Dice

I think the #1 thing i’m embarrassed about is that I didn’t take seriously the one in three chance that the best pollsters gave Trump of winning.   As John Hobo wrote: “I’ve never played Russian roulette – don’t intend to – but I think I know enough of tabletop games to know that sometimes a six-sided die comes up 6.”

So I really didn’t have a contingency plan; still don’t.  I’d chatted about hedging.  I.e. placing a largish bet that Trump would win, so then at least I’d have some winnings – either way.  But the consensus was that it’s difficult to hedge against an existential threat.

Back around the turn of the century I read “Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll Call Voting.”   Which revealed the shocking trend in polarization.  Back then it was all on the Right.  Still is, to first order.

So, I came to form opinions about how that was likely to unfold over time.  Models of possible destinations.  For example the last time this happened we got the Civil War.

My best case scenario was (maybe still is) that the party of the right would implode; go insane.  That the voters would look at that and run away.  The George W. Bush administration gave some confirmation to that hope.   But, also a taste of what a terrifying journey that would be.

What I didn’t know until recently is that that political scientists tend to think about voter behavior and preferences.   For example, voter preferences flow from the party to the voters, mostly.  Not the other way around.  It’s unsurprising when you think about it.  How is the typical person to form an opinion about complex issues of governance except to turn to those around them.

It’s not as simple as to say the consensus of the party members flows top down.  It’s a social network thing.  But for a party  member to step away from the consensus accepting a huge about of collateral damage.  He has shred his entire social network.

 

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