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Are Trump Supporters Too Dumb To Know They’re Dumb? Science Says “Probably”

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Are Trump Supporters Too Dumb To Know They’re Dumb? Science Says “Probably”

How the hell can anybody call themselves intelligent when they’re supporting Donald Trump? It’s a question that baffles people who are able to think critically, able to read and comprehend both history and current events, and able to see through Trump’s thin façade of know-it-all-ism and deep into what he is – an ignorant, narcissistic, and dangerous conman.

Trump supporters not only don’t see this, they’re happy that there’s someone running for president that thinks exactly like them. Take Melanie Austin, of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. She thought her beliefs about Obama being a gay Muslim from Kenya and Michelle being transgender were just fringe beliefs – right up until she started hearing similar stuff from Trump and other right-wing extremists.

Now she knows she’s right about all of this. You can’t tell her that she’s ignorant and dumb if she can’t figure this out for herself. You can’t tell her she’s delusional. You can sit there with her, and countless others like her, and present facts, figures, charts, studies, and more, all from the most reputable sources there are, and prove that her lord and savior is wrong, and you’ll still get shot down.

There’s more to this than the problem of confirmation bias. Austin gets much of her information from fringe right-wing blogs and conspiracy sites, but that’s not all of it. Many of Trump’s supporters are seriously too dumb to know they’re dumb. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect, and it’s an unshakeable illusion that you’re much smarter, and more skilled and/or knowledgeable, than you really are.

People like Austin labor under the illusion that their knowledge about things is at least as good as, if not better than, the actual facts. For these people, though, their knowledge isn’t just superior – it’s superior even to those who have intimate and detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. Trump himself has exemplified this countless times, such as when he claimed he knows more about ISIS than even our military generals do.

His fans simply take his word for it, and believe that because he knows, they know. They are literally incapable of seeing that they don’t know.

To be sure, the Dunning-Kruger effect is present everyone all across the political spectrum, and indeed, in every walk of life. We all overestimate our abilities and knowledge somewhere. However, the effect is especially pronounced in people with limited intellectual and social skills:

“[P]eople who are unskilled in [intellectual and social domains] suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”

So basically, yes, it’s possible to be too dumb to realize you’re dumb.

In four separate studies, people who scored in the bottom quarter on tests involving everything from humor to logic, and even to grammar, grossly overestimated where they thought they would score. They averaged scores in the 12th percentile, while their average estimate of their own scores was the 62nd percentile.

The researchers attribute that huge discrepancy to a literal inability to distinguish accuracy from error. Or, to put it another way, those who are the most lacking in skills and knowledge are the least able to see it.

Take the case of McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks in 1995 and was caught rather easily. He thought he would get away with it because he rubbed his face with lemon juice, which is used in invisible ink. To test the theory that lemon juice would turn him invisible, he rubbed it on his face, took a Polaroid, and his face wasn’t in the picture! So he thought he was safe from security cameras because he could make his face invisible.

He was shocked when police caught him because of that, saying, “But I wore the juice.” He literally couldn’t see the ridiculousness of that line of thought.

David Dunning, one of the first to catalog the Dunning-Kruger effect (hence its name), has studied human behavior—including voter behavior—for decades. He penned an op-ed in Politico that explains why this effect is so pronounced in Trump’s supporters:

“It suggests that some voters, especially those facing significant distress in their life, might like some of what they hear from Trump, but they do not know enough to hold him accountable for the serious gaffes he makes. They fail to recognize those gaffes as missteps.

… Again, the key to the Dunning-Kruger Effect is not that unknowledgeable voters are uninformed; it is that they are often misinformed—their heads filled with false data, facts and theories that can lead to misguided conclusions held with tenacious confidence and extreme partisanship, perhaps some that make them nod in agreement with Trump at his rallies.”

Trump is completely inept, and his supporters are way too poorly-informed to know that he’s inept, and too dumb themselves to know how dumb they are. That’s why Trump’s supporters are so sure they’re smart and their president is smart that they won’t listen to reason. The effect is strong in these people.

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Beto Down 10 Points In the Polls?

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Beto Down 10 Points In the Polls?

 

Beto O'Rourke / Flickr Beto O x27 Rourke x27 s...
Beto O’Rourke / Flickr

This will be short, but in a comment in the front page article on last night’s Beto vs. Cruz debate, a poster lamented that Beto is “down 10 points” in the “polls”.  I am by no means saying that Beto will win…I’m a native Texan and we always knew this would be a long shot; however, in this reality-based community, I wanted to set the record straight.

According to 538, the current results of 31 polls has Cruz with a weighted average +5.8%.  While this is certainly a lead, who would have thought a year ago that the senate race in Texas would be this close?  Secondly, 538 has Beto’s chances of winning at 1 in 5 (similar to the odds they gave Trump).  As Texas supporters, we understand the odds, but we are doing everything we can to GOTV.

Something is happening in Texas.

And, win or lose, Democrats, which have been largely overlooked in our state, have the GOP’s attention.

Early voting starts next Tuesday, Oct. 22.  Let’s GOTV.

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An indicted Republican used racism, lies and Trump to attack his opponent. It didn’t go well.

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An indicted Republican used racism, lies and Trump to attack his opponent. It didn’t go well.

 

Rebel HQ / YouTube Big Pharma Republican Challenged By New 1539825945.jpg...
Rebel HQ / YouTube

At the start of 2018, most residents of New York’s rural 27th Congressional District assumed their local GOP Congressmember, multimillionaire Chris Collins, would coast to re-election in this strongly Republican district. But that changed in early August when Collins was indicted for insider trading and lying to the FBI. Those political tremors became seismic waves in September when Collins rejected the pleas of local GOP leaders to drop out so they could nominate a less ethically-challenged candidate. All of a sudden his Democratic opponent, Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, whose grassroots campaign had drawn little national attention beforehand, found himself in the middle of a new Red-to-Blue opportunity as money and support began rolling in.

Collins is one of Trump’s earliest and most strident supporters, so when he found himself facing an unexpected loss, he fell back on the tried and true tactics of his mentor and the modern GOP: racism, lies and personal attacks. Collins first attacked McMurray, whose wife is Asian-American, by showing a video of him speaking Korean and intentionally mistranslating McMurray’s words to falsely claim he worked to outsource jobs. The ad was widely criticized for its racist overtones and lies, so Collins came back with a second attack ad that criticized McMurray for supporting single-payer health care. And Collins’ third ad falsely hit McMurray by taking his comments about Donald Trump out of context. With his personal wealth against McMurray’s underfunded campaign, Collins had the airwaves entirely to himself, and he used it entirely on misleading, negative advertising.

Then something amazing happened.

With new attention on the race, McMurray was able to raise funds for a poll, with very surprising results: despite the strongly Republican inclinations of the district and McMurray’s low-budget campaign, McMurray had moved into a 42-42 dead heat with Collins. Collins’ attack ads appeared to have only raised McMurray’s name recognition, and the voters – no matter their ideology – were rejecting Collins’ racism, dishonesty, and attacks on health care. These results were confirmed by a subsequent Siena Poll, leading to McMurray being named to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program with just a few weeks left in the campaign.

Across the country, Democrats like Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, Christine Pellegrino in New York and Doug Jones in Alabama are winning in Republican turf by rewriting the script on how races are won, running proudly populist campaigns that reject corruption and corporate control of Washington, and standing up to special interests on issues like jobs and healthcare.

Many of these races are easily dismissed as outliers because of the specific failings of the GOP candidates involved. In McMurray’s case, his poll found that 90% of the voters sampled had heard, seen or read about Collins’ indictment. But the desire to drain the swamp may be more desirable than the leadership in either party is willing to admit. Voters in districts like New York’s 27th, who voted heavily for Donald Trump in 2016, appear to view corruption on both sides of the aisle as the true enemy.

Politics aside, McMurray’s slow-and-steady grassroots approach laid a foundation that no one saw coming. Before anyone else thought he was viable, he was doing the hard work that makes democracy run, spending months going from one small town event to another; introducing himself to farmers, families and small business owners; and talking at every gathering or union picnic that would let him.

Collins’ indictment put McMurray’s campaign on the map for a political establishment that had dismissed him only weeks before. Collins’ negative advertising was the catalyst that gave Nate the boost he needed to pull dead even with less than a month to go. But McMurray’s willingness to run in what many saw as a hopeless race, and work tirelessly because it was simply the right thing to do, are the true foundations of a red-to-blue opportunity that could significantly reshape politics in 2019 and beyond.

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Trump declares that Saudis are innocent … just like Brett Kavanaugh

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Trump declares that Saudis are innocent … just like Brett Kavanaugh

 

On Tuesday, Donald Trump sat down for an interview with the Associated Press and stated off by declaring that he believes the Saudis are innocent—because they say they are. Just like Brett Kavanaugh. Also, he does not need Beyoncé.

Much of Trump’s interview followed in the same vein—difficult to interpret when listening, and even harder to make out on the page. It would take a gallon tub of rubber cement and a stack of Xacto blades to cut and paste the words into some semblance of order. But if Trump couldn’t get his point across by speak-English-good, he managed to beat his points home through sorry repetition.

Asked again about why he believes the Saudi leaders, Trump went to a touchstone of … not innocence.

Trump: We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way. So I was unconcerned. So we have to find out what happened and they are doing a very major investigation. So is Turkey. Plus, they’re putting themselves together and doing it. And hopefully they’ll get to an answer as to what happened. But I will say they were very strong in their denial about themselves knowing.

The one thing that Kavanaugh’s testimony did show is that the strength of the denial is all that counts. Trump did not mention whether the crown prince shouted or talked like a middle-school brat, but those seem to be the hallmarks of innocence.

As with Kavanaugh, it seems there’s a very “thorough investigation planned.”

Trump: They’re going to try and do it in less than a week.

Of course. Trump can definitely give the Saudis some pointers on how to conduct a “thorough” investigation in record time. Maybe they already have statements from Timmy and PJ and Squi. Because that’ll definitely speed things along.

Trump then moved along to describing how he thought the Republican candidates were going to do well in the midterms, a factor which he predicted from his “incredible record” in picking winners in the Republican primaries, and the fact that people are still turning out for his rallies. As with most statements made by Trump during the interview (or outside the interview) every time he returned to the topic, he inflated his personal opinion of his personal greatness with a few more pumps to the ego balloon.

Trump: I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of an impact. They would say that in the old days that if you got the support of a president or if you’ve got the support of somebody it would be nice to have, but it meant nothing, zero. Like literally zero. Some of the people I’ve endorsed have gone up 40 and 50 points just on the endorsement.

Forty or 50 points. Why not just make it 110? And of course, no one in the past ever sought out the endorsement of a party leader? Why would they if it wasn’t Trump?

As with most discussions, Trump returned again and again to the idea that he won in 2016, and that his constant rallies—conducted even in the midst of national disaster—are the dipstick for determining the Republican oil level.

Trump: I mean, I go out, I make a speech like I have, you know, 25 times more people than she gets. And I didn’t need Beyoncé to get them.

Portions of Trump’s replies to the AP were so unintelligible or detached from the question asked, that it would require a new Rosetta Stone to determine their meaning. But the biggest chunk of his response to questions about the midterms seems to be evenly split between the idea that Republicans will win because … Trump. And also, when Republicans lose, it’s not the fault of Trump. Immediately after his response that Republicans would win, because he doesn’t need Beyoncé, Trump swung to the land of “people love me, but it doesn’t rub off.”

Trump: Now, I’m not sure that that’s right. And I’m not running. I mean, there are many people that have said to me, ‘Sir, I will never ever,’ you on the trail when I’m talking to people backstage etcetera, ‘I will never ever go and vote in the midterms because you’re not running and I don’t think you like Congress.’ Well, I do like Congress because I think, and when I say Congress I like the Republicans that support me in Congress.

Trump also revisited Kavanaugh in his discussion of the midterms, showing his certainty that the Supreme Court fight would completely reverse Democratic momentum. Or not.

Trump: I will say, that fight because he was treated so viciously and violently by the Democrats. That fight has had an impact on energy, and it’s had an impact on the Republican Party, a very positive one in terms of getting out and voting. I think, but I’ll let you know in three weeks.

Democrats treated Kavanaugh “viciously and violently.” Almost as if someone much larger had pinned him to a bed, began tugging his clothes off, and threatened him with assault while laughing at his fear. Except not at all like that.

Halfway through the interview, Trump screams at an assistant to bring him “the list” so he can brag about his accomplishments, which mostly seemed to come down to Republicans rubber stamping Trump’s selection of ultra-conservative judges who had been picked for him in advance by Republicans. So … win! And no one can say that Trump has no humor after this knee-slapper.

Trump: Who is the one, who’s the one president that percentage-wise has done better than me? There’s only one. George Washington — 100 percent.

(Laughter)

Trump: Nobody has gotten that yet.

AP: That is a good piece of trivia.

That is … moving on. To the very serious affairs of state. Really. The affairs.

AP: Sir, as the president of the United States, is it appropriate to call a woman, and even one who is making serious allegations and who you are in litigation against, to call her a horseface?

Trump: You know what? You can take it any way you want. … I just speak for myself. You take a look, and you make your own determination.

Trump plowed through his relationship with Michael Cohen. That is, if he actually met Cohen, who he called “low level” and “a contractor” if you just ignore that office in Trump Tower right next to Trump and all the times Trump referred to Cohen as his personal attorney.

Trump was also asked about climate change and spent five minutes dawdling with claims about hurricanes in 1890 and how there have been few hurricanes recently, and how it’s all a cycle, and how he wants “absolutely crystal clear water” and “the cleanest air on the planet” and made the blatantly false claim that “our air now is cleaner than it’s ever been.” But then he finished up by denying climate change.

Trump: What I’m not willing to do is sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows. And you have scientists on both sides of the issue. And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth. So we’ll see.

So no, Donald Trump hasn’t accepted one iota of scientific evidence. Or one moment of the evidence that’s literally falling on the heads of people across the nation. He’s always right, and he’s going to be right if it kills all of us. Which it will.

Trump continued with a rant about how he’s “really an environmentalist” because “Everything I want and everything I have is clean.” Which isn’t being an environmentalist. It’s being a germaphobe of Howard Hughesian proportions.

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