Theories, not (Just) Data!

People say that political science has been a big casualty of this election cycle, but were that the case, it’d only be the conventional wisdom interpretation of the political science theory.  Political science theory, if interpreted appropriately, can predict what was going to happen fairly precisely.  I would not have remembered what I had written 8 months ago, at the height of the primary, if it weren’t for the silly WordPress spam filter consigning seemingly every comment as “Spam,” but it feels pretty good just rereading what I had written back in March, at the height of the primary season, completely based on what political science theory has to say about voters and elections that pretty much nailed what was going to unfold on the election day.  Like I keep saying, good data does not substitute for lousy theory, but bad data can swamp good theories.  We need to keep thinking abstractly and theoretically, not just hope and pray that more and more data can earn us indulgences for the sin of not thinking things through.

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