Why Donald Trump will win the US Elections
Have you ever bought a bespoke suit before? The biggest mistake you can make is not to have a picture of exactly what you want in your mind before walking into that store. Let’s say you have a $700 budget to buy that once-in-a-lifetime suit. You walk into the store, and the tailor welcomes you with cold water and a very wide smile. You settle down in a very comfortable chair in the cool cozy store. The tailor whips out three big folders of materials for your suits with different colors, designs and textures. The first order of business is to select the type of material you want. You spend 10 minutes thumbing through the big folder and you finally make a decision to select the charcoal grey material with black stripes. Step one, done. The next step is to select the type of design. One button? Two buttons? Three buttons? You imagine yourself in each one of them. But that’s not all. You also need to determine the color of the button, and how many of them you want on the cuff. That is like three decisions in one. This takes another 10 minutes. Step two, done. The tailor is very patient, and keeps throwing different options at you, and you keep imagining yourself with different styles, and creating the picture of what you look like in your head. Now we have the design and material. The next step is measurement. How do you want it? Tight fit? Loose fit? Collar style? Another 10 minutes. Step three, done. The tailor calculates the price and everything comes to $650. Wow! You didn’t go over your budget. You feel triumphant. And then the tailor whips out another catalogue and shows you how you will look like in a three-piece suit. You just paid for a two piece suit. You are like, “Well, I am under budget and I actually have $1,000 in my account that I can spend to indulge myself”. Should I buy? Should I tell him to put it away? The chances are very high that you will buy it. It’s just an extra $250 anyway. You do the measurement. Then, bam! Our tailor brings out a snow-white shirt. Lovely shirt. You are like, “No way, man!”. But you still have $100 to spend. If you take more than 30 seconds to look at the shirt, the chances are very very very high that you would pay for it to. What happened? It is just human psychology. That is the way we were wired.
If you are an active trader, and you have traded for more than five years, you will begin to understand something. It doesn’t matter what you trade — stocks, options, bonds — you would have noticed a pattern. You are more likely to get your order filled with less hassles towards market close rather than at market opening. Why? It is just human psychology and a little bug in the way we were wired.
A little research was once conducted about how people get parole. Many more people get parole when their cases are heard in the morning, than in the mid-day just before lunch. And then the number spikes again right after lunch and then drops precipitously after a few hours. What happened? In the morning, the judges feel sharp and then they spend a lot of time to view the merits of each case. Towards mid-day, they start getting tired, and then switch to “default mode” (we will talk a little bit more about this default mode later). After lunch, they feel sharp again, but then they get tired with time and then go back to this default mode. The default mode is the less risky path, or the first thing that comes to your mind for which you believe is true.
In Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking Fast and Slow”, he described the two ways in which we process information. The fast way and the slow way, or what he labelled System 1 and System 2 respectively. In slow thinking, you take your time to make decisions, and deliberate on all the pros and cons of making that decision. But in fast thinking, you make judgements automatically, and these judgements are based on your beliefs, experiences, heuristics, etc. You don’t even know when you make decisions using System 2.
When you walked into the store to buy a suit, your System 2 was in full gear. As you make one decision after the other, you start getting tired. The tailor starts wearing you down. Then he starts making suggestions and then System 1 kicks in and you buy the extra jacket, and then the white shirt. Remember the markets? The traders get tired as the market winds down and then you get your trades filled more quickly. They use System 2 at market open and then switch to System 1 at market close. Then the judges. When System 2 is in full gear, they consider the merits of each case, but as they get tired, they switch to System 1, or default mode. They start thinking “Why should I let this rapist back into the society?” instead of “Hmm. This man is quite educated. Could he have been framed?”. The mind becomes too tired to think of other possibilities when we have made many decisions one after the other within a short period of time.
This phenomenon is called Ego Depletion. That is the way we were wired.
What has this got to do with Donald Trump?
Well, the world has switched to System 1. Human beings are thinking very fast now. Just 8 years ago, Donald Trump would have been booed out of every hall he stepped into if he had attempted to run for the Presidency. What changed? The world is tired. Let me explain.
It all started in Syria. The world watched in shock and horror as Syria descended into a civil war. Chemical warfare was used. Then Ghaddafi was killed and ISIS took over the scene as they killed one person after the other while the world watched. Then the global economy started doing “like this and like that” as oil prices crashed and stock markets went on a tailspin. Then strange things began to happen one after the other. Planes started disappearing, falling from the skies and hitting mountains. Before the world could catch its breathe, Paris attacks happened, then Brussels, then Paris, and Paris again. Europe had been one of the most safest places in the world. While the world was still wondering what the world was turning to, #BlackLivesMatter became a thing, and then Brexit! Within a short period of time, the world started switching off and mass shootings no longer attracted media attention. The world got tired.
Let’s to a little exercise together. Go to Google.com. Type in Hillary Clinton. Keep the tab open and open a new one. Go to Google.com again. Type in Donald Trump. Notice anything? Do it again. When you google Hillary Clinton, Google returns about 230,000 results and the first picture you see is that of Donald Trump. When you google Donald Trump, the first picture you see is that of Donald Trump, again, and Google returns 390,000 results. This is as at July 27, 2016. For every one time Hillary Clinton is mentioned, Donald Trump is mentioned 1.7x. When most people mention Hillary Clinton, they mention Donald Trump in the next breathe. When most people mention Donald Trump, they stick with Donald Trump.
Americans have had their fair share of troubles over the past year or two. They are tired of processing information and come November 2016, default mode, or System 1 will kick in. Hillary’s emails were leaked for a purpose — to let the world know she is not an angel. Now, Americans have to chose the lesser of two evil.
Three things will happen. Many people believe that “sanity” will prevail, and will assume that Hillary Clinton will win. Many of such people will not show up to vote. Most people who believe strongly in Donald Trump are fanatics and they will all come out to vote. Many who are still kind of divided will show up and then most of them will vote for the first name that comes to their mind. Whose name would that be? Donald Trump!
And that is how Donald Trump will win the US elections.
You think this is a joke? Count the number of times I mentioned Donald Trump and the number of times I mentioned Hillary Clinton in this post. It is not my fault.
PS. Sanity may prevail, but the chances are very slim.