It’s so refreshing to see someone write a long, drawn-out thesis about human nature — and then fail…
Dylan Thompson
1

Thanks for taking the time to write your response and for taking the trouble to look up that study. Unfortunately I think you are missing the basic point of my piece. From your reference of that study it seems like you think my goal was to justify the beliefs of Trump supporters. I’ve gotten a few responses like that. Nothing could be further from the truth. I completely agree with Colbert type assertions of the wrongheadedness of Trump supports and why.

Yes, they are wrong. Yes, they are inconsistent. But the question I was trying to address was what do you do with that? Over 40% of the country is supporting him, despite his immaturity and constant inconsistencies. The study you cited (I did read it) talked about another factor as to why we are so polarized. But it doesn’t talk much about what to do about it.

Sure we can just dismiss them, but they are not going away. They are just as much Americans as any other American. Taking them seriously is not the same thing as taking all their arguments seriously. Empathy is not the same thing as approval.

My goal was to point out that the emotional reaction that animates Trump supporters is very similar to what I see from the anti-Trump side, be they pro-Clinton or not. I support Clinton because she is objectively more competent but that doesn’t mean that she is 100% right or that Trump is 100% wrong.

The problem with the simplicity of “truthiness” type of arguments (which by the way is probably not the argument that Colbert would make in a one on one conversation, per the study you cited)is that it leaves no room for human foibles. And those foibles, one of which is fear, are how we can “de-polarize” the “cascade”. We can recognize that just because a rational argument can be made for our position, that’s not necessarily why we personally hold it and the same is true for our opponents.

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