New York Times political guru, who is famous for using statistics in his 538 column to predict the outcome of elections, has come out of the closet as a gay man. (Not that he was ever closeted in the traditional sense, it’s just that his sexual orientation wasn’t widely known) We certainly welcome the smartest political mind in Washington and give a big, hearty hello!
According to a profile in the Guardian:
For weeks and months, the election had been “too close to call”. Pundit after pundit declared that the election could “go either way”. That it was “neck and neck”. Only it wasn’t. In the end, it turned out not to be neck and neck at all. Or precisely what Nate Silver had been saying for months. On election day, he predicted Obama had a 90.9% chance of winning a majority in the electoral votes and by crunching polling data he successfully predicted the correct result in 50 out of 50 states.
“You know who won the election tonight?” asked the MSNBC TV news anchor, Rachel Maddow. “Nate Silver.”
In the weeks before the election, Silver’s critics (largely on the right, angry that he was predicting an Obama win) attacked not just his methodology, but also him. Dean Chambers of UnSkewedPolls.com railed against his “voodoo statistics“, claimed he’d been “smoking the wacky weed” and finally pronounced him a “thin and effeminate” man “of small stature” with a “soft-sounding voice”.
There was more than a touch of homophobia to the criticism (Silver is gay), not to mention an aversion to scientific rationalism that has come to characterise certain segments of the conservative right. (Gawker compared the attack to “something like a jock slapping a math book out of a kid’s hands and saying, ‘NICE NUMBERS, FAG.’”)
Silver not only serves as a role model for gay kids, but stands for the triumph of geeks over idiots who push them around in schoolyards. This election cycle has been astounding. Not only did the LGBT community elect openly gay candidates — the dude who accurately predicted the election is out. This is truly a new day for the LGBT world, where our youth know that they can go as far as their grit, drive, determination, and abilities take them.