With both Ted Cruz and John Kasich suspending their campaigns, Republicans are left with Donald Trump.
Perhaps we could chalk it up to the Dunning-Kruger effect but we might be too ignorant of it the ramifications of that to adequately speculate.
The Dunning-Kruger effect basically states that people’s views of the level of their own competence is greatly inflated — like Trump’s view of himself and his supporters’ views of themselves and Trump.
David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, and then-graduate student Jason Kruger wrote about their effect in 1999 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
In a 2014 article, Dunning recounts that for more than 20 years he has been researching people’s understanding of their own expertise and “the results have been consistently sobering, occasionally comical, and never dull.”
Because it’s so easy to judge the idiocy of others, it may be sorely tempting to think this doesn’t apply to you. But the problem of unrecognized ignorance is one that visits us all. And over the years, I’ve become convinced of one key, overarching fact about the ignorant mind. One should not think of it as uninformed. Rather, one should think of it as misinformed.
An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. This clutter is an unfortunate by-product of one of our greatest strengths as a species. We are unbridled pattern recognizers and profligate theorizers. Often, our theories are good enough to get us through the day, or at least to an age when we can procreate. But our genius for creative storytelling, combined with our inability to detect our own ignorance, can sometimes lead to situations that are embarrassing, unfortunate, or downright dangerous — especially in a technologically advanced, complex democratic society that occasionally invests mistaken popular beliefs with immense destructive power. … As the humorist Josh Billings once put it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” (Ironically, one thing many people “know” about this quote is that it was first uttered by Mark Twain or Will Rogers — which just ain’t so.)
Twain also did not say, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed,” but he should have.
Dunning also found that one’s political beliefs can warp one’s logical skills:
In ongoing work with the political scientist Peter Enns, my lab has found that a person’s politics can warp other sets of logical or factual beliefs so much that they come into direct contradiction with one another. In a survey of roughly 500 Americans conducted in late 2010, we found that over a quarter of liberals (but only six percent of conservatives) endorsed both the statement “President Obama’s policies have already created a strong revival in the economy” and “Statutes and regulations enacted by the previous Republican presidential administration have made a strong economic recovery impossible.” Both statements are pleasing to the liberal eye and honor a liberal ideology, but how can Obama have already created a strong recovery that Republican policies have rendered impossible? Among conservatives, 27 percent (relative to just 10 percent of liberals) agreed both that “President Obama’s rhetorical skills are elegant but are insufficient to influence major international issues” and that “President Obama has not done enough to use his rhetorical skills to effect regime change in Iraq.” But if Obama’s skills are insufficient, why should he be criticized for not using them to influence the Iraqi government?
Now, what does this say about the concept we call democracy, which based on the belief in that average citizens are competent enough to choose competent leaders?