The election of Donald Trump created trauma, depression, and associated health issues with those who were shocked by the result. Virtually all of us thought it can’t happen here. The U.S. could not elect an ignorant, intellectually lazy, vindictive, racist, sexist, lying narcissist to be President of the United States. Most of us thought the system was at least sensible enough that it could not go that wrong.
To some extent, apart from fear, the trauma is associated with the recognition that the marketplace of ideas did not sort truth from falsehood. Yes, Clinton won the popular vote, but if the marketplace of ideas functioned properly, she would have won with many more millions of votes. But confidence in the marketplace of ideas was deficient from the start. As Frederick Schauer states,
“Once we fathom the full scope of factors other than the truth of a proposition that might determine which propositions individuals or groups will accept and which they will reject--the charisma, authority, or persuasiveness of the speaker; the consistency between the proposition and the prior beliefs of the hearer; the consistency between the proposition and what the hearer believes that other hearers believe; the frequency with which the proposition is uttered; the extent to which the proposition is communicated with photographs and other visual or aural embellishments; the extent to which the proposition will make the reader or listener feel good or happy for content-independent reasons; and almost countless others--we can see that placing faith in the superiority of truth over all of these other attributes of a proposition in explaining acceptance and rejection requires a substantial degree of faith in pervasive human rationality and an almost willful disregard of the masses of scientific and marketing research to the contrary.”
We can take some solace in the fact that Trump enters the Presidency with the lowest approval ratings in at least four decades. Surely, some of us may think, that will give even the congressional Republicans the wherewithal to take him on. But the relevant public for congressional Republicans are those who will vote in the primaries, not the general public. Nonetheless, I have some marketplace bones in my body. I believe Trump is too arrogant, too corrupt, and too stupid to avoid the fall he richly deserves.