Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Assessing democracy in the aftermath of Trump's victory, Part VIII: Yes, voters really knew that Trump is incompetent

Voters had an interesting time with Trump's "valence" characteristics.  While there were a variety of challenges with their assessments of his honesty, even though he pretty much broke the scale, his competence was another matter.

The common conservative mythology of the omni-competent CEO never held up for Trump, as I discussed yesterday, but part of what made him fascinating in the campaign is that most voters never actually bought it, so to speak.  (Aside from the chumps who bought into Trump University).

Trump is, at his core, a professional wrestler.  He is to business as Hulk Hogan is to martial arts: great at bragging about how great he is at it.  That brings me to the classic episode of South Park, "W.T.F."  The premise of the episode is that the kids go to a professional wrestling match, and decide to become wrestlers.  The general premise of the show, though, is that the kids are smarter than the adults.  The kids realize that wrestling is fake, and built around ridiculous, soap-opera storylines.  So, they create characters and write dialog with ridiculous, soap-opera storylines, and put on performances in the back yard.

Local adults start watching.  And they are stupid enough to think it is real.  Hijinks ensue.

Funny thing about Trump.  Most people knew that he wasn't qualified to be president.  This kind of survey isn't unique.  One might ask about the 36% of people who thought he was qualified, and joke that they watch professional wrestling, but most are probably just hardcore partisan Republicans, unable to admit that they are voting for an unqualified hack.  Either that, or hardcore Rand-ians.  (And, probably a few who watch wrestling...).  The point, though, is that most voters got the right answer!

There's really not much more to say here yet.  Trump is incompetent and unqualified.  By a two-to-one margin, voters knew it.  So, competence and honesty.  Valence is worthless, right?

Not so fast.  Elections are about comparisons.  We've still got Clinton, and we've got policy.  The whole point of this is the question of how two candidates compare when we consider both policy and valence.  More to come...

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