Friday, April 28, 2017

Just Stupid

According to this poll, in spite of what we know now, the American electorate would still elect Trump.

There’s no honeymoon for Donald Trump in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll but also no regrets: He approaches his 100th day in office with the lowest approval rating at this point of any other president in polls since 1945 — yet 96 percent of those who supported him in November say they’d do so again today. . . .

Among those who report having voted for [Trump] in November, 96 percent today say it was the right thing to do; a mere 2 percent regret it. And if a rerun of the election were held today, the poll indicates even the possibility of a Trump victory in the popular vote among 2016 voters.


Among surveyed Americans who say they voted in the 2016 election, 46 percent say they voted for Hillary Clinton and 43 percent for Trump — very close to the 2-point margin in the popular vote. However, while Trump would retain almost all of his support if the election were held again today (96 percent), fewer of Clinton’s supporters say they’d stick with her (85 percent), producing a 40-43 percent Clinton-Trump result in a hypothetical redo among self-reported 2016 voters.

That’s not because former Clinton supporters would now back Trump; only 2 percent of them say they’d do so, similar to the 1 percent of Trump voters who say they’d switch to Clinton. Instead, they’re more apt to say they’d vote for a third-party candidate or wouldn’t vote.

There are various reasons for this sentiment, according to Chauncey DeVega in Salon:

Political scientists and other researchers have repeatedly documented that the American public does not have a sophisticated knowledge on political matters. The average American also does not use a coherent and consistent political ideology to make voting decisions. As Larry Bartels and Christopher Achen demonstrate in their new book “Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government,” Americans have identities and values that elites manipulate, which voters in turn use to process information — however incorrectly.

Or, to put it more succinctly, Americans are mostly ignorant when it comes to what’s going on outside their own little world that may consist of their surroundings and their own sense of entitlement, much less what’s going on in another part of the country or the world.  All they know is what someone tells them, taking it at face value, unaware or uncaring that they are being manipulated or just plain lied to.  The guy on TV said it, therefore it must be true.  (That also explains a great deal about organized religion, but that’s a topic for another post.)

This is but one more reminder that Donald Trump’s victory was not a sudden crisis or unexpected surprise. The neofascist movement that Trump represents was an iceberg of sorts — one that was a long time in the making. If this new poll is correct, many millions of Americans would make choices that would steer the ship of state into that same iceberg all over again. Such an outcome is ominous. The thought process that would rationalize such a decision is deranged.

As I noted earlier this week, not all the people who live in places were Trump won by a landslide are deranged; some of them are more enlightened, even frightened.  But we don’t have a lot of time to wait for the rest of them to come around.

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