On the first night of the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival, Nate Silver, prognosticator and author of the award-winning website FiveThirtyEight.com, sat down in conversation with Katie Couric. Silver is known to political pundits as the blogger who correctly predicted the 2008 presidential winner in 49 states, and then got all 50 states right for the 2012 Presidential election.
Though Silver was visibly thrilled to be interviewed by Couric, he wasted no time explaining how most political reporters miss the story as they try to portray themselves as unbiased. “People are trying to avoid taking sides in politics, that gets them in trouble,” he said. “But the good thing is that in elections, in the long run, each party wins about half the time, so you are naturally being neutral if you are telling the truth—basically, being honest about who’s gonna win at a given time. That doesn’t mean each election is 50-50.”
For her part, Couric made sure to get Silver’s prediction for 2016. He dubbed Marco Rubio the closest thing the GOP has to a front-runner, thinks Chris Christie could be a great candidate, but won’t be accepted by his party, and believes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is being overlooked in the run-up to the election. “He outperformed in his state, conservatives like him, he’s near Iowa. It all starts adding up.”
As for the Democrats, Silver suggests that the entire field of candidates is waiting to see what Hillary Clinton will decide. “It’s almost as though she’s the incumbent,” he said of the deference she’s receiving. “If she has not privately signaled to a Cuomo, O’Malley, Booker, Biden by New Year’s Day 2015, then it becomes problematic [to fundraising and organizing efforts].”
Watch below as Silver explains his fantasy scenario for the presidential election in 2016.