Brow Beat

Once Again, the American People Have Misunderstood My Election Entrail-Reading Methodology

An illustration from a 1910s advertisement for a magician, staring into a skull he is holding, as ghosts fly from the eye sockets.
Hard at work in our Election War Room. Strobridge & Co. Lith./Library of Congress

Election results are slowly coming in, and although it’ll be a while before we know the final vote totals, one thing is clear: The American people are saying rude things about me on Twitter, which means they have once again failed to understand the complicated methodology behind my election coverage.

This was not unforeseen. As Chief Haruspex at Ntrailz, where we bring a different and more hepatoscopy-driven perspective to elections than many news organizations, I’m no stranger to misguided outrage from the unenlightened masses. I understand why, to the untrained, ignorant, stupid, stupid, stupid eye of the layman, Ntrailz’s “2020 General Election Prophecy: Complete Results” might have looked like some kind of prophecy about the results of the 2020 general election. But when I wrote “Joe Biden will be declared President of the United States in a landslide before the sun sets over Mauna Loa on Election Day, which is to say before 5:54 P.M. Hawaii Standard Time, Nov. 3, 2020,” I was talking about a range of probabilities, not making a definite prediction. When I went on MSNBC to announce that Ntrailz’s Sacred Rooster had pecked the grains covering the letters “β,” “Ι,” and “Δ,” and excitedly told Rachel Maddow that this “absolutely guarantees a Biden blowout,” I assumed anyone with a grade school background in alectryomancy would know I was speaking figuratively. And when I tweeted, “JOE BIDEN CANNOT LOSE! 50 STATE SWEEP! ZERO VOTES FOR TRUMP NATIONWIDE! BET YOUR HOUSE ON IT!!!” I was doing cocaine. Once you filter out the noise and misinformation, the election results actually validate important features of our model. I want to explain in a little more detail, so that you can all see exactly why you owe me an apology.

At Ntrailz, we approach election coverage by tracking the births of deformed livestock nationwide, sacrificing those livestock on the altar of Apollo, then carefully examining their livers. No polls, no “adjustments,” no sampling errors, just the same tried-and-true liver-based approach that has been successfully predicting the outcome of United States presidential elections since Calchas talked Agamemnon into murdering his own daughter. Our methodology has several advantages for everyone involved except the livestock: It is empirical, which means when it comes to predicting elections, I am the emperor and you all have to shut up; it is probabilistic, which means I’ll probably go ballistic if you question my methods; and most importantly, it produces falsifiable hypotheses, which means that if anyone hypothesizes that I am making all this shit up, that is false.

Take Florida. Our prediction, based on studying the liver of a sheep fetus from Apalachicola that was stillborn with a missing left ear, was that “a god would harken to the prayer of the king, the king would take the land of his enemy, the palace of the enemy would be destroyed, the enemy would be without a counselor, and the cattle of the enemy’s country would be diminished.” In the actual event, Donald Trump carried the state with 51.2 percent of the vote. So did Donald Trump defy the will of the gods, or did the public and legacy media misinterpret our research?

The truth is, it’s probably a little of both. No one can outright defy the will of the gods, but Donald Trump could certainly have changed it with a well-timed sacrifice, and no one’s seen Eric for days. As for the public, your average American has never so much as bitten the head off a dove, never mind briefly skimming Babylonian-Assyrian Birth Omens and Their Cultural Significance (Jastrow, 1914) like I have, so I’m confident they share some or all of the blame here. And I have nothing but scorn for the networks, who breathlessly repeated the parts of my prophecy that fit their narrative while completely ignoring the significance of the sheep’s ears. As I noted in the full report, the fetus got a little banged up on the drive home from Florida—rats in the trunk—which made it difficult to be sure precisely how many ears it originally had. If we missed one, that would indicate that “the boundary city of the enemy will become subject to you,” which accounts for Biden’s underperformance in Miami-Dade County.

In short, despite what critics say, the problem here is not my methodology or the way I present my work to the public or the open pit of liverless sheep fetuses in my yard or, indeed, anything to do with me at all. In fact, based on reports of an absolutely Cronenbergian litter of sheep born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, earlier today, I can confidently predict that I will soon be entirely vindicated. As long as a few of the breaks go my way.