Sunday, December 11, 2016

The unreality bubble

Bill Maher said back on October 16 something which had been pretty obvious for a long time:
Maher said Trump voters live in "a reality of their own choosing."
"It's not even a race between ideologies anymore. It's not Republican and Democrat or conservative and liberal. It's reality versus alternative reality," he said.
It's this mindset that leads to unerring loyalty, Maher said, despite what he called Trump's predilection for "bold-faced, caught-on-tape lying."
"They don't care. They know, or they don't know, it doesn't matter to them. He's their guy," Maher said.
Hence, Russian involvement in aiding his election either won't be believed by them, or even if believed, won't matter.  Because the culture warrior conservative Right currently has the hots for "strongman"  quasi-dictatorial government, and an enormous crush on Putin.  (Seems their reasoning is a combination of "he knows what he wants and he gets his way; America used to be like that*", and "he don't put up with any nonsense from gays".)

Anyway, back to the objective evidence that Maher is absolutely correct.  Talking about a recent survey, Rachel Maddow went through the details: 
Rachel started the segment by pointing out that President Obama's overall approval rating is at 50%. However, while his favorability with Republicans is 9%, it is only 5% of Trump voters.
Rachel then pivoted to issue after issue where a large percentage of Trump voters were severely misinformed. They live in a virtually fact-free or made-up-fact environment.
The stock market under President Obama soared. The Dow Jones Industrial average went from 7,949.09 to 19,614.91, again, up 11,665.72. In other words, it more than doubled. 39% of Trump voters think the stock market went down under Obama.
Unemployment dropped from 7.8% to 4.6% during the Obama administration. Clinton, Johnson, Stein and other voters are well aware of that fact.
But not Donald Trump voters; 67% of them believe unemployment rose under President Obama.
Rachel continued.
  • 40% of Trump voters believe that Donald Trump won the popular vote.
  • 60% of Trump voters believe that millions voted illegally for Clinton.
  • 73% of Trump voters believe that George Soros paid Trump protesters.
  • 29% of Trump voters believe California vote should not be included in the popular vote.
Rachel's statement near the end of the segment was prescient.
"I think it shows that even after the election, what Trump voters believe about the world is distinctively different from what the rest of the country believe," Rachel said. "And from what is true. And this is an alternate reality that they are in, -- it is weird enough and specific enough that you can't say it just springs from broader a misunderstandings or from a broader ignorance on issues that afflicts the country. And this is a specific alternate reality that was created by the Trump movement for a political purpose. And it worked for that political purpose. And now as the Trump administration takes shape, they have to know that they are in power thanks to their voter base that has these false beliefs about the country. False beliefs about the country, false beliefs about the economy, false beliefs about the outgoing president, false beliefs about what California is. In terms of what happens next in our country, it seems important to know this incoming president basically created this fantasy life for his supporters."
* when actually, the runs on the board for "getting its way" have been decidedly mixed since 1945. 


TimT said...

This sounds like more of the same self-flattering bullshit Democrat supporters are using to excuse their election loss: "It's not because we stuffed up, it's because they're all stupid...." There were *plenty* of weird left-wing stories going around that demonstrated that Democrats were more than willing to believe in utter nonsense. For some reason the example that stands out for me (there were others) was the completely insane notion that Bernie Sanders, having lost the primaries, was going to go on to somehow be nominated to run for President anyway.

Steve said...

Tim, that's a really pathetic comparison. Hopes of a procedural upset at a convention (dependent as it is on all sort of arcance party rules and stuff) is absolutely, in no sense at all, comparable to large slabs of Trump supporters having not a clue about the true state of the national economy, the outcome of the election, and believing in conspiracies about millions of illegal voters.

Besides which, I hate to point it out to you, but the correlation between education level and voting for Trump is already out there.

Sometimes, it's true: politicians win because the dumber end of the population was swayed by them.

Is that so hard to believe?

Steve said...

Did you miss this?:

TimT said...

Mine was just a small example. All sorts of people believe in all sorts of weird things. The silly thing about Maddow's rhetoric is she really seems to believe that it's only her political opponents who are prone to believing stupid things. And *that* is itself a really strange thing to believe in indeed.

TimT said...

I guess the worst problem with this idea that 'we're right, you guys are wrong' in certain sections of the progressive press was that they were all evidently labouring under a massive delusion right until election day. They thought they were going to win. They were so sure of it! Days before the election I had been reading articles about being 'inside Trump's campaign, a campaign falling apart'. It was a huge error, an error compounded by the apparently shared belief of both pollsters and journalists and most politicians that it was correct. I shared it and I know you did to! In fact the only people who didn't were the Trump loyalists. No wonder they're gloating now.

Steve said...

Lots of people think Trump didn't even think he was going to win. And in popular vote terms - she up 2% on Trump.

Look, stupid views on the Left (or parts of it) can include:

a. antivaccination (although Trump is completely gullible on that too);
b. some of the minority claims on environmentalism (such as Caldicott on nuclear power, or that AGW will cause the planet to be a cinder in 100 years time, for examples);
c. some more extreme stuff to do with race or gender identity.

So yeah, no side of politics is 100% free from elements of it believing things that are wrong, silly or weird.

But the whole matter of how much harm is caused by this is tied up to what proportion of a side's base believes nonsense and/or conspiracy.

There is strong evidence that Trump supporters in very large numbers
believe wrong things, and as Maddow argued, this is no case of Trump being the unintended beneficiary. Trump and his team took full advantage of "fake news" and its promulgation.

For crying out loud - do you remember how Drudge again promoted the black dude claiming that Bill Clinton was his Dad, when years ago, Drudge himself had posted about the biological evidence that he couldn't be!

It was utterly shameless and disgraceful.

not trampis said...

Can I urge you two to visit Andrew Gelman's blog and look at his two posts on
The election or even better look at my Around the Traps.

I think this Steve will be interesting as Trump walks away from some(most) of his policy proposoals