Debate and demise of expertise

Workout notes: still feeling a bit rundown and my throat is a tiny bit scratchy. Sleep: still limited.
weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, reasonably good), weightless squats, incline presses: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, 6 x 150, military (standing, dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.
Head stand, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges.

Walk: 5K outside (to Lower Bradley Park); perfect walking weather. It was just a bit chilly.

Debate I was sad to see no handshake before OR after. That is just a shame. How I saw it: it was “everyone’s drunken uncle” vs. an expert and, well, I am sure that the other “drunken uncles” think that Trump did well.

It actually started off as a more conventional debate at first but then got ugly in the last hour or so. Trump refused to say that he’d accept the outcome of the election (thereby lending fire to the crazies…but also giving nervous downticket Republicans a reason to dump him) and he called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman”

The election It appears as if the betting markets have stabilized; most sports books have Clinton as a 1/6 to 1/7 favorite.

This election is a bit different from previous ones though. For starters, the battle lines are a bit different (despite Trump’s pivot to abortion):

It’s a very different story from 2008, when Barack Obama built a big national lead by attracting white working-class voters in states like Wisconsin and Indiana.

Instead, Mrs. Clinton’s gains come from big margins among well-educated voters and an electorate that’s much more diverse than it was even a decade ago.

The result is a sharp increase in polarization along demographic lines of race, education and gender — yet a decrease in geographic polarization. The predictable electoral map of the last four elections, born in part of the culture wars and split along familiar regional divides, might not look quite the same this November.

This dynamic helps explain why reliably red states are now on the verge of competitiveness, even as some traditional battleground states haven’t budged.

It seems as if the Clinton coalition consists of women, educated white people (many went to Romney in 2012), and minorities. So, even if some formerly blue states stay blue, the votes will be coming from different regions of the said states:

That struggle is playing out across the North, where Mr. Obama fared well among white voters four years ago. Ohio, the anchor of Mr. Obama’s so-called Midwestern firewall, remains very close. Mrs. Clinton has fared better in Wisconsin, but she’s not necessarily doing better there than she is nationwide.

The dynamic is also keeping many of the red, working-class states where Mr. Obama was competitive in 2008 — like Missouri, Montana and Indiana — out of the Democratic column.

Mrs. Clinton may yet sweep the Midwest, winning in places like Iowa and Ohio. But if she does prevail, she might do so in a very different way than Mr. Obama did four years ago.

She is making up for her weakness with strength in some of the most reliably Republican turf in the country. She’s running even with Mr. Trump in the Milwaukee suburbs; she leads in Western Michigan; and she’s posting huge leads in suburbs around Columbus, Ohio, and Philadelphia.

She’s struggling mightily in some traditionally Democratic or competitive areas like Green Bay, Wis.; northeastern Pennsylvania, including Scranton; northeastern Ohio, including Youngstown; and Macomb County, Mich. — the place that inspired the term “Reagan Democrats.”

This balance between Mrs. Clinton’s weakness among white working-class Northerners and her strength among well-educated voters might be enough to preserve a relatively similar electoral outcome in the Midwest, even as the underlying coalitions shift significantly. But this trade-off is not nearly as favorable for Mr. Trump in the states where there is much less room for him to make gains among white working-class voters.

And there is something else going on. How could a rank amateur like Trump have ever obtained the GOP nomination to begin with? Years ago, I grew up thinking of Republicans as the wealthier, more educated people. They valued competence and expertise.
Now, not so much:

Americans — or, at least, a particular subset of Americans — have had enough of experts, facts, math, data. They distrust them all.

This rising cynicism, sown recklessly by opportunistic politicians, will not only make it increasingly difficult for policymakers to make good choices and govern peacefully; it could also become a significant economic challenge.

The latest evidence of this anti-evidence trend comes from a Marketplace-Edison Research Poll released last week.

The survey found that more than 4 in 10 Americans somewhat or completely distrust the economic data reported by the federal government. Among Donald Trump voters, the share is 68 percent, with nearly half saying they don’t trust government economic data “at all.” […]

Offered sober-minded, nonpartisan analyses that Trump’s fiscal plans would add trillions to deficits and jeopardize the economy, his supporters claim these assessments must be lies because (A) the analysts are biased against him, and (B) Trump would obviously never let bad things happen to the economy, duh.

In other words, ignore the experts, ignore the math, trust the message.

Or as World’s Worst Surrogate Ben Carson said Friday on MSNBC, “Let’s throw the economists out, and let’s use common sense.” Presumably Carson believes that all forms of expertise, including neurosurgical, should be similarly disposed of in favor of “common sense.”

This paranoid anti-evidence trend long predates the current election, of course.

There was also a poll “unskewing” cottage industry in 2012, when supporters of Mitt Romney were convinced their candidate would win the White House handily. Then, as now, large rally crowds were cited as evidence that pollsters simply had to be wrong.

Why do voters continue to buy this nonsense?

Of course, experts aren’t always right. But they are right most of the time; after all, our planes fly, our medicine works and you are reading this via a computer/smart phone via a computer network.

And of course, distrust of expertise isn’t solely a conservative thing; witness the behavior of the Third Degree Bern Victims and the Stein supporters. Yes, we liberals have our crackpots and their supporters. But they don’t reach the top of our ticket…not yet anyway.


October 20, 2016 - Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training |

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