There are a couple things that I want to say about… the narratives that are emerging, post-election. Both of them are also about math. Specifically, probability.

The disclaimer here is that I’m a grad student in a field that relies very heavily on probability, and I like probability because the way it helps me understand the universe, how it is likely to behave and what is happening when it doesn’t behave as expected, in a way that I personally find reassuring. However, I also know that probability makes basically the entire rest of my family feel kind of anxious (as in, I have a mom, a dad, a sister, a sister-in-law, and best fr0nd slash queerplatonic creative life partner, and I’m still definitely the only one sporting an “Engineers do it stochastically” t-shirt at family occasions), so I question, in a lot of ways, my ability to explain probability to other people, because my instincts are so, like, “oh, polling error, WHEW! I feel so much better!”

Anyway. I have tried this once before, re: rape statistics (possibly self-explanatory note on that post, but since my tags float to the bottom: discussions of rape cw), but I would also really appreciate it if you guys gave me feedback on this post (that post, too, if you like). Specifically: what kinds of examples make sense to you? Do I use any terms or examples you would like me to explain further? Also, I am trying to simplify some of the probabilistic questions involved, so let me know if in doing so I’ve managed to confuse you further. In any case: regard this as a living document. If I get feedback, I will either change the content of this post (and note that I have done so), or add links to reblogs/ask replies at the end.

So. Election narratives.

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The only one who could ever know the true probability of Trump winning would be someone like Rick Sanchez, because you’d have to see how the election played out in an infinite number of universes where Trump ran against Clinton.


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