The Duties of a Senator: Ben Sasse Responds to Nate Silver

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Sen Ben Sasse of Nebraska has a fascinating post on Medium, which he wrote in response to a Nate Silver column. It’s a good read.

I spent some time overnight thinking about Nate Silver’s speculative analysis yesterday on which senators are more likely to support and oppose the president-elect, broken down by party.

I worry that his interesting analysis misses a fundamental distinction that must come before any of the data he marshals.

Before explaining that, though, let me first say that I’m a fan of big data and, from what I’ve read, there are few folks more thoughtful, humble, interesting, and serious about data than Nate Silver. So, when I suggest that this particular piece is flawed, I do it from the starting position of a fan and student, not an opponent. Shorter: I’m not trying to pick a fight so much as start a broader conversation.

Okay, my critique: Silver is measuring some really interesting things — but he completely ignores the first, and most fundamental duty of a senator. He thus misses the whole starting point for me in how I do this job.


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Topics: Reform Efforts
Tags: Ben Sasse