I’ve read the piece and the responses and the responses to the responses. My takeaway is the generalizations are weak in ways that fail to acknowledge critical functional differences. Not trying to be snarky here, just noting , as a lifelong pragmatist who has written more than a few hundred blog posts on all of this, that some generalizations are valid and some simply cannot be.
Yes, fear, uncertainty and doubt are common, and the stock in trade for many conservatives. They dislike change and they have an ideology that exists in the absence of facts and data — in an intellectual vacuum if you will. That doesn’t make their fear real or reasonable, only their perceptions of it. For example, insisting the economy is in dire straits is not supported by economic facts and data, both current and historic. They can repeat it endlessly, but it simply isn’t true…and, yes, we can determine the truth to a fairly high degree.
False equivalence is rampant now, but remains precisely what it says…false. Trump’s supporters are largely not well educated and have issue with a perceived loss of privilege…white male privilege to be specific. Many are employed but angry that they have to share prosperity, such as it is given a world with economic inequities, with women, minorities and immigrants. Trump feeds their anger, making him intellectually and morally dishonest, although he has limited knowledge, intellect and interest in any issue that doesn’t directly affect him…meaning money, power and attention.
Data are facts, although one has to understand and interpret them, and there can still be some ambiguity. Nonetheless, data and facts certainly can and do exist as more than just opinion and bias. If one political party uses information, facts and data to know where we are, how we got there and what we should do to solve issues, and the other political party simply dismisses these or cherry picks select information to attempt proving an ideological assertion, one is dealing in truth far more than the other.
Thus, justifications for conclusions can be fact-based. Democracy does not function well, if at all, when moderation, compromise and consensus are missing. We have dysfunctional governance because extremism, and a disdain for facts and data, have corrupted our democratic processes. Voters have created the problem with whom they elect to congress and voters can fix it.
Trump only exacerbates this with his endless dishonesty, dystopian assertions and meaningless “plans” all delivered with the certainly of narcissism. His opponent is the functional opposite, making the case for her election far more compelling than that of someone who has never governed and is unqualified by every measure to do so. Real fear is what a Trump presidency would be like…and that’s a fact for those voting against him.