose as opposed to hey, the future is not

Binary the future is not deterministic

It’s there’s a set of outcomes that may occur and you can get a better sense of what that set is

You make that determination enough times. You’ll you’ll be right most of the time. You’ll be wrong some of the time

Do you think most it’s my question for you based on how I saw people react negatively?

Yeah to your polling which was crazy because it was like dude he gave a really good set of statistical models

No people blamed you but

But my question is like do people have the ability to think probabilistically because you say you need to think probabilistically

Or is that a minority of people that can really get themselves there because so many people just want a yes-or-no answer

They want to say this is the future this isn’t they don’t want to think about a distribution of outcomes

Which is really the way the world works

I mean, I think people think probabilistically all the time in real life, right?

If you’re like running late for a meeting you have to decide should I speed? What’s the risk of getting into an accident?

What’s the risk of getting pulled over or things like that? I think in you don’t realize they’re doing that. Yeah

I mean, they don’t they don’t know they’re doing that

Like I think part of the answer is that I think politics kind of breaks

people’s brain, right

because like before

The 2016 election we got a lot of criticism from like liberals for being

Too bullish on Trump. The market price is about 15 percent. We have it 30 percent, right?

so we are very bullish on Trump relative to other people but like

People thought we were like playing with the numbers to try to I don’t know affect turnout somehow

or or try to cover our asses or things like that and so

so I just don’t think that like

Politics teaches people to think critically and it’s like yeah part of that is like they’re not thinking probabilistically

But it’s more like people just want to see their kind of



What was it? Like when people blamed you for Trump one?

Yeah, there was a lot of that. Yeah. Yeah, I mean why did you pick Trump as president?

They literally I think they pointed to you and basically said you tipped the election

Like you you it’s almost as if like you convince people to go and like how did you how did you deal with that?

You just kind of have to say like fuck you and move on with your life

I mean, I don’t like I’ve been very lucky in my life overall, right including that like things that I think are not that remarkable

Like, you know saying oh the polls are gonna be right usually which they were in 2008 and 2012

Like I think we got way too much credit for that, but you can’t like I mean again

We’re all poker players here, right? So it’s kind of like if you kind of get your money in

Really good right and you make a flush or something like it you kind of have to have that attitude about it

So you were able to just basically shut it out and say this and and what about just the fact that like you live inside

Of an organization now 538 is owned by ABC ABC

Was that before the election that was so we were we were

ESPN at the time of 2016 election now, we’re ABC News currently and so does that change sort of like

Like how do you make sure that you can actually just do your job no matter how?

Unpopular the answer may be or the distribution of outcomes maybe

Okay. So why am I working on this book? It’s partly because I want to diversify away from just

first of all, I think

Forecasting elections is an interesting problem, but it’s not like the most interesting problem, right?

But no, I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life just like being there like the election forecasting guy. It’s it’s I

mean you also face disincentives were like

The downside like we got some elections like really right like 2018 midterm we like

Nail like perfectly about as good as you could right and people are like, oh, that’s nice, right?

if you get kind of went like the 2020 primary like we were very bullish on Joe Biden when people weren’t and thought he was

gonna lose and so you don’t get like a lot of

Credit and you do face like a lot of downside

For being actually wrong or perceived to be wrong

And so yeah, I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life making

Election forecast. I hope that’s part of the portfolio of things that I do

But like I’m interested in like a lot of other questions about the world

Hey, what do you think about like social markets that are defined about social behavior like an election?

People are gonna vote one way or another you then make a prediction and then that changes the way people vote

And so like and the same is true in stock markets

I was gonna ask you about your experience in stock markets because people have an assumption about rate hikes

The the market then reacts to the assumption about rate rate hikes

Then the market tanks and then the Fed is like let’s change the rate height system because the markets tanking

How do you think about building?

probabilistic models that account for social feedback loops where the social decision that’s made is

Driven by the forecast you make or by the the market

So I think the evidence is that in two-way election

So a Democrat versus Republican that there’s no clear effect from and by the way

Like what we do is is a tradition. There’s always been horse race media coverage has always been polling going back for many years, right?

You know, we think our version of it is a little bit more grounded and objective

In two-way races. It’s not clear if there’s any impact either way where cash can in effect is when you’re having a multiple candidate race, right?

in 2020 when Elizabeth Warren started to fall behind Bernie Sanders in the polls, right if you’re

Left-wing voter who prefers Warren to Sanders but Sanders to Biden, right?

You may kind of switch your vote as a result of the poll that can create momentum

Mathematically trying to not to model like a multi-way election. We do it. It’s very hard

It’s way more complex in part because of the feedback loops that it introduces for right and stock markets are the same

Again, I don’t anymore any financial market behavior

It is funny by the way that like if I like lose a thousand bucks at poker

I’d be like furious right but like I lose like much more than that in the stock market and like you’re like

Oh, I don’t care. I just invest in you know

Low fee like mutual funds and stuff like that. I mean for sure. I mean, it’s it’s um, I

Don’t know you guys would know more than I would but I think there are there are certainly complexities that involve

Feedback loops for sure Nate we live in a very polarized world right now

We all spend too far too much time on Twitter and we’re seeing this, you know, sort of house of mirrors. I’m curious how

You know the 19% of people who believe in

you know banning abortion and their impact and their outsized voice versus the far left and their outsized voice with

You know sort of democratic socialism

affect your ability to predict what’s going to happen in the country because the majority of the country’s beliefs sometimes are in stark contrast to

Political things that happen. Yeah, and even on our podcast people want to pit, you know

Saks and I as being incredible rivals. No, no, you you want to pit yourself?

But just to be clear, in fact, we agree on almost everything yet. It feels like in our society

You know

They want to push us to to pick very binary belief systems

And I’m just curious how that impacts what you do day to day in your job in predicting what’s gonna actually happen in reality

And maybe you could tell us

based on what you’ve learned over time are our people as polarized as it seems or is America actually got a


Consensus on most of the issues that we struggle with

Well, okay

I one reason that markets work is because you get feedback in the market right and you adjust your strategy as a result of

Negative feedback from consumers people voting with their feet

I think one problem with Twitter and with kind of the political atmosphere more generally is that

Both the left and the right are now insulating themselves from from feedback in a lot of ways

and if you’re someone who kind of like

Tries to call BS

I mean when you know

There’s a 12 characters like having a good bullshit detectors kind of an implicit theme of people who are successful

Gamblers, right and if you’re like somebody like I that’s kind of bullshit. I can’t let that sit there

I have to say something about it

Even though it’ll piss off my followers like you really get boundary policed a lot and when totally yeah boundary policed

Yes. Yeah, and when feedback mechanisms are broken, then you run into potentially some really

Dangerous outcomes, right? Like I think I think

Both the left and the right have become more authoritarian in certain ways

I think the type of authoritarianism on the right is quite a bit more dangerous in the moment, but

They’re both kind of moving away from

Kind of liberalism in some kind of classical sense in some ways and and I think that has to do with

The feedback loops that social media tend to tend to produce that they’re very about social media

It’s like it really really flattens things right one thing that people in Silicon Valley

Get right for all their faults and self-serving this in some ways, right?

They kind of get the orders of magnitudes, right? They understand scale

And social media and the daily news cycle really collapses that right

So some extremely important problem and some trivial nonsense are kind of treated on the same level when one is

1,000 times more important than the other and that and that produces right in a feed

It’s one right after the other. Yeah, and you know again

I don’t know if there are ways to redesign Twitter to make that better

But like the fact that you’re kind of always on right I mean before Twitter the kind of cable news cycle

You have to have like some

Controversy to talk about and things are completely dropped the next day. There’s another news event

I mean sometimes it should be maybe actually this thing was terrible

But something is like way more important and so we should continue to focus on that and so that’s damaging

I think is there a way out of this it will this pass in your estimation. Is this you know an intractable problem?

I’m a little bit

Bearish and

Concerned in the short term. Yeah

To be honest, can you say more? What does that mean? I?

Mean there are different types of risks that we face, right?

I mean, you know one problem in particular is that if we have a close

Election next time particularly one that’s close where the where the Democrat appears to narrowly win, right?

I mean you’re having more and more Republican elected officials secretaries of state

some of the candidates in Pennsylvania for governor, for example, who kind of believe the election was was stolen in 2020 and like

Which it wasn’t to be clear and like that’s a very dangerous

Argument to have it may not resolve itself in the end of democracy. But like that’s like a you know a

Risk that’s you know in the 10%

Range or maybe higher of a severe constitutional crisis in 2024 and maybe repeated that in 2028 and so forth

And so I mean that’s the I think the most

Immediate threat but also kind of government capacity to deal with big problems, right?

You know, I don’t necessarily take the standard line about Kobe where you say

Oh, we should have done this and that and managed it more top-down more but clearly like state capacity seemed to be

Not so great right as we deal with other existential risks from climate change to AI potentially to nuclear threats

You know a little bit bearish about state capacity to make good decisions in complex situations

It’s not perfect information. Yeah, you know, I’ve heard like being down in

Miami, you know or traveling other parts of the world

Do you see like there’s more reason to be optimistic right where?

Where people at least are excited and dynamic and there’s something happening. It may not be exactly the right thing, but people are are

Are happy?

But no, I think I think I don’t know. I’m usually not just a person and I’m a little bit worried about

What should we expect then going into the 2020 midterms?

2020 midterms. So the baseline is pretty strong, which is that the president’s party loses seats the large majority of the time


Given the Democrats majority are so narrow. They’re pretty big underdogs to keep both the house and the Senate

With that said in Senate races in particular individual candidates do matter to some extent and you might have enough

Off-the-wall GOP candidates nominated that would cost them

Two or three seats potentially and that might be enough to save Democrats in the Senate

The house for the candidates are more anonymous and there are more seats in play is a little bit tougher

I do think something like Roe v. Wade is important

Democrats talk a lot about Republican extremism, but a lot of it is theoretical, right?

It’s saying well what will happen in 2024 will be this or that

This is the kind of rare example of big social change by the opposition party

And that could I think motivate Democrats a little bit but but midterm elections are more predictable

than presidential elections and the base cases that you wind up with

With Republican majorities of some magnitude sacked any thoughts on

Nate’s handicapping of the situation and

description of the political climate ring

Well, I mean pretty clearly the Republicans are expected to have big pickups in this midterm, right?

I mean, I agree with you. The Senate is tougher for the GOP because

There aren’t that many the most of the at-risk seats are on the Republican side, right? Not the Democratic side

Yeah, I mean there are there also seats like Pennsylvania the GOP

Held and could lose potentially but you have like I mean, I don’t know how technically you want to get

If you have a generic ballot that favors Republicans by like two points

The Democrats can probably keep the Senate if it gets to like six points or seven points then

Then the wall topples and like there’s just too many forces going the other way. And so yeah

So what so where do you where is it right now? Are you looking at that right now? It’s two or three

However, that’s among registered voters and doesn’t reflect voter enthusiasm

So typically the challenger party is more motivated to turn out you saw that in states like Virginia last year

That gap seems to be closing a little bit

I do think some of the


Legislation right some of the fact that the GOP kind of is now

Back on offense on culture wars against LGBT people, right? I think

Potentially is is

Going to help motivate Democrats to turn out, right?

It wasn’t the stuff in Virginia where they were talking about. Oh schools and kind of I mean you always want to like play

counter-attack in politics, right

And Republicans found some effective counterattacks with respect to educational policy

Certain attitudes where kind of very left-wing ideas have crept into discussions of education and race and other things, right?

but now they’re like kind of calling like

Gay and lesbian people and trans people pedophiles and stuff like that, right and it’s like surprisingly mainstream discourse and like it’s not I don’t think

Politically why it’s also a little bit dangerous in terms of potentially, you know triggering violence and things like that

So I don’t know. I mean neither party can really like

Help itself, I don’t think and kind of being like the worst version of itself

Right. Yeah, it’s interesting

I bet young Ken is an interesting case because one year after Biden won that state by ten

Youngkin wins that race by two or three. So it was 12 points swing. Yeah in one year


Emblematic is that of how quickly the mood of the country has changed?

Is it like a one-off because young was a strong candidate against a weak candidate or does it represent?

You know a much stronger generic Republican ballot. I think it’s it’s I mean, that’s what you might get if you had

50 Glenn Youngkin’s running for for Senate, right?

He clearly I mean, there’s usually a pretty big midterm shift, but that was a little bigger than normal in Virginia

And that reflects the fact that I mean you can like model it out mathematically we have lots of data points

We have 35 Senate races every two years, right?

You can actually see the effect of being more moderate will gain you an extra two or three or four points, right?

being less

Moderate more radical in some cases will lose you two or three or four points

And so and so the fact that the GP didn’t kind of take that lesson and say we can actually kind of occupy

the mainstream and

Have potentially really large majorities at least in 2022

I mean, I think that’s kind of kind of disheartening in in some ways

And of course Trump is still a big figure in the Democrats learned the lesson of that race either

The lesson for Democrats would be to attack towards the center as well and instead of embracing sort of the the progressive left


Mean the Democrats are still talking about canceling student debt, which is a

fringe issue that affects 8 to 10 percent of the Democratic Party without realizing that it actually is because it represents 50 or 60 percent of

the working majority of the Democratic infrastructure and

People are people are people are self-serving and if you don’t have good BS detectors, then

You become more self-serving right like clearly like the class of people who are

high student loan debt

are people who are well educated and

Aren’t necessarily making as much money and those describe people that are tend to be Democrats, right?

It describes people like academics and people in media

Like I’d be very him but it all Democrats used to also be the the workers party for the welders the truckers the construction

Workers should say you should say let’s forgive up to $10,000 in debt for


university students

Undergraduate educations right that really does capture a lot more people who are who are you know, truly middle-class, right?

Half of student loan debt is people going to graduate school

You know, I’m not that simple if you went to Dartmouth and got a philosophy degree masters masters, right?

Yeah, you’re on your own

Yeah, I got a degree in nursing and our kind of why should an electrician bail out the person getting a master’s in philosophy

but like this is kind of a matter of like the

I mean, that’s me. That’s a reasonable thing to say. Yeah, it doesn’t seem partisan doesn’t seem unreasonable

Supervision, but but you know, but I know and again people are it’s also different

I think if you needed more a financial stimulus then it might make more sense to

Find some way to do that. This is a thing that the president can probably do by executive authority. It’s a little bit disputed

But no you kind of have I mean both parties are quite

Self-serving and if you’re kind of not listening to critiques or feedback then you can kind of wallow in in in

That self-serving this I think a little bit more easily. All right, everybody, please. Thank Nate’s over

Let your winners ride rain, man, David

We open-sourced it to the fans and they’ve just gone crazy

Besties are

My dog

We should all just get a room and just have one big huge or because they’re all just like this like sexual tension

But they just need to release

I’m going

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