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Skyscript Astrology Forum

Lessons from Failed US Presidential Predictions

 
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Mark
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Joined: 30 Sep 2005
Posts: 5103
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:41 am    Post subject: Lessons from Failed US Presidential Predictions Reply with quote

I have always felt we learn a lot more from our failures or setbacks in life than from our successes. Success creates a wonderful feeling of self affirmation but it can risk making you complacent. In contrast failure should ideally instil a reflective more sober analysis of where things went wrong. This principle should strongly apply to mundane astrology where no sensible astrologer wants to repeat errors that might generate an unsuccessful forecast or prediction.

It has to admitted the 2016 Presidential election was rather a setback for the US astrological community. US astrologers performed quite poorly at predicting the result of the Presidential election correctly using a variety of methods. The entire ISAR panel of 6 leading US astrologers all opted for a Clinton win.

http://webshop.isarastrology.org/isar-2016-conference/presidential-election-panels/2nd-presidential-election-panel-american.html
Note: Marc Penfield did not attend and was replaced as a panel member.

The International Panel of astrologers was slightly more successful:

http://webshop.isarastrology.org/isar-2016-conference/presidential-election-panels/1st-presidential-election-panel-international.html

However, while the US panel ISAR panel result was rather extreme my wider research into 2016 predictions confirmed that US astrologers performed much lower than a random binary average of 50% would have produced. That is clearly a disturbing fact.

The terms cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias has been thrown about a lot afterwards in the direction of those astrologers who called that election incorrectly.

It is true the American astrological community , like that in the United Kingdom, does tend to lean politically to the left overall. Its hard to deny that some US astrologers may have unintentionally let their political affiliation influence how they read the charts. To many Americans the prospect Trump could win was politically inconceivable. And those living in heavily democrat states probably found this even more difficult to envision. This view was generally propped up by most of the mainstream media outlets and polling companies. The need to remain objective and not let personal prejudice or media memes influence our astrological perception of things is always a fundamental challenge for mundane astrologers.

Having said that it needs to be recognised that confirmation bias is a two sided coin. Some right of centre astrologers may have benefited from their political affiliation in 2016 as it may have inadvertently assisted them in making an accurate prediction that Trump would win. As the saying goes ‘’when you see it you will believe it’’. This was after all a binary vote with only two possible outcomes.

It also has to be acknowledged that US Presidential elections are a great political and social spectacle that create massive interest not just in the US but internationally. These elections tend to throw up a fair proportion of what I call ‘’mundane tourists’’. These are astrologers who are normally focused on natal work with clients but in the excitement of the US presidential election cycle decide to throw their hat into the ring and make a mundane prediction. As I suggest later nativities is actually a pivotal consideration in US Presidential elections. But the mundane tourists that stop by often tend to ignore wider planetary cycles going on that may change things.

One point worth noting is that because the birth time of Hillary Clinton was in question several astrologers exclusively relied on non-natal techniques 2016. However, this approach may be problematic in regards the US political system. Overall, the results of astrologers relying primarily on natal charts in 2016 were better than those relying exclusively on non-natal techniques. Many predicted a Trump win with fairly basic natal techniques like transits, secondary progressions and solar arcs. Clearly, its good to incorporate numerous techniques in a holistic analysis. Still, astrologers should take note of the experience from 2016 in predicting the 2020 contest.

Probably, the most fundamental lesson we all need to absorb about making predictions in future on the US Presidential election is that the US Presidential vote is not a direct expression of the popular vote. If it was Clinton would have been elected in 2016 as about 3 million more American voters cast their ballot for Clinton rather than Trump. This makes the US Presidential voting system quite idiosyncratic and unlike most other countries such as France where the final vote is a straight fight between two candidates decided on just the popular vote.

The unique electoral college system used in US elections is not a direct expression of the popular vote but rather a first past the post/ winners takes all approach in each individual state. Hence if say 49% of Florida voters vote for one candidate those votes are completely discounted in a Presidential vote and all electoral college votes for that entire state go to one candidate. While the 538 electors of the Electoral College collectively determine who wins U.S. Presidential and Vice Presidential elections, each state legislature has the ability to determine how its constitutionally-mandated electoral votes (equal to its total Congressional representation) are assigned to specific candidates. However, currently only 2 of the 50 US states (Nebraska and Maine) actually split their electoral college votes at present.

There have been calls to reform the system for decades moving to a more proportionate system either abolishing the electoral college altogether or instituting a proportionate split system across every US state. However, this would require a constitutional amendment and at present the Republican majority states which currently benefit from this system see no political incentive to favour reform. Looking back this disconnection between the popular vote and electoral college votes has happened several times in US history. Most recently in 2000 when Al Gore lost to George W Bush due to those controversial few Florida state votes. In that election Gore polled half a million more votes than Bush.

Because the US system can throw up this kind of conflicting result it seems wise to recommend that non-natal techniques need to be used with extreme caution in future US Presidential elections. They, may indeed give us valuable astrological insight into where popular opinion is headed or the trend of wider cycles. However, that may not be enough to accurately predict the outcome.

The US remains a highly polarised country politically and socially at present so it seems quite possible the 2020 election could result in another split result where the popular vote does not relate directly to the to the result by electoral college votes. I think where possible we should incorporate the natal charts of the candidates into our predictive analysis. Also those of Vice Presidential candidates when available. Naturally, we should still be looking at other charts too. So planetary cycles, ingress charts, lunation charts, eclipse charts and national charts can all be revealing and provide additional evidence in support of a prediction. But we need to seek validation in nativities in US Presidential elections.

Some other final advice for prospective predictors in 2020:

Leave your politics behind you. If you cant think of the election without focusing on your intense dislike of one of the Presidential candidates its probably wiser not to put out a prediction at all. This kind of prejudice inhibits good mundane astrology.

Get your prediction out several months before the election. Ideally, before the party conventions. Yes its tempting to look at times for party acceptance votes for a candidate and acceptance speeches by that candidate. But you don’t really need these to make an accurate prediction. Having charts for the launch of a campaign is very useful though.

Don’t look at opinion polls as you approach the election. Anyone remember Nate Silver and his supposedly infallible polling analysis? The New York Times had a polling forecast in late October 2016 that Clinton had a 90%+ chance of winning. mmmm

Don’t get drawn into media coverage. Overall, the New York and California based media tends to be pro-Democrat overall so you have to factor that into any political analysis you are listening to. The same applies to right of centre outlets such as Fox news. Lots of internet traffic is politically biased. Try to avoid getting sucked into the noise of all this. A good mundane prediction needs a significant degree of detachment from what wider society saying around you. So as much as you can shut yourself off from all the buzz around you.

Turn your phone off and just focus on the astrology. Ironically, this is one activity where some self isolation could be very personally beneficial. So if you can find yourself a nice cave, desert Island , Lighthouse, or cabin in the woods to do this this all the better! Failing that maybe sitting outside with your laptop in the garden. Whatever works for you try to create a safe , calm haven for yourself to do the work.

I wish you all success in your 2020 predictions. Lets try and raise the bar as a community this time round.

Mark
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As thou conversest with the heavens, so instruct and inform thy minde according to the image of Divinity William Lilly
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 964
Location: Canada

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark--

Ed Falis (on the Astrodienst forum, here occasionally) correctly predicted a Trump victory in 2016 using primary directions.

It occurred to me that Aries ingress charts are not so helpful for the US because it's not a parliamentary system where the party winning the most ridings gets its party leader as the prime minister. As you know, in the US there is a president & vice president ticket, but then it's not unusual for one or both legislative branches to be dominated by the other major party. The President or presidential candidate is not the head of the political party.

The US has now had two ambivalent general election results (Gore vs. Bush in 2000 where the vote was so tight it was resolved by the Florida Supreme Court and a re-count,) and Clinton-Trump in 2016; where Trump handily won the Electoral College but Clinton won a majority of the popular vote.

Changing the US Electoral College would requite an amendment to the Constitution, which would be a very difficult process. It would be easier for individual states to change their winner-take-all sweepstakes approach to the popular vote. Individual state legislatures could pass a system of a split, more proportional representation as is done in Maine and Nebraska.
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 3672
Location: vancouver island

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks mark,

i want to point out one of the most stellar posts at skycript from the last USA election was from ellen who correctly predicted trump would win... i remember getting caught up on the various birth times for hillary clinton, but ellen didn't even bother with clintons chart to come to the conclusion trump would win.... let me quote her here

Ellen wrote:

To be fair, I have not looked at the charts of any other candidates, so I can't say whether any of them have anything going on of interest. But I find it difficult to believe that any of them could surpass what Trump's chart seems to promise.


here is a link to her post for anyone interested in revisiting it...

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9001&sid=b33cff869da91aecf5b31b0d74d8a574
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
Posts: 1519
Location: California, USA

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because the U.S. electoral college vote (which decides who will become president) can be and has been different from the popular vote, "Who will win the election?" is a very ambiguous question to say the least.

Perhaps the only question that can be clearly answered is "Will this person receive the crown of the king on inauguration day?" This means that we have to use the natal charts of the contenders for our prediction.

Because of Covid-19 and the probable fact that many more ballots will be mail-in ballots, and thus take longer to count, the expectation is that it's likely we won't know the election result until some time after election day. We can perhaps expect election chaos.

I will re-post this message on the U.S. election topic when it's opened.
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