Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Response to Reductio

(See: Just Above Sunset: Reductio)

Try these two headlines out as examples of Reductio Ad Absurdum:
Trump Reclaims Lead in Iowa Polls
You think that would do it? Probably not. His fans don't care what he says or does, as long as it's not "politically correct". I think the man has sold his soul to Satan.

Think about this Muslim ban:

As Martha Raddatz pointed out on ABC's "Good Morning America" this morning, Trump would ban Muslims on athletic teams from entering the country? He'd ban King Abdullah of Jordan? He'd ban Malala, the little girl who won the Nobel Peace Prize? And remember, by far most of the Muslims in the world are not in the Middle East, they're in Asia and the Pacific Rim, so he would be banning all Indonesian diplomats from showing up at the UN in New York.

Also on GMA this morning, George Stephanopoulos talked with Trump about his new plan:
GS: Let's talk to Mr. Trump himself, he joins us via the phone. Donald Trump, thank you for joining us again this morning. You've heard that chorus of condemnation, not only from (inaudible) but from a lot of Republicans as well, including the Chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party; she says it's Un-Republican, Un-Constitutional, Un-American. Do you have any second-thoughts at all that you may have gone too far? 
DT: Well, first of all, George, she's a Bush person and she wants to see Bush, and Bush has crashed like nobody's ever seen anyone crash before. Uh -- we have had tremendous support. We've had calls in, thousands and thousands of people. You saw last night, we were on a ship, there were thousands of people there, there were thousands of people outside that couldn't get in, and frankly, it was a standing ovation that wouldn't stop. Uh, the people, and you did polls, I mean, people went and interviewed the people that were at my speech last night, and they just want to see something happen.
His argument here being that, forget America, forget the Constitution -- and not to forget to forget the Republicans! -- people are eating it up!

Forget morality and American traditions of fairness that have developed and survived down through the centuries, what's important here is that thousands and thousands and thousands of people are trying to get on a ship to give me a standing ovation that won't stop.

So just in case you're buying his argument, that his poll rankings should outweigh constitutional concerns, someone needs to refer him, first of all, to Nate Silver's wise admonition, back on November 23rd, to not get all that excited about Donald Trump's poll numbers:
If even by New Year’s Day (a month before the Iowa caucuses, which are scheduled for Feb. 1) only about one-third of Iowa voters will have come to their final decision, the percentage must be even lower now — perhaps something like 20 percent of voters are locked in. When you see an Iowa poll, you should keep in mind that the real situation looks something more like this: 

  • Undecided 80% 
  • Donald Trump 5 
  • Ben Carson 4 
  • Ted Cruz 3 
  • Marco Rubio 2 
  • Jeb Bush 1 
  • Carly Fiorina 1 
  • Mike Huckabee 1 
  • Chris Christie 1
So in reality, Trump wasn't leading in Iowa at that point, "Undecided" was leading in Iowa, with 80% to Trump's 5%.

But, second of all, I'll go Nate further by noting that those percentages only apply to Republicans, and that if we, for argument's sake, estimate that half the state is Democratic -- I doubt that it is, but anyway -- that would give him only about two-and-a-half percent!

Of course, it would really be even less than that, since Republicans and Democrats share the state with lots of political Independents, along with members of third parties.

To put that another way, while Donald Trump's answer to all criticism of his proposal to turn the United States into a dictatorship, in which a popular leader can do anything he wants, is that most people seem to like it -- he needs to look a little closer at his numbers, and he might find out that most Americans actually are not with him, to the tune of probably somewhere over 98%.

And while we're contemplating glimmers of good news about Donald Trump, we need to keep in mind that if we lived in that hypothetical country in which Donald Trump could actually do all the unconstitutional things he is proposing, then we would also be living in a country that could very easily lock Donald Trump up, just for being a humongous jerk.

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