Many of us are still wondering how so many people could vote for Donald Trump. How could they not see his despicable character and deceptive lies? Well, evidently they don’t see the truth very well. A Public Policy Polling survey shows how uninformed Trump voters are. In addition to having opinions that are definitely out of line with the majority of voters in America, many of them have false beliefs about verifiable factual information. They are definitely not critical thinkers. For example:
* The Dow Jones Average has risen from 7,949 when Obama took office in 2009 to 19,615 today. That’s a 147 percent increase in the stock market. Yet, 39% of Trump voters think the stock market declined during the Obama presidency.
* The unemployment rate dropped from 7.9% in 2009 to 4.7% today. But 67% of Trump voters believe the unemployment rate got worse under President Obama. A large majority of Americans in general know that unemployment decreased.
* Most Americans know that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million six-hundred thousand votes. However , 40% of Trump voters think Trump won the popular vote.
* Sixty percent of Trump voters believe millions of people voted illegally for Clinton in spite of the absurdity of such a claim and the total lack of evidence to support it.
Fake news that touts totally false stories is a growing danger to our democracy. But even with accurate news reporting, a shocking number of Trump supporters can’t tell truth from fiction. All of us are at risk for confirmation bias – believing only information that agrees with what we already believe and ignoring or discrediting anything that doesn’t agree with our biases – but when uncritical thinking and ignorance of facts is significantly higher in Trump supporters, the danger of Trump’s inveterate lying, irrational thinking and volatile behavior is much greater. He has an army of loyalist authoritarians who will blindly follow and support anything their anointed leader says or does.
We need more critical thinkers who can tell fact from fiction and who can tell a con artist when they see one. Without an accurately informed, rational public, our democracy is doomed. Everyone who is still able to see that the emperor has no clothes must speak up to correct those who refuse to see the naked truth and must take the emperor off his high horse.