Culture

Van Jones Decries The ‘Data Dummies’ Who Predicted Trump’s Loss: A 5 Percent Chance Is ‘Still A Chance’

During CNN’s marathon election night coverage, former advisor to President Barack Obama and political commentator Van Jones caught the nation’s attention. Twice. First, he gave voice to the evident concerns of a surprised country whose inhabitants (nearly 3 million more than those who voted for Donald Trump, in fact) weren’t sure what the next four years would entail. Then he squared off with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who bullied Jones into submission live on the air but never got a rise out of his fellow panelist. Now it seems the host of The Messy Truth is taking a page from Michael Moore’s book and calling out everyone who doubted Trump’s potential.

As you may recall, the documentary filmmaker predicted Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton rather accurately back in July. While Jones’ interview with Conan O’Brien on Monday was posted to YouTube with “foresaw” in the title, however, the CNN commentator wouldn’t necessarily say he too predicted Trump’s victory. Though he didn’t have too many kind words for all the “data dummies” and others like them who followed the polling data available with deviation:

“There are these people, now I just call them data dummies, who all they can look at in politics is the data and the polls and the numbers and all that sort of stuff. My life is a focus group… I started noticing stuff. For instance, if you get on stage even now and you say ‘Barack Obama,’ people go nuts. If you get on stage and you say ‘Donald Trump,’ people go nuts — usually the other way. But I would say Hillary Clinton’s name, and there would be crickets. And I said something’s wrong, something’s off.”

Jones’ anecdotal examples notwithstanding, he made a rather good point about the downside of only crunching the numbers when O’Brien brought up several predictions made about Clinton’s chances of winning ahead of the election. “First of all, five percent chance is still a chance. Shouldn’t you take it seriously? And people were like, ‘It’s only a five percent chance.’ If there’s a five percent chance of an asteroid destroying the earth, you might want to get busy.”

“I saw people working harder to stop Mitt Romney and John McCain,” he added, “than I saw them working to stop Trump.”

×