Democracy and its limits

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Doug Woodard
Democracy and its limits

*****

Doug Woodard

I'm going to post three articles by George Monbiot which should provide a reorientation for some and stimulating thoughts for most. 

Doug Woodard

What we are: democracy and its limits:

http://www.monbiot.com/2016/10/06/what-we-are/

 

Doug Woodard
Doug Woodard

Monbiot - This is how people can truly take back control from the bottom up:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/08/take-back-control-b...

 

Doug Woodard

The Party's Over - A review of "Ruling the Void, The Hollowing of Western Democracy" by Peter Mair:

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n10/jan-werner-muller/the-partys-over

 

Pondering

Doug Woodard wrote:

What we are: democracy and its limits:

http://www.monbiot.com/2016/10/06/what-we-are/

I'm so glad someone can express what I have tried to express for years here so much more eloquently than I can. The right has known this for a very long time. They had think tanks working on it. They know how to motivate voters. The left does not.

Voters, they contend, can’t possibly live up to these expectations. Most are too busy with jobs and families and troubles of their own. When we do have time off, not many of us choose to spend it sifting competing claims about the fiscal implications of quantitative easing. Even when we do, we don’t behave as the theory suggests....

In reality, the research summarised by Achen and Bartels suggests, most people possess almost no useful information about policies and their implications, have little desire to improve their state of knowledge, and have a deep aversion to political disagreement. We base our political decisions on who we are, rather than what we think.

In other words, we act politically not as individual, rational beings, but as members of social groups, expressing a social identity. We seek out the political parties that seem to correspond best to our culture, with little regard to whether their policies support our interests. We remain loyal to political parties long after they have ceased to serve us.....

Even the less ambitious notion of democracy – that it’s a means by which people punish or reward governments – turns out to be divorced from reality. We can remember only the past few months of a government’s performance (a bias known as “duration neglect”) and we are hopeless at correctly attributing blame.

Reminding them at election time will not help because by then it is old news. People cared a lot more about C 51 and now it is barely mentioned.

The tiny number of people with a very high level of political information tend to use it not to challenge their own opinions but to rationalise them. Political knowledge, Achen and Bartels argue, “enhances bias”.

 

Doug Woodard

Pondering wrote:

I'm so glad someone can express what I have tried to express for years here so much more eloquently than I can. The right has known this for a very long time. They had think tanks working on it. They know how to motivate voters. The left does not.

Reminding them at election time will not help because by then it is old news. People cared a lot more about C 51 and now it is barely mentioned.

I would say that democracy is not some magical elixir that is the complete and final cure for all our political ailments, but something more like Winston Churchill's description, "the worst system of government, except for all the others that have been tried." When we can look at it realistically, we can have some hope of being able to improve it.

It's too bad that Justin Trudeau has given up on the process, but he didn't start it, and he didn't stop it.

Sean in Ottawa

I have written here several times a few theories I have long held about limits to democracy. They are at least partly in line with the article. I will lay the theory out here in rough again.

Politics is largely a negative participation by most of the population (as opposed to those more closely involved who derive other tangible benefits). By this, I mean people become involved not to support but to change something. The thing they want to change must be sufficiently serious as to get them to commit personal resources (time, energy, thought, awareness, goodwill, speech etc.).

The more uncomfortable things are, the greater public resources are applied and the chance that something might change. The more uncomfortable things are, the higher the standard of democracy the public will demand.

This means that democracy is not a static thing it is something that attracts people when they want something from it and usually that is oppositional.

What this means is that when things become comfortable enough the principles of democracy do not matter to enough of the population, as the people accept what they would never accept in an uncomfortable situation. To most, democracy is not an end -- it is a means to particular objectives.

This implies a limit to democracy: if those in power provide enough comfort they will never have a significant challenge (I mean to the system generally rather than the game between similar parties.

The other side of this is that if someone more directly, in a populist position, offers what the public wants, they will sacrifice democracy to get it. This is why populists really do not need to be democrats to be successful. Think Trump, think others almost 100 years ago.

Another example is China. China is not a democratic country. They have processes but the CPC understands that the key to success is comfort -- having enough of the country satisfied with economic progress, and not want to upset the trend. They have delivered hope for improvement and many years of general economic progress for most of the population. While little-to-no progress has happened on the key demands of the 1989 activists, the government has provided two and a half decades of progress on the economic priorities. It understands that when there is a significant downturn, as must happen eventually, it will face political pressure. When things are less comfortable, people reach for democracy (not necessarily "Western" models, however).

In Canada, support for Conservatives remained high despite clear democratic failures. Only when the previously comfortable population felt that their economic interest was not aligned did they turn away.

In the US the Democrats, more than anything, misjudged how uncomfortable the populaiton was as it moved to dump them.

Many people will simply not vote while in other more uncomfortable countries -- and downright desperate ones -- poeple will risk their lives to vote. Here, a higher turnout is a sign of change of government.

Comfort is the enemy of democracy just as it is its objective (largely) and in that contradiction you can find a limit to democracy. Once it delivers enough the population loses interest and it backslides until the population is uncomfortable enough to take action. In the extremes we are speaking of revolution.

This is why bread and butter issues always win over issues of principle.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

So Sean if China is not democratic despite their "processes" do you consider the US democratic.  The problem seems to me to be defining the fundamental idea of democracy.

Is it democratic for a government supported with the votes of somewhere around a quarter of eligible voters to order the people of Vancouver to stand down in their opposition to a pipeline expansion and port expansion or face the consequences which will be jail and for some of them a good sound beating by our security forces. Can it be a democracy when the lying Liberals ran on indigenous reconciliation and now are ramming though the oil oligarchies agenda on various unceded lands? 

I frankly don't consider our FPTP system to be a democracy because there is no way to change the actual rulers in our country. You can change the government but not the policies that our elite want to implement. In BC with an NDP government that tried to make changes they faced a concerted capital strike from Howe Street coupled with a advertising campaign saying that the NDP was the reason they were not investing in the province. Thats what we call democracy.

quizzical

pondering the right sure does know how to motivate voters. they're doing a better job of motivating voters than the left right now too.

the left are coming out in droves to protest the right and it's going to blow right onto the Liberal right wing party too.

 

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

So Sean if China is not democratic despite their "processes" do you consider the US democratic.  The problem seems to me to be defining the fundamental idea of democracy.

Is it democratic for a government supported with the votes of somewhere around a quarter of eligible voters to order the people of Vancouver to stand down in their opposition to a pipeline expansion and port expansion or face the consequences which will be jail and for some of them a good sound beating by our security forces. Can it be a democracy when the lying Liberals ran on indigenous reconciliation and now are ramming though the oil oligarchies agenda on various unceded lands? 

I frankly don't consider our FPTP system to be a democracy because there is no way to change the actual rulers in our country. You can change the government but not the policies that our elite want to implement. In BC with an NDP government that tried to make changes they faced a concerted capital strike from Howe Street coupled with a advertising campaign saying that the NDP was the reason they were not investing in the province. Thats what we call democracy.

Democracy is a continuum and I argued that there is a limit to progress to democracy.

There are many definitions of democracy and many of those are themselves a continuum.

I agree many countries that pretend top be democracies do many things that are not democratic.

You know how I hate binary arguments that if I say one thing it means "the other" is an opposite whatever the other. I do not think that way and disagree that the this is a common characteristic how how things work.

6079_Smith_W

Well you know what the old war criminal said. It is the worst system there is, except for all the other ones.

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
In BC with an NDP government that tried to make changes they faced a concerted capital strike from Howe Street coupled with a advertising campaign saying that the NDP was the reason they were not investing in the province. Thats what we call democracy.

The fact that the "moneyed interests" also get a vote, and are free to disagree with the government's policies (even if that includes not investing because of them) doesn't actually mean that we don't have a democracy.

If we didn't, then presumably those moneyed interests would have better served their own goals by ensuring that that NDP government not get elected in the first place.  But evidently even they couldn't stop the voters.

Personally, I think the term "democracy" works best when it's defined as narrowly as possible.  The citizens choose their government, not the dictator or the King or the Emperor.  No other utopia is implied.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
In BC with an NDP government that tried to make changes they faced a concerted capital strike from Howe Street coupled with a advertising campaign saying that the NDP was the reason they were not investing in the province. Thats what we call democracy.

The fact that the "moneyed interests" also get a vote, and are free to disagree with the government's policies (even if that includes not investing because of them) doesn't actually mean that we don't have a democracy.

If we didn't, then presumably those moneyed interests would have better served their own goals by ensuring that that NDP government not get elected in the first place.  But evidently even they couldn't stop the voters.

Personally, I think the term "democracy" works best when it's defined as narrowly as possible.  The citizens choose their government, not the dictator or the King or the Emperor.  No other utopia is implied.

Simplicity is nice but it can get to the point of being meaningless as each term is loaded with meanings that are not universal.

How do you define a dictatorship and is that the only non-democracy?

Do you consider choice from one party to still be a choice so do you mean mult-party democracy?

What stadard of information is reuired?

Is free speech a requirement?

How accurate is the system at determining the choice of the people -- what is the minimum standard for this to be okay?

What is the minimum stadard when it comes to the quality of choices?

Do people have to have free assembly to be a democracy?

Is it only a democracy if all residents affected by the decision can vote or is limiting this to citizens while restricting citizenship still democratic? (Is it a democracy when millions of permanent residents cannot vote?-- How do you define "the people.")

Is a people that expolits another people who have no say in their system democratic?

Do you consider a free press to be a requirement so the choice is informed by more than the prevailing power?

Which definitions of democracy apply based on cultural expectation and just how transferable is that expectation from one culture to another?

If you ignore all my questions then you have a definition that is meaningless.

If you start to answer them, you will find that we have a continuum where nobody is ideal but they are somewhere on that continuum.

When you apply cultural values and constructs you have difficulty establishing exactly what the continuum is, what the ideal looks like, and who is doing well or poorly.

Some concepts may better beign discussed than simplified to the point where they aremenaingless. Cultural biases and social values are not absolutes no matter how much they appear to be so why we may have a near universal agreement on what is not a democracy in some cases there is no agreement on what is a democracy.

I used China becuase I have heard it presented by Chinese thinkers as not a priority or necessarily better for China in that instability is considered a greater problem than democratic limits. After the first half of the 20th century, you can see the point. The value of democracy is openly questioned as a social priority.

Also assuming that you can come up with a definition -- then would you not have to measure the quality of a democracy?

And perople can debate here if, for example, if the US is a democracy at all or just a poor one. We can also debate where humans can even produce a really good one or is that a limit we cannot reach. And what is good.

Like I say simplicity is nice but it might be less useful than a conversation without absolutes.

 

6079_Smith_W

A single party state, even with elections, is one of the attributes of fascism. No, it isn't democracy, because it isn't a real decision. In a state like that, does anyone honestly  believe they are going to up and leave if everyone votes "no"?

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Simplicity is nice but it can get to the point of being meaningless as each term is loaded with meanings that are not universal.

I guess my thinking was just that many people expect "a democracy" to be a very specific implementation of democracy.  Nothing against that, but I don't think that the definition of democracy demands it.

Quote:
How do you define a dictatorship and is that the only non-democracy?

Autocratic and absolute rule by one person.  And no, there are other non-democracies too.  Monarchy, (genuine) oligarchy, theocracy...

Quote:
Do you consider choice from one party to still be a choice so do you mean mult-party democracy?

Not sure what you mean here.

Quote:
What stadard of information is reuired?

What information?

Quote:
Is free speech a requirement?

I would suggest it is.  I cannot see how people could make a reasonable choice at the polls if some speech is criminalized.

Quote:
How accurate is the system at determining the choice of the people -- what is the minimum standard for this to be okay?

For the purposes of the definition, I would suggest a plurality.  I'm not saying that's the best form of government, just that I cannot see how or why the person or party who got the second-most votes should get the nod.

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What is the minimum stadard when it comes to the quality of choices?

Whatever the people choose to offer themselves!  Where else do choices come from?

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Do people have to have free assembly to be a democracy?

If you mean, should they be allowed to meet in a basement or a hall somewhere to discuss their common interests?  Yes.

Quote:
Is it only a democracy if all residents affected by the decision can vote or is limiting this to citizens while restricting citizenship still democratic? (Is it a democracy when millions of permanent residents cannot vote?-- How do you define "the people.")

Personally, by citizenship.  Permanent residents can apply for it if it's important to them to be able to vote.

Quote:
Is a people that expolits another people who have no say in their system democratic?

I'd suggest that has nothing to do with democracy. 

Quote:
Do you consider a free press to be a requirement so the choice is informed by more than the prevailing power?

Sure.  But I don't consider a press that endorses, let's say, a pipeline to be a de facto "not" free press.  But just as with free speech, no opinion should be criminalized.

Quote:
Which definitions of democracy apply based on cultural expectation and just how transferable is that expectation from one culture to another?

Got me there.  I guess I like to think that "Canadian culture" has room for democracy in it, and maybe even an expectation of it.  Not sure about other cultures.  Can you expand that one?

ed'd to add:

I didn't respond this way to provoke a war of attrition or anything -- I know how this might look like the fight is on or something..  I just thought that since you asked a series of reasonable and discrete questions I could answer them reasonably and discretely.  

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
A single party state, even with elections, is one of the attributes of fascism.

Also, a four (or maybe five) party state in which the dozen-or-so fringe parties have never formed government is also fascism.  I've heard.  How else could we explain the poor showing of Canada's Pirate Party??

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Simplicity is nice but it can get to the point of being meaningless as each term is loaded with meanings that are not universal.

I guess my thinking was just that many people expect "a democracy" to be a very specific implementation of democracy.  Nothing against that, but I don't think that the definition of democracy demands it.

Quote:
How do you define a dictatorship and is that the only non-democracy?

Autocratic and absolute rule by one person.  And no, there are other non-democracies too.  Monarchy, (genuine) oligarchy, theocracy...

Quote:
Do you consider choice from one party to still be a choice so do you mean mult-party democracy?

Not sure what you mean here.

Quote:
What stadard of information is reuired?

What information?

Quote:
Is free speech a requirement?

I would suggest it is.  I cannot see how people could make a reasonable choice at the polls if some speech is criminalized.

Quote:
How accurate is the system at determining the choice of the people -- what is the minimum standard for this to be okay?

For the purposes of the definition, I would suggest a plurality.  I'm not saying that's the best form of government, just that I cannot see how or why the person or party who got the second-most votes should get the nod.

Quote:
What is the minimum stadard when it comes to the quality of choices?

Whatever the people choose to offer themselves!  Where else do choices come from?

Quote:
Do people have to have free assembly to be a democracy?

If you mean, should they be allowed to meet in a basement or a hall somewhere to discuss their common interests?  Yes.

Quote:
Is it only a democracy if all residents affected by the decision can vote or is limiting this to citizens while restricting citizenship still democratic? (Is it a democracy when millions of permanent residents cannot vote?-- How do you define "the people.")

Personally, by citizenship.  Permanent residents can apply for it if it's important to them to be able to vote.

Quote:
Is a people that expolits another people who have no say in their system democratic?

I'd suggest that has nothing to do with democracy. 

Quote:
Do you consider a free press to be a requirement so the choice is informed by more than the prevailing power?

Sure.  But I don't consider a press that endorses, let's say, a pipeline to be a de facto "not" free press.  But just as with free speech, no opinion should be criminalized.

Quote:
Which definitions of democracy apply based on cultural expectation and just how transferable is that expectation from one culture to another?

Got me there.  I guess I like to think that "Canadian culture" has room for democracy in it, and maybe even an expectation of it.  Not sure about other cultures.  Can you expand that one?

ed'd to add:

I didn't respond this way to provoke a war of attrition or anything -- I know how this might look like the fight is on or something..  I just thought that since you asked a series of reasonable and discrete questions I could answer them reasonably and discretely.  

No worries -- no problem.

To answer your questions-- the first was about multi-party chocies rather than selection among the same party.

Your second question about information -- choices are based on information -- so what standard of infomration is required to make a choice meaningful and therefore permit a democratic choice?

Lastly I eman that what we value is not a universal construction. So what we value in Canada as a democracy may not be the same as somewhere else and a democracy may be less of a priority somewhere else. Our definition and standards for democracy can be different than those of another country. In the end what I am saying is that all these ideas are somewhat relative and democracy is not a single thing but a standard for a state where a number of things have to go well and those things may differ from place to place. I think there is a continuum with no perfect end. I perfer to consider these than try to arrive at some single standard that is, I think, unrealistic.

 

Pondering

What we have is a representative democracy and that is the way most people want it. The right wins because they accept people as they are while the left insists they be politically educated convinced that is the only way to win. The opposite would be more effective. First win, then politically educate.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Pondering wrote:

What we have is a representative democracy and that is the way most people want it. The right wins because they accept people as they are while the left insists they be politically educated convinced that is the only way to win. The opposite would be more effective. First win, then politically educate.

This is an ends and means issue. The right wins by inducing voters to believe lies. In many cases, the voters are quite happy to believe these lies, which have been engineered to match their own biases, and cater to their irrational fears. I could never support a party that campaigned by telling lies the way the rightists do. If that means always losing to them, that would be my fate, but winning by lying is too high a price to pay. Once you've won an election by lying, what are the odds that you'll then risk defeat by telling the truth?

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
To answer your questions-- the first was about multi-party chocies rather than selection among the same party.

Ah, OK.  I guess that's somewhat better than having no choice whatsoever, but it would be hard to enthusiastically refer to it as democracy.  Specifically, the state shouldn't unduly interfere with electoral choice.

Quote:
Your second question about information -- choices are based on information -- so what standard of infomration is required to make a choice meaningful and therefore permit a democratic choice?

I'm still not certain how to answer because it's still not clear to me what we're referring to.  A party's platform and policies?  A candidate's voting history and personal history?  I figure that's all out there for people who want it.  I would agree that it's important, but I don't feel like it's being kept from us.

Quote:
So what we value in Canada as a democracy may not be the same as somewhere else and a democracy may be less of a priority somewhere else.

I would certainly agree that there is no "one, perfect" democracy or democratic model. 

At the same time, when you say "democracy may be less of a priority somewhere else" I immediately wonder what's the greater priority.  The need to please a deity?  The stability that only a strongman can bring?  The ongoing success of the glorious revolution?  Trading democracy for any of these seems to me to be like trading liberties for security -- a short-sighted bargain.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

At the same time, when you say "democracy may be less of a priority somewhere else" I immediately wonder what's the greater priority.  The need to please a deity?  The stability that only a strongman can bring?  The ongoing success of the glorious revolution?  Trading democracy for any of these seems to me to be like trading liberties for security -- a short-sighted bargain.

And there is nothing wrong with thinking that in your context. The problem is assuming that everyone else has to have the same opinion. If they do not see it the same way you do and it is their country -- do you have a right to say they are wrong? What if they feel that greater democratic freedom will lead to disunity and they value unity more? What if they feel it could cause instability and that is not worth it for them?

Ultimately democracy is just not something you can force on to someone and neither can you use your definitions of value to impose them.

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
If they do not see it the same way you do and it is their country -- do you have a right to say they are wrong? What if they feel that greater democratic freedom will lead to disunity and they value unity more? What if they feel it could cause instability and that is not worth it for them?

Fair enough.  I get that it's not for me to tell a sovereign country what they must do.  In the context of this thread, I might only withold my personal approval of their "democracy".

Pondering

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Pondering wrote:

What we have is a representative democracy and that is the way most people want it. The right wins because they accept people as they are while the left insists they be politically educated convinced that is the only way to win. The opposite would be more effective. First win, then politically educate.

This is an ends and means issue. The right wins by inducing voters to believe lies. In many cases, the voters are quite happy to believe these lies, which have been engineered to match their own biases, and cater to their irrational fears. I could never support a party that campaigned by telling lies the way the rightists do. If that means always losing to them, that would be my fate, but winning by lying is too high a price to pay. Once you've won an election by lying, what are the odds that you'll then risk defeat by telling the truth?

Accepting people as they are is not lying. Appealing to people's self-interest is not lying.

This is what I mean:

http://www.monbiot.com/2016/10/06/what-we-are/

That is the truth.

We are suckers for language. When surveys asked Americans whether the federal government was spending too little on “assistance to the poor”, 65% of them agreed. But only 25% agreed that it was spending too little on “welfare”. In the approach to the 1991 Gulf War, nearly two thirds of Americans said they were willing to “use military force”. Fewer than 30% were willing to “go to war”.

So maybe what the opposition should have asked was "why are we going to war?" or better still "why are we starting a war with Syria?"

Democracy for Realists, published earlier this year by the social science professors Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, argues that the “folk theory of democracy” – the idea that citizens make coherent and intelligible policy decisions, on which governments then act – bears no relationship to how it really works. Or could ever work.

Voters, they contend, can’t possibly live up to these expectations. Most are too busy with jobs and families and troubles of their own. When we do have time off, not many of us choose to spend it sifting competing claims about the fiscal implications of quantitative easing. Even when we do, we don’t behave as the theory suggests.

Our folk theory of democracy is grounded in an Enlightenment notion of rational choice. This proposes that we make political decisions by seeking information, weighing the evidence and using it to choose good policies, then attempt to elect a government that will champion those policies. In doing so, we compete with other rational voters, and seek to reach the unpersuaded through reasoned debate.

Progressives need to accept that the folk theory of democracy has no basis in reality. That does not mean progressives can't win nor that they have to lie to win. It means progressives have to tailor their pitch to what people are actually like. It doesn't even mean changing policy. It's about changing focus and designing the message to appeal to how people are rather than who you wish they were.

I believe if people knew "the truth" and had a means to do it they would overthrow the .01%.

I believe that even without that the NDP could beat Trudeau, just not the way they are going about it.

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Sophistry, thy name is Pondering.

Pondering

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Sophistry, thy name is Pondering.

Your only purpose in this thread has been to misrepresent my views and insult me personally. What a sad small-minded display. I guess discussing George Monbiot's political theory just doesn't do it for you. 

Left Turn

Pondering wrote:

Progressives need to accept that the folk theory of democracy has no basis in reality. That does not mean progressives can't win nor that they have to lie to win. It means progressives have to tailor their pitch to what people are actually like. It doesn't even mean changing policy. It's about changing focus and designing the message to appeal to how people are rather than who you wish they were.

I believe if people knew "the truth" and had a means to do it they would overthrow the .01%.

I believe that even without that the NDP could beat Trudeau, just not the way they are going about it.

I actually think it's a little more complicated than what either you or the authors of Democracy for Realists suggest. The folk theory of democracy probably stands up faily well among people with very high IQs. As we move down the IQ scale, we probably find that voter behaviour differs more and more from the folk theory of democracy, and would bear no relation to it below a certain IQ level.

People with lower IQs are far more likely than people with higher IQs to make errors in logic that lead them to vote based on false 'assumptions' and 'generalisations'. Lower IQ individuals are more likely to believe falsehoods such as 'all politicians are corrupt' or that 'taxation equals theft' than higher IQ individuals, who are better able to understand the faulty logic behind these and other similar generalisations. It's also why openly racist, sexist, homophobic and other bigoted generalisations tend to find more of an audience among individuals with lower IQs.

Doug Woodard

Left Turn wrote:

I actually think it's a little more complicated than what either you or the authors of Democracy for Realists suggest. The folk theory of democracy probably stands up faily well among people with very high IQs. As we move down the IQ scale, we probably find that voter behaviour differs more and more from the folk theory of democracy, and would bear no relation to it below a certain IQ level.

People with lower IQs are far more likely than people with higher IQs to make errors in logic that lead them to vote based on false 'assumptions' and 'generalisations'. Lower IQ individuals are more likely to believe falsehoods such as 'all politicians are corrupt' or that 'taxation equals theft' than higher IQ individuals, who are better able to understand the faulty logic behind these and other similar generalisations. It's also why openly racist, sexist, homophobic and other bigoted generalisations tend to find more of an audience among individuals with lower IQs.

Left Turn, there are plenty of "high-IQ" people who have little trouble assenting to political nonsense. I get the impression that low-IQ people tend not to participate much in politics. I suspect also that you are using "low-IQ" where "median-IQ" might be more appropriate.

I think that a lot of the problem comes from the decline of independent proprietors (shopkeepers, craftsmen and small farmers) in the economy, a decline in participation in local government, and the increasing scale and bureaucratization of workplaces and society generally. I suspect that most people just don't get enough practical political education in their daily lives, and feel a disconnect betwween those lives and national politics. I suspect that their great-grandparents would have found it easier to peg Trump as "big hat, no cattle."