Title text: This really validates Jones's strategy of getting several thousand more votes than Smith. In retrospect, that was a smart move; those votes were crucial.
This comic is a joke about the way newscasters commentate elections, and how they make it far more complicated than it needs to be in an election in which the candidate with the most votes wins. It's not uncommon for these methods to be used to imply the election is neck-and-neck long past the point one candidate has an insurmountable lead.
Smith has 55384 votes, while Jones has 59102 votes. Instead of comparing the votes as one number, and admitting that Jones' four thousand vote lead is likely going to earn him the win, Cueball compares each digit to see which is larger. Smith's digits in the hundreds, tens, and ones are all higher than Jones', so ultimately he implies that Smith has a chance to win, if only he could pull ahead in the thousands digit and secure a dramatic upset. In reality all that maters is who has the higher total number of votes.
It should be noted that for U.S. Presidential elections, the candidate with more votes does not necessarily win. Each state (plus the District of Columbia) gets a certain number of votes, and the victor in those states usually (though not always) receives all of the state's votes. In that specific case, tracking individual victories (though in states, not in digits) is actually highly relevant to who wins. That said, the comic appears be depicting something on a much smaller scale, such as a municipal or district election, which is likely to use the more common most-votes-wins method of election.
The title text is a similarly satirical twist on a common news comment during elections. Candidates often employ different strategies during the election season, with varying degrees of success. For example, if a strategy collected many votes (or important votes, see above paragraph), then it could be said that the area it affected was "crucial". Here, the area affected by Jones' strategy (an entire place value) is said to have been crucial — an obvious claim, seeing as greater place values always result in greater amounts indicated.
- [Cueball is presenting a graphic on his left that shows two names followed by five digits]
- Cueball: Smith is leading in 3 of the 5 digits, and is tied in another. But Jones has a solid lead the thousands place, if Smith can't catch up there, it's over.
- Smith: 5 5 3 8 4
- Jones: 5 9 1 0 2
- [In each column, the higher number is marked with a check mark and the lower with a cross and greyed out. The fives in the leftmost column are marked "tie"]
- [Caption below the panel:]
- A lot of election commentary just consists of unnecessarily convoluted ways to add up who has more votes.
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A lot of election commentary falls under the category of Bayesian inference. The various news agencies have prior distributions for the votes from all of the precincts, and update their estimates of the final total votes based on the precincts that have reported so far. Thus, "Candidate X is leading Candidate Y in votes received, but since only the precincts that previously have favoured X-like candidates have reported in so far, and they aren't giving X as much a lead as expected, we think this means Y will win overall." 126.96.36.199 18:11, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Anybody else getting tired of whiny Californicators and New Yorkers trying to use their superior population to dictate to the rest of the country how to live? Seebert (talk) 20:12, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
- Anybody else getting tired of the middle of the country trying to use their geographic footprint to dictate to the majority of the population how to live? 188.8.131.52 23:01, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
- No, I'm tired of small communities trying to use "oh but added up we have a larger population than you!" to try and justify insulting California and New York.184.108.40.206 21:12, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
- Except for they don't, because they still don't. You can add together the populations of all the other states combined and not have a majority of voters.Seebert (talk) 21:14, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
- California population: 40 million. New York population: 20 million. US population: 330 million. Please check your sources next time.220.127.116.11 21:18, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
- Anybody else getting tired of whiny Kansans, Oklahomans, and other podunk nutjobs trying to act like they're even remotely important and meaningful? (Unsigned post by 18.104.22.168)
- I'm just tired of people who don't want to live by the rules preferred by a larger portion of society getting undue influence over the rules & leadership of that society. It's blatantly un-democratic & the corporate driven corruption it enables is now so egregious that I believe treason charges would be appropriate in many cases...
- ProphetZarquon (talk) 15:44, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
- U.S. Code Title 18. Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 06:15, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
- U.S. Constitution Article III, Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. (clause break) The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. (Side note here, this is most of where the Title 18 stuff originated. 22.214.171.124 23:19, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
- Of course someone is going to do a "well actually" on treason and EC/state population topics. --126.96.36.199 21:11, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Someone do a left-brained election night show, try to hide who you personally favor even though the other candidate sucks, do the digit lead thing and put it on Youtube. Please! But not monotone, make it sound like CNN. Preferably taped on election night so the lack of foreknowledge is real. Like someone could type updates as they come in, give them to the "newscasters" and they'd take the page and be like "this just in, Trump's millions digit in Pennsylvania is now 3, this completely eliminates Bernie's advantage in the other digits, if he doesn't increase this digit (points at digit) to 3 his chances of becoming president drop from 60 to 20 percent. What do you think the chances of that are Bob? Well, since the last time we've analyzed it the chance of that digit exceeding 2 has decreased slightly, to 70%, and even if he wins that digit the battleground just returns to lower digits, his chance of winning the state is still only 50%. The state most likely to vote for the election winner is PA so we'll be watching the shit out of it, even more than Michigan and Wisconsin (the chance of Trump and Sanders becoming president updates)" Even if it's just 2 suits changing cards on a wall with digits and states names on them and a cardboard red and blue map I'd totally watch that the day after. (Unsigned post by 188.8.131.52)
- Do you really believe Sanders will get the nomination this time? I don't see any evidence of that: I think the nomination will go to someone more "centrist" (read: collusive) again & that the Democratic base will once again be so disgusted by the nomination of yet another faux progressive that they stand a good chance of losing critical votes again. I don't think the DNC is willing to elect a truly progressive candidate. ProphetZarquon (talk) 16:04, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm surprised Randall didn't do a comic on Julian Assange being arrested yesterday after living for six years in an embassy for safety. It fits with election theme a little: WikiLeaks' release of Hillary's e-mails was big for Trump's election, and now he is getting arrested during Trump's administration. 184.108.40.206 22:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Should the explanation mention that comparing numbers like in the comic is valid for some sports (e.g. tennis). Condor70 (talk) 12:28, 15 April 2019 (UTC)