Thursday, May 26, 2016

Don't Shoot the Messenger!

Once again President Barack Obama is trying to present himself as a voice of reason at a global forum. He is currently at a G7 summit in Japan; and chose to offer a "sidebar" about Donald Trump's ability to deal with world affairs. A report on the BBC News Web site attributed the following observation to Obama:
They [world leaders] are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements, but they're rattled by him - and for good reason, because a lot of the proposals that he's made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude.
My guess is that anyone taking the trouble to read this post will probably agree with Obama, but that's not the point. Now that Trump has officially crossed the threshold of having a majority of delegates the the Republican National Convention, isn't it about time that we stop wringing our hands in righteous dismay and ask just how he managed to get there? Any number of analysts who tracked the Republican primaries know that there is not an easy answer to this question. and the answer will probably involve a mix of factors. It may even be possible to estimate the balance of that mix, but there is a good chance that rationality is not part of it. Thus, unless we understand the reasons for the underlying irrationality, we shall not be in a position to diagnose how we got where we are, let alone what the consequences are likely to be.