Is it all about power?

Folks in politics and who talk about politics often accuse others of just trying to gain power. I understand this notion, but I’m not sure what kind of power people are talking about most of the time. Money? Sure. I can see that. Decision-making? OK. Feeling like you’re somebody special? I can understand all of that. But it seems like, maybe for one group more than another, those goals put people on very strange sides of arguments.

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The enduring oddness of Trump supporter

I’m feeling more and more like we’re leaving Trump behind and I think that’s a good thing. Without him on social media, his voice is much quieter than before. The onslaught of social media posts supporting him and his crazy ideas seem to have faded somewhat. I don’t know if they’re lurking in the shadows or if they’re really fading away. I’ve posted several times on Facebook that years from now I expect to hear plenty of “I never really liked him” or “he wasn’t even close to my favorite” from folks who were the most vocal in their support of him over the past few years. And while I’m ready to move on, I still can’t help being puzzled at support for him and, more broadly, the kind of thinking that goes on in the heads of those who do support him. Lately, it’s the vaccines that have me puzzled the most.

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Today is the day

Jo Biden and Kamala Harris will become president and vice president today. I haven’t put a lot of my thoughts here in a while, but today feels like a good day to put some things into this pseudo-diary. It’s been a long four years, full of turmoil, and I’m hopeful for calmer days. Here are a few things, Trump-Biden related in no particular order.

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The role of psychological projection in the “mainstream media” hatred at FoxNews

That sure feels like the title of an academic paper. Not unexpected from an academic, but also nothing close to the truth. More the ramblings of a non-expert who does this as a hobby, and has some thoughts to get off my chest. Normal stuff. But here’s what triggered me: A discussion of the news that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine exceeded expectations in the early analyses of efficacy and how it was handled in the bit I heard at FoxNews (and “heard” is accurate, because I was in my car, listening to FoxNews on the radio). It got me thinking about how often the criticisms of other media outlets by folks at FoxNews really feel more appropriately directed at themselves.

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Is the ride over or just getting started?

I wrote a quick post the other day, before Biden was declared the winner of the election by the major news agencies. I had a lot on my mind and referred to a few things that I was thinking about and wanted to write more about in the coming days. Some were short-lived, and I’ve lost the desire (need) to think about them more, but others still weigh on me. Perhaps most of all is the polling and how to adjust expectations in the future. I’m not thinking about this as a pollster, because I’m not and never will be. I’m thinking about this as a member of society who relies on polls to give me some semblance of predictability in an unpredictable world. I’m thinking about this as a consumer of information and how to best use that information to inform my decisions and expectations. I’m thinking about this as a lay person, which I absolutely am.

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A roller coaster election day/week

It’s November 6, three days after election day and we do not have an official winner of the election. If you live in Biden world (like I do), there’s finally optimism that Biden will eventually be declared the winner, and the lead he’s just taken in Pennsylvania makes that very likely. If you live in Trump world, hundreds of thousands of votes were cast after the election and it’s just a matter of time before the Supreme Court throws them out and declares Trump the winner. I don’t have a sense of how populated that version of Trumpworld is, but it’s not empty.

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Generation of Hate Revisited

Years ago, in the early days of me dumping my thoughts on this site, I proposed that we’re living through the most hateful time in history. If you read that post, you’ll see that I don’t mean it in the way that’s most obvious, that people are more hateful than ever, but instead that people feel more hated than ever. I’ve been thinking more about this lately, largely inspired by a series of Facebook posts that have come and gone over the years, but seem to be coming back with a vengeance. Although my premise hasn’t changed, I’m starting to have a better, perhaps slightly more paranoid, perspective about it all.

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Trump and the new version of identity politics

There are many things I don’t feel like I fully understand. The concept of identity politics is one of them. Perhaps it’s not that I don’t understand it as much as it confuses me because it seems thrown around so much that it’s kind of meaningless to me. But for many years I’ve thought of identity politics as a term used to describe the way that politicians try to attract voters of specific identities. The way that democrats have tried to appeal to LGBTQ voters or African-American voters, and the way that republicans have tried to appeal to military members and people who are very religious. When I think of identity politics, it’s about appealing to people with these specific labels being part of their identity. But I think the idea can also be thought of in the converse: that support for a specific politician becomes part of a person’s identity. A shorthand for what’s important to them and where they stand on issues.

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First- vs third-person view of the world and how COVID fits in

The partisan divide in attitudes about COVID makes me very sad. It didn’t need to be this way, and it seems like it never would have been this way if not for the self-centeredness of the president. But maybe that’s not true. Maybe it would have been that way regardless of who is in office. Maybe it’s revealing some fundamental differences in how folks on the left and folks on the right see the world. It seems like it comes down to what I think of as a first person vs a third person perspective of the world. Let’s parse that first and then see how it applies to COVID.

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A hopeful read of some polls

It’s pretty obvious to anybody who knows me, has read anything I’ve ever written, or heard anything I’ve said, that I’m hoping Biden will win the upcoming election. The polls all seem to predict that outcome, which is nice, but the polls predicted a solid win by Clinton in 2016, and that didn’t happen. That’s likely why some polls show a lead for Biden, but among the same sample, the prediction that Trump will win. How fascinating is that? Although a majority of those sampled prefer Biden, a majority believes Trump will win. To be fair, I might have been in the majority opinion on both questions, but I’m feeling more and more confident that the polls will predict the outcome. Here’s why.

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