TJ – Yes I agree. This post is about Mike Pence, but I'll divert for a bit. As you know I have often referenced articles by psychologists in this website to help understand our political divide. Some of it is in our genes, but with Trump and his faithful band of followers, even conventional psychological profiles are stupefying at times. From my layman’s perspective, I lay much of the blame on the Republican Party for their incessant sabotaging of President Obama’s presidency as he worked to extract ourselves from the Great Recession. It created an “anti-establishment” backlash where both parties were to be blamed equally. But understanding this new mindset is more difficult.
Max Ehrenfreund of the Washington Post had an interesting article in October 2015, “I asked psychologists to analyze Trump supporters. This is what I learned.” Quoting Ehrenfreund:
"From a psychological perspective, though, the people backing Trump are perfectly normal. Interviews with psychologists and other experts suggest one explanation for the candidate's success -- and for the collective failure to anticipate it: The political elite hasn't confronted a few fundamental, universal and uncomfortable facts about the human mind.
"We like people who talk big.
""We like people who tell us that our problems are simple and easy to solve, even when they aren't.
"And we don't like people who don't look like us.
"Most people share these characteristics to some degree, but they seem to be especially prevalent among Trump's base."
He also references John Hibbing, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. "We have to take this seriously. You can look down your nose if you want to, but these people aren't going away."
"People like the idea that deep down, the world is simple; that they can grasp it and that politicians can't," Hibbing said. "That's certainly a message that I think Trump is radiating."
I have often made reference to the difficulty of changing people’s brains when arguing with those with opposing political and religious views. Ehrenfreund references Hibbing’s use of an analogy, an ocean going tanker, to make the same point:
“He compares the human mind to an ocean-going tanker. Changing the ship's direction takes time, and a map with the new course clearly marked. Instead of dismissing them as crazies, political leaders will have to acknowledge their constituents' biases against all that is complex, uncertain and unfamiliar…"I don't think we can pretend that that's not who we are."
That is the scary part. When Hibbing talks about our inner biases, we can get into all kinds of deeper stuff. For the Trump folks, it’s just KISS…"keep it simple stupid". That's where Trump trumps our thinking.
Schmidt, I agree. Imo, this derives from tribalism. Those who are not of "us" are "them" therefore sub-human. Of course the resolution of problems that are complex themselves will also be complex. When we add in our national mythology we get a complete unwillingness of many to use critical thinking or to consider the law of unintended consequences.
Sad and frightening.