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Mark Halperin offers a master class in how not to evaluate presidential candidates

Scott Olson/Getty Images

How's Ben Carson doing so far in his short-lived campaign for the presidency? According to Mark Halperin, legendary political journalist and mover and shaker behind Bloomberg's big new politics site, he's doing pretty much okay despite a substantively disastrous message:

But Carly Fiorina is doing even better than Carson despite a similarly poor substantive performance.

Style is everything


That's right, a C- performance on substance didn't drag Fiorina's average down at all.

And that's not even the most bizarre report card Halperin issued.

This is not how grading works


Princeton Professor Sam Wang took the trouble to do a quantitative analysis of Halperin's grades and showed that in all cases style mattered more than substance and in many cases Halperin didn't judge substance to matter at all.

Who grades the grader?

Sam Wang

Ironically, even Halperin himself seems perfectly aware that this is deranged.

"Elections are about are serious debates over serious issues," said Vermont Senator and internet superstar Bernie Sanders in his announcement press conference "not political gossip, not making campaigns into soap operas."

Halperin judged the scolding to be Sanders' best moment and awarded him high marks for both substance and style (though naturally his overall rating is identical to his style rating).

Bernie wins scold points