Speed Reads

'Data Dummies'

Van Jones tells Conan how he knew Donald Trump might win

As liberal America works its way through the seven stages of grief regarding President-elect Donald Trump, CNN host Van Jones has a head start on shock, he told Conan O'Brien on Monday's Conan. The first reason he suspected Trump might beat Hillary Clinton, Jones said, is because he is not like "these people — I just call them now 'data dummies,' who all they can look at in politics and talk about is the data and the polls and the numbers and that sort of stuff." He did not mention Nate Silver or Nate Cohn or John King or any other data-driven political analyst, but said that his own "life is a focus group."

And it was during his visits to college campuses — "I sing for my supper" — and his interaction with people on TV and Twitter that he had his second insight, Jones said: People weren't all that into Clinton. "If you get on stage, even now, and you say 'Barack Obama,' people go nuts," he said, and "people go nuts, usually the other way," when you say "Donald Trump." "But I would say Hillary Clinton's name and it would be crickets," Jones said. It was partly that Democrats were lulled into complacency by the data showing Clinton with a 95 percent chance of winning, he added, shaking his head: "It's a 5 percent chance of an asteroid destroying the Earth! You might want to get busy!" He saw Democrats work harder to defeat John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, Jones said, which he still thinks is crazy: "Why would you work so hard to stop a John McCain and then do nothing to stop Trump except to say, 'Oh, Trump is terrible'?" Watch below. Peter Weber