There’s only one way to predict who will be the next president of the United States.
No, I’m not talking about the polls. Using polls to predict elections is like using a fake ID written in crayon to get into Toad’s: It might work sometimes, but you can’t depend on it. Half of the polls are inaccurate, the other half are biased and the third half are creations of the media, if you believe John McCain.
So what can we use to predict the election? It has to be something with over 90 percent reliability or a history of consistently working well during relevant time periods. It has to be something more exciting than economics, because exploring the link between the economy and elections sounds like a statistics problem gone horribly wrong or a dream that causes me to wake up screaming. Sports are fun and usually predictable. But are they predictive?
According to the Washington Redskins’ Theory of Political Victory, Barack Obama will win Tuesday’s election. In 17 of the last 18 elections, this theory has held true — and we all know the one exception, 2004, was an anomaly for many reasons. When the Redskins win their final home game before the election, the incumbent party remains in power. When the Redskins blow it, power changes hands. And we wonder why there is such little continuity in our political system…
Maybe George W. Bush ’68 and his GOP cronies should trade Brett Favre to D.C. in a last-ditch effort to keep Republican control of the White House.
But the Redskins don’t have the Mississippi Miracle Man calling their signals. They have an adept game manager in Jason Campbell, but not a game changer. And they have the 5-2 Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the capital this weekend, still angry about last week’s fluke loss to the Giants on a botched punt attempt. This one won’t be close. Dick LeBeau and his No. 1 defense will consume Washington’s cute west coast offense like the wolf ate Little Red Riding Hood. Except the Steelers’ defense won’t have to dress up like a grandma. Final score: Steelers 28, Redskins 13. Democrats: 1, Republicans: 0, Green Party: Get the hell out of my election, nobody likes you.
But any good theory must be validated — you can’t predict an election with just one football game. So I turn to an analysis of the World Series Hypothesis for Electoral Success — I made it sound official, so you can’t question it. From 1952 to 1976, if the American League won the World Series, the Republican candidate would win, while a National League victory would predict success for the Democrats. Then Ronald Reagan fundamentally changed American economic and foreign policy — and killed the predictive ability of this theory. With George W. Bush came some stability. A Yankee World Series Championship in 2000 correctly predicted his victory, and the magical Red Sox 2004 World Series championship portended his re-election.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the World Series as an election predictor does account for hanging chads. How else could it have nailed 2000’s election on the head? So to Al Gore and his supporters, don’t blame Pat Buchanan or the Supreme Court; blame Mariano Rivera.
The Tampa Bay Rays have had a magical season. Their organization will remember it for years to come, as this season will prove unique and the Rays will revert to their awful form next year. But they won’t have a World Series ring to console them. The Philadelphia Phillies’ World Series victory means, well, very little, actually. Philadelphia will still suck and the Eagles will remain the NFL’s chokers with Donovan McNabb defending his title as league Choke VP. But it represents a National League World Series victory right before the election. Republicans: 0, Democrats: 2, Green Party: Just checked again, everyone still hates you.
But there is one more factor that could rescue John McCain. If the Lakers win the title in an election year — as they did in 1952, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988 and 2000 — the Republican candidate wins the presidency. And hey, they were pretty good last year — they had that beef guy… what’s his name… Kobe? And they were in the finals. But then the liberal Boston establishment and Kevin Garnett applied the proverbial smack-down to both LA’s title hopes and John McCain’s campaign. Democrats: 3, Republicans: 0, Green Party: Why are you still here?
So as the polls, er… the sports landscape would indicate, SNL’s “Tiger Woods dude” is about to beat John McCain and “the hot lady.” It’s not speculation or fuzzy math, it’s science.
Of course I’ve never been good at science. I failed Biology of Sex and Gender, and nearly got booted out of Astronomy during the lecture on Uranus. I got a little mixed up on their midterms and confused the two subjects. So maybe I’ll make up my own test, the Gutman Theory of Hoops Dominance: Barack Obama would dominate John McCain at basketball, so he will win this election. Democrats: 4, Republicans: 0, Green Party: Seriously? Again?
Collin Gutman is a junior in Pierson College.