Last week, Nate Silver, the maestro of 538.com, posted this tweet:
The theory that “misinformation” has changed electoral outcomes in the US is pretty badly underbaked, especially given that the last several elections have broadly been in line with what you might expect given underlying economic conditions, etc.
Oh, good, I thought. Finally, a sense of reality is seeping into the sometimes crazy conversation about how the existing forces of evil are going to destroy our democracy.
So I was stymied by a couple of the reactions to Silver’s rational observation. One person said, “Who wrote that for you? Putin?”
Another told Silver to stay in his lane because he didn’t understand what was happening in this world.
Well, it is Silver’s lane.
I guess people forget, in the turmoil and outrage of our times, that Silver has developed a method for analyzing polling organizations to come up with polling numbers that are probably more accurate than a number from, say, one polling organization on one political poll. He makes no claim to be accurate; he’s not controlling the polling; he doesn’t guarantee his analyses. He’s doing his best to give us an approximate idea of what an amalgam of polled voters might be thinking about certain politicians and campaigns.
Silver can’t interpret whether, in these superego-less times, the polling organizations are gathering opinions from dopes, lunatics and/or liars. Silver isn’t analyzing the psychopathology of voters who are contemplating voting for Herschel Walker rather than Raphael Warnock. He isn’t trying to explain why some voters will put a character such as Marjorie Taylor Greene into Congress.
So this is how nuts things have gotten. Even intelligent people are in some sort of permanent riled-up state; they just yell at everyone and everything that doesn’t express noise that’s as loud as theirs over the things they’re upset about.