Occasional reflections on Life, the World, and Mathematics

A year of Trump


I decided to go back over my comments on Trump from the past year, to see if there is any insight I had, or anything I missed. I don’t think there’s anything there that seems embarrassing in retrospect. The few people interested can find all my comments under the tag “Trump”. But here are some highlights:

  • Back in March I noted the sexism of the media coverage that portrayed Clinton as weak and Trump as strong, even in newspapers like the NY Times that would not consider themselves sympathetic to Trump.
  • I compared Newt Gingrich’s Trump apologetics to those of Albert Speer on Hitler.
  • I first got really frightened of Trump’s potential when I read the NY Times reporting on Sanders supporters who mostly want politics to be entertaining: “A dark side of me wants to see what happens if Trump is in. There is going to be some kind of change, and even if it’s like a Nazi-type change…”
  • In June I commented on the weird contortions of logic that the Republican establishment used to argue that Trump is not a fundamental danger to American democracy, and the widespread conviction that Trump’s problem was unfortunately inflammatory language, that could be resolved if he would just speak differently.
  • In July I wrote that, while I still expected that Trump would lose, the mere fact that he could get so far reflected deep sickness in American democracy.
  • I commented repeatedly on the false persistent assertion in the media that both candidates are inherently unpopular and nothing could change that. In fact, Trump has been persistently unpopular. Clinton only unpopular when she is involved in a presidential campaign.
  • In October I commented on the weird distortions of probabilistic language and reasoning that political pundits were using to convince themselves that a Trump victory was impossible. Shortly before the election I took up this theme again. “The reality is likely to be somewhere between 2% and 50%. Where it is, is almost impossible to judge… But even 2%, for the risk of a crybaby fascist as president, is far too much. It’s not clear to me how the US can come back from this disaster, even if Trump loses.” “A fundamental problem with the PEC estimate [99+% chance of Clinton victory] is that it clearly puts very little weight on the possibility of model failure.”
  • Trump’s flirting with antisemitism.
  • Trump’s belief that his prodigious intellect allows him to see simple solutions to problems that the eggheads claim are complicated.
  • I was surprised that Clinton ran a so openly feminist campaign. Trump, locker-room talk, and the pathologies of masculinity.

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