An ill-advised, self-reflective thread on my twitter persona

It is clear that I simply do not have the temperament or political persuasion to appeal very much past my existing reach

I appeal to a niche (nice to have you!) but I'll never expand beyond that

This thread shows why
For years, this account appealed to technocratic center-right libertarian-ish types

I was a futurist "stay ahead or get left behind" sort of person for many years

But something in the Trump era changed that

I was deeply anti-Trump, I found him repulsive and horrific as a candidate in 2016

I still deeply dislike him

paradoxreview.com/2016/08/05/201…
During the Trump era, things changed

I found a media that would shit on him when he did the right thing & I thought that was shitty

I found people who were angry at me for not being a 24-7 anti-Trump spitfire

It wasn't that I liked Trump, it was that I was lacking in my fury
But I was surrounded by fury

As a white collar professional in a high-tech job, anti-Trump fury was about as punk as taking the kids to McDonalds

Boring as shit

No one needed me to add my voice to that, there was plenty to go around
so instead I tried to focus on under-served stories

From the outside, this must have looked like I was ignoring Trump's greatest crimes and focusing instead on minutiae

But that's always been my thing: focus on something I think is important that everyone is ignoring
Over time, I shed friends who felt I was insufficiently committed to the cause

That hurts, but it's not new. I'm a protestant Christian, I'm used to be excommunicated over the color of the carpet.
The biggest problem limiting this account is that I try to hold myself to a critical standard. If a Democrat does something right, I try my best to give unambiguous praise.

None of this "I don't like this person, but at least they don't suck this once"

That's for cowards
I've praised Cuomo (in the early days of this crisis) and I've held back from criticism even as I'm fairly sure his admin has been involved in some really shitty behavior

I've praised MI Gov Whitmer and WA Gov Insee

That's not super popular among my followers

I don't care
I do understand why some people don't like me

Despite my deep admiration for Sonny Bunch, nearly everyone else at the Bullwark seems to fucking hate my guts

I understand why

I get angry easily. When I get angry, I have the cursed skill of really digging a shiv into the ribs.
I attack people unreasonably quickly, often when they are only trying to play devils advocate or offering a plausible counter-argument. I fly off the handle and I know I've hurt and insulted people I genuinely like.

I'm bad at that, even if I try to be better.
About 90% of the time, I model what I want to be. I focus on the data, I don't over-step my own expertise, I engage and show the kindness I hope we can all adopt.

But that last 10% of the time, I'm a real asshole.
Even if I reigned that part of me in, there is this weird group of people who have saved my worst moments in a special folder on their computer titled "fuck_that_guy" where they save screenshots of the biggest mistakes I've made
It would be nice if attractive women were obsessed over me, but alas, it is overweight and lonely middle aged men who have outside community in which to find meaning and must instead save screenshots of my tweets in the hope that they can one day "stick it" to me
See!

That is exactly the kind of venom and unkindness that limits my broader appeal. I apologize to these people for so unkindly portraying them as losers.
In any case, I've spent the last year trying to be more fair, more kind, more generous

It hasn't moved the needle. There is a limited audience of people who are interested in someone who reads papers, reasons through policies, and is vaguely right-wing.

I'm glad you're here.

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More from @politicalmath

6 May
Today's newsletter is quite hopeful

The first section is about how multiple "follow the science" blue-state governors have recently waved off the guidance of their health officials in favor of a high-stability, low-variability restrictions

polimath.substack.com/p/the-quiet-de…
When the public health officer for my county said "oh we're definitely moving back a phase", WA Gov Inslee said "Nah. We appreciate your concern but stability is more important" Image
My reference to "the death of science based leadership" is not "no one listens to the science" but the fact that the "listen to the science" crowd has been using that slogan as a replacement for actual leadership

That abdication has led to disaster

Read 5 tweets
5 May
I'm super curious about this poll

why?

B/c we can check who self-reports about getting the vaccine against the *actual numbers* from the CDC at the time of polling.

They don't line up with the poll very well.
On the first day of polling (April 19th), over 80% of seniors had been vaccinated (vs 72% in the poll)

On the last day of polling, 46% of 18-64 year olds had gotten vaccinated (vs 53-54% in the poll)

There are several options for why this is and they're all annoying.
It could be seniors are under-reporting their vaccination status. Maybe they don't wans to say "I've already gotten the vaccine" if they haven't gotten the second dose.
Read 5 tweets
4 May
ok... so this is another good example of state leadership

Yesterday, I said that expected that King County (where I live) was going to move *backward* a phase (from phase 3 to phase 2) b/c that's what our public health officer said would happen /1

Governor Inslee apparently disagreed with the public health officer and, despite the fact that King County isn't "hitting our metrics" for COVID, Inslee is keeping us in Phase 3 (pausing all phase movements for 2 weeks)

king5.com/article/news/h…
This mirrors Gov Whitmer's decision to say to public health experts "thank you for your advice, it is duly considered. We will not be locking down again"

Read 6 tweets
4 May
Help support the COVID Response Project, a citizen journalism initiative focused on capturing the details of how different states and regions responded to the COVID pandemic

gofundme.com/f/covid-respon…
Come hear from Tova of Brooklyn, NY and how the Orthodox Jewish community there were living in fear of the COVID inspectors who would interrupt schools and wait outside synagogues for hours hoping to catch illicit prayer meetings

covidresponseproject.com/ny/brooklyn-ne…
Join my conversation with @Tremorden, who points out that it wasn't so much the pandemic itself as the open-closed-open-closed see-saw of California restrictions that drive many small business into the ground

covidresponseproject.com/ca/california-…
Read 5 tweets
3 May
Having read the underlying study, I have to say I'm not particularly impressed. This data is super noisy & not at all consistent.
"It’s also important to note that those low rates of children transmitting COVID-19 are very dependent on behavioral modifications — in particular, wearing masks indoors."

Really? Is it? B/c here's the mitigation chart from the study you're citing.

science.sciencemag.org/content/early/…
I feel like people just say "masking is correlated with reduced COVID transmission in children" b/c they're afraid if they don't say that people will get angry at them

I still just do not see the data on that being consistent enough to make the case either for or against
Read 4 tweets
3 May
I wrote something I think is important, but it's behind my newsletter paywall, so you're either going to have to fill in the blanks from this thread or just subscribe

polimath.substack.com/p/changing-min…
Everyone changes their minds in the course of their lives, but it's hard to know how and why. A lot of politics is about lying to people b/c changing minds is hard and lying is easy.

But we know people will soon change their minds about some very specific stuff
Researchers should be tripping over each other to study this. This is a unique moment to watch people change their minds about things in real time. If we set up a good study, we can watch week by week as people shift from "this is a bad idea" to "it's ok now" to "let's do it"
Read 6 tweets

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