Thursday, November 10, 2016

Delusions and Realities

One of the problems with the way the election played out is that it went against the beliefs and attitudes of those folks who are reality-based folks AND supported the beliefs of those who think that everything is a lie and buy heaps of conspiracy crap.

Yes, we, the reality-based folks got the election wrong.  Not because there was a groundswell of support by those with economic grievances but because the Democratic turnout was so lousy (not just a Hillary problem--2010, 2014--but still an indictment of the candidate). 

The problem is that the folks who fervently believed in Trump winning will (already have) think that the rest of their views have been verified--that immigrants are significant threat, that trade harms more than helps (nope, automation is the real job killer), that there is more crime today than ten years ago, that Putin ain't so bad, and on and on.  And, yes, alas, white supremacy and misogyny have been legitimated by the electoral college.

I am not sure how to react to all of this.  I know what I know--the stats do not lie about crime, about immigration, about trade, and all the rest.  But I don't know how we can convince the Trump supporters of this.  I think the key is not trying to persuade many of Trumps fans to see reality as it actually exists, but to figure out how to get the Democrats to turn out better.  I leave that to people who study/understand/do collective action. 

I will admit that confirmation bias, a consistent theme here at the Spew, was shared by all.  Everyone saw what they wanted to see, and I very much did as well.  I got upset at Nate Silver, but it turned out he was mostly right--that the polls were wrong mostly in the same direction--mostly missing which likely voters were actually going to vote.  The Dems didn't show up in key states.  Voter suppression clearly played a major role in Wisconsin (where HRC did not campaign), but not so much in PA and Michigan which got a heap of attention.  And, yes, we are likely to get more voter suppression in the future with a right leaning Supreme Court and an encouraged GOP that got away with a desperate and delegitimating tactic

I own this mistake--I will not delete the tweets or blog posts.  My confidence/arrogance will remain here.  But, to be clear, I don't think we who got the election wrong are wrong about much of the other stuff--that Trump's success was via ethnic outbidding, that his policies are likely to be harmful, that we are in for a world of hurt, especially those who are most vulnerable--those who are the primary targets of white supremacists.

This event can and should shake our confidence in predicting elections.  It cannot and should not shake our confidence in the basic realities of US (and other) politics.

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