08 October 2016
If this is the day of the Trump campaign's siren song -- it's not totally clear yet, but when you've lost John Thune and Kelly Ayotte in addition to the too-thoughtful-for-his-party Ben Sasse, something's hit the fan -- we must thank the media.
Yes, that media that most Americans appear to despise.
Facebook did not discover this tape. The military did not take it from any 'bad actors' (to use Ted Cruz's favorite, and perhaps self-referential, phrase). Our best political scientists did not publish this tape in an academic journal. This is the result of plodding work done by journalists, that is, people who are paid to uncover truth that Facebook will not uncover for you. Jimmy Fallon is not a journalist. People like Azam Ahmed are.
Having a well-educated populace is a good thing for our nation, but it is not enough to ensure social progress and a sane government. Not too long ago Trump was leading Clinton 11 points among college-educated white males. At a political rally last month I heard Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) speak about the greatest challenges of our time, and he said something I won't easily forget. "I really think it's less about smarts than it is about courage and heart." (or words to that effect)
Smart people like Nate Silver* did not see Trump coming. People with all the right academic credentials said Hillary would have a celebratory cakewalk to the presidency, at least up until the night of the New Hampshire primary. The limits of their knowledge base have been revealed like seldom before by this year's events.
*I liked Silver's book The Signal And the Noise. He should be respected for his intelligence and skill with statistics. I am highlighting him only to point out that, as Gandalf once said, "even the wise cannot see all ends."