Earlier in the month, you may have seen Chris Cillizza‘s illustration-rich, video-accompanied piece in which he declared the winners and losers of the year 2015. A lot of people who did see the piece were unhappy with Cillizza’s choices, or really, one choice in particular: that of Hillary Clinton as co-winner, along with Jeb Bush, of the worst year award.
Among those who questioned Cillizza’s pic was numbers wizard Nate Silver. “Roughly 1 billion people sent me this tweet from ESPN’s Nate Silver,” writes Cillizza, “which provided further proof of my (a) bias or (b) stupidity.”
The tweet in question:
Hillary Clinton, whose chances of becoming the 45th president have risen from ~35% to ~55%, has probably had the best year in Washington.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) December 24, 2015
But Cillizza stands by his reasoning for a question that, by its nature, is qualitative, pointing to the usual proof points like the email controversy and Clinton’s struggles against an ascendant Bernie Sanders.
While Clinton has fared better recently, as Cillizza acknowledges, he stresses that this was an aberration from the rest of the year, concluding:
But an examination of the entirety of 2015 — not just the last two months of the year — suggests that she damaged herself enough to turn a coronation into a contest for the Democratic nomination and to hand Republicans a cudgel with which to attack her in the general election.
In other words, the fact that Clinton’s path this year did not align to a predictive, conventional political narrative was an important factor in determining that her year was a bad one.