The beginning of the end

…of times as we knew them.

I keep asking myself why Donald Trump got elected President of the United States. And I can’t find an answer. It seems I’m not alone in this, as two months after the election, and two weeks before the inauguration, I’m still reading news articles trying to figure out “what went wrong?” or “how did this happen?”

But I keep looking for an answer and I may have found it, at least in large part, in a March 2016 (yes, that long ago!) article in the Washington Post reporting a conversation with Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams. Scott Adams predicted a landslide Trump victory eight months before the election. The article makes for very interesting, and pretty compelling, reading.

One thing Adams talks about is rationality, and how humans are basically irrational, (and emotional.) As a member of the academic/intelligencia minority, I recognize I live and work in a bubble. Within that bubble things make sense to me, and all the other people inside the bubble seem reasonable to me. When I talk about Trump with them, there’s understanding, sympathy, and empathy. It just reinforces my failure to¬†understand how Trump was elected. The world inside the bubble is rational, but the world outside the bubble is just the opposite.

A world dominated by irrational people cannot, by definition, be understood by people using theories and models of rational human behavior. I’ve spent nearly all my life trying to make sense of the world around me (like most academics), and I’ve been somewhat successful. But I’m about to give up and concede that it’s all just a random mess, an unpredictable morass, a hopeless errand. I’ll just take a seat and watch from here…