by Akim Reinhardt
Hello. My name is Akim Reinhardt, I was very, very wrong, and now it's time for me to pay for my mistakes.
The good news is, when I pay, you just might be the one to collect. My loss can be your windfall.
The catch? You'll have to publicly debase yourself almost as much I am about to do right now.
How did it come to this? You and I publicly shaming ourselves on the internet, each of us desperately hoping to salvage a little bit of joy as the world burns around us?
It's all because of that goddamned Donald Trump.
Trump is about to claim the Republican presidential nomination, and a whole lotta pundits got that one wrong. Legions of professional gabbers, from every corner of the political spectrum, badly missed the mark, assuring you that he'd never be the GOP candidate.
Despite their wishful thinking dressed up in high falutin' gibberish, it's happening anyway; Trump is poised to become leader of the pachyderm pack. And so a lot of the yakkers had to make amends.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post literally ate his words. Pass the salt and pepper.
Nate Cohn of the New York Times and David Byler of Real Clear Politics each created a laundry list of everything they got wrong, which like most analysts, was quite a lot.
Perhaps the oddest mea culpa came from polling wunderkind Nate Silver, who explained away his spectacular failure by saying that he had acted like a barbaric “pundit” instead of staying true to the “scientific method.” Rather than relying on statistical modeling to figure out if Trump would win, Silver says he just made “educated guesses.”
Since Silver never really explains why he traded in true reason for such wild tomfoolery, I'm just gonna assume he went on a months-long bender.
Normally, it would be very easy for me to look down my nose at these losers. After all, I'm not a statistician or a professional talking head. I'm a historian. And if there's one thing studying history has taught me, it's that trying to predict the future is pure folly.
What were these dullards thinking? Guess the future? Good luck with those crystal ball shennanigans. Studying history has shown me, time and time again, that the future is unknowable. The past is a mystery and the future is an illusion. So allow me to haughtily point a sanctimonious finger at these morons.
Except for one thing. It turns out that I'm one of those morons. I, too, am a loser.
I spouted off like all the others, publicly assuring people that Trump would not win the nomination, offering up historically informed ramblings as evidence. And just like the rest of them, I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
It was a fool's errand, of course. So why did I do it?
Because in addition to being a historian, I'm also a gambler (so too, not coincidentally I think, is Nate Silver), which means I gain a perverse joy from making wild guesses and pretending to know what I'm talking about when they pan out.
I got the horse right here, his name is Paul Revere, and the man says if there weather's clear, can do.
Now yes, some guesses are better informed than others, no doubt about that. History provides information on this kind of thing. So too does political science and a number of other academic fields. And pollsters get the very best kind of information: they call up a bunch of voters and ask them what they're going to do.
How many of you are voting for this guy? Okay, great, expect that many people to vote for this guy.
Silver's right, man. That scientific method's awesome.
Sadly, however, between his jilted statistics, all the professional pundit pablum, and my pseudo-intellectual babble, just about everyone was incredibly wrong about Trump.
Including me. Duh. I mean, I did go with Denver to win the Super Bowl, and Cleveland to win the NBA championship, both of which were pretty nice upset picks, if I do say so myself. But then again, I had a truly lousy day at the track a couple of weeks ago. Hey, life's a roller coaster.
But the bottom line is this. We were all gambling, and you were all desperate suckers for trusting us.
We didn't lie to anyone but ourselves, really. But you were easy marks, eager to trust those lies. You wanted to believe we'd all be winners, soon to frolic in a Trumpless political landscape.
But we weren't winners. We were losers. And now you're a loser too, all of us standing hunched and slovenly as The Donald sneeringly mocks us, confident in the ultimate truth: no one can now say his hair is not presidential.
I'm not going to waste your time explaining why I and almost everyone else got the Trump thing wrong. That's old hat by now. We all know the many mistakes we made. And I'm sure I'll make some of them again, particularly the next time I'm in a casino.
So instead of recapping the obvious, let's revel how truly wrong I was, and then figure out how I'm gonna make good on it.
First, the public shaming.
Last August, at this very website, I answered my own rhetorical question as to whether Trump would win the GOP nomination with a resounding “Not in this fucking lifetime.“
I went on to say, “there is absolutely no way in hell Donald Trump is going to win the Republican presidential nomination, much less the 2016 election. I promise.”
Pee yew, that's a stinker! Man, I suck.
To make matters worse, on that very same day, on that very same 3QD page, Evert Cilliers (aka Adam Ash) nailed it. He wrote an essay predicting that Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination.
The cheeky bastard even doubled down, repeating his prognostication in the comments section of my essay.
Cheers, you delirious, mad prophet. Here's hoping you had money on it.
Okay, so I was bad, bad, bad. But more entertaining than my utter wrongness is my misplaced confidence. I was so full of myself, that in that same essay, I went on to say:
“And if I'm wrong, I'll sell my row home, max out my credit cards, and buy all of you aggrieved readers plane tickets to Canada, while I remain behind and endure the unimaginably surreal ravages of a Trump presidency.“
Now it's time to make good on that.
I am going to buy someone a ticket to . . . Mexico.
I know I said Canada, but let's be honest. Isn't that kinda racist?
It's a cliché for some shallow, self-important entertainer to threaten to move to Canada whenever a gnarly Republican looks like he might win the presidency. None of them ever actually expatriate, of course, because it turns out that being a millionaire celebrity in America is a pretty sweet gig no matter who the president is.
Rich people, eh?
But why are the self-righteous and panic-stricken always threatening to move to Canada? Why not Mexico? After all, they've got socialized medicine in either direction. And if you think about it rationally, Mexico would seem the obvious choice for many reasons.
To say Mexico has better weather than Canada is like saying Italy has a better soccer team than the Faroe Islands; it's so obvious that you're kind of a dick for even pointing it out.
And when you consider that you'd be hitting the road some time between the November election and the January inauguration, fleeing north instead of south begins to take on strange levels of masochism I'm not comfortable supporting.
There are lots of other reasons to choose Mexico. For example, I like doughnuts and Gordon Lightfoot as much as the next guy, but it's pretty clear that there's way better food and music south of the border.
There is the language issue, of course. Most Americans are monolingual English speakers, which makes Canada appealing. Unless you take a wrong turn, end up in Quebec, and have to sort out whatever hillbilly French they're muttering up there.
But honestly, even the Canuck English they speak north of the 49th is a pain. I mean, do you really want to spend the rest of your life surrounded by people who don't know what bacon is, and make gay slurs about milk? Just learn Spanish. It's easier.
And what do you want your new flag to be? An Aztec-inspired picture of an eagle getting it on with a snake, or maple leaf?
Christ, Canadians can't even do football right.
So why the hell is everyone talking about moving to Canada?
You think maybe it's the white people?
Screw that. I'm not buying anyone a ticket to Canada. It's Mexico or bust!
Yeah, those drug wars, which, for the record, are entirely our fault, can be a real hassle. But c'mon, do you wanna do God's work or not!
Alright, so that settles it. I'm buying everyone tickets to Mexico.
Well, not everyone. That offer was a little irresponsible of me. Got caught up in the moment, started mouthing off. Much like Nate Silver, I was probably drunk.
So how many people then?
Eh, let's go with one.
I'd like to buy more, but if Trump actually wins, I'm gonna need to hunker down for 4-8 years, and gird myself with melon liqueur and cats. Lots of cats. And that can get expensive.
So to make amends for my botched Donald Trump prediction, as (sorta) promised, I will buy one person a one-way ticket to Mexico. For real. Date of departure to be determined, but let's try to do it before the inauguration. Which means that while the ticket's free and you escape living under The Donald, he still ends up making you pay for the wall.
Hey, life's full of little ironies.
So how will I choose the lucky political refugee showing us all the way?
Unfortunately, the 3QD editors have disallowed my first choice: Trial by Combat. Had some sweet swords picked out and everything. Oh well.
So instead, I'm going to fall back on what I do best. Grading papers.
This matter will be settled through an essay contest. Absolutely everyone, including you, all my friends and relatives, and any old wanker who shows up, is eligible to enter.
People can send as many entries as they want. I will duly read all of the essay submissions and choose one winner. That person's essay will be posted at 3 Quarks Daily and at my website. Then I will buy that person a one way ticket to Mexico.
Ah, can you smell it?
Now that I've publicly shamed myself, it's your turn.
The essay topic is . . . Why I Am Going to Vote for Donald Trump
You want out of here before the apocalypse? You want me to foot the bill? Then you're gonna have to reach down deep into your dark little soul and stir up the muck.
Write an essay explaining why, in all earnestness, you are going to vote for Donald Trump for president. And goddamn it, convince me you mean it. Either that, or you can stay here and rot with the rest of us.
Truthfully, this shouldn't be that hard. Debating 101: Be able to convincingly argue both sides of an issue.
There's a slew of angles you could take. How inept Trump will be. How horrible Hillary Clinton is. How much damage a Trump victory will do to the Republican Party. How fun it will be to watch Trump implode. How all of this might bring Jon Stewart back to late night television.
If you're looking for a serious example of what the essay could look like, try this.
Here are the submission rules.
1. Essay cannot be more than 500 words.
2. Multiple entries are allowed, but multiple parts of a single essay are not. Each entry must be a standalone essay.
3. Essay must address the stated topic: Why I Am Going to Vote for Donald Trump
4. Winning essay must be signed with your legal name. You can initially submit with a pen name, but you cannot claim the prize unless you agree to have the essay published at 3Quarks Daily and ThePublicProfessor under your legal name.
4. Essay must be submitted by 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time, August 1, 2016. That gives you over a month, and a chance to watch to GOP convention for inspiration.
5. Essay can be submitted as text in the body of an email, or attached to the email as a .pdf, .wpd, or .odt file. I loathe and despise Microsoft Word, and will not accept any .doc or .docx files. It's time for you sheep to rise up!
6. Essay must be emailed to TrumpEssay [at] Gmail.
That's it. The rest is up to you. And again, someone will win a one-way ticket to Mexico.
A non-stop plane from Bangor, Maine? Probably not. A bus from Brownsville, Texas? God, I hope so. Probably something in between. Logistical details to follow, depending on where the winner is leaving from. The winner may be required to fund their initial travel to a departure location within the United States.
Now get crackin'.
Let the public shaming continue!
Akim Reinhardt's website is ThePublicProfessor.com