Analysis Paralysis

It’s hard to overestimate how bad analysis has been over the last few years.  I don’t think any professional prognosticator has consistently been right about any major event.  All those literal (new definition) decades ago when Trump descended the escalator to begin his presidential campaign, no one predicted he would win.  Even those who did ultimately predict Trump would win did so also predicted he would win in a landslide.  Trump himself predicted healthcare reform would be easy.  To say the least, none of these things worked out quite the way those involved thought they would.  At this point, reading the opinion section or watching a political commentator is more akin to listening to someone do a Rorschach test.  You learn a lot more about the speaker than you do about the ink blot in question.

It isn’t hard to see why.  Once again, I draw your attention to the fact that no one can see the world perfectly accurately.  Instead we see the world through a lens of whatever story we want.  That magnifies some facts, distorts some, and ignores others entirely.  When the facts and the story misalign, people tend to believe their stories over the actual nature of the world.  This is true for the average person trying to figure out if their car needs to be taken in for service, or if you’re a writer paid to predict who will win the presidential election.

One of the reasons Trump won is that he presented the world in a very simple way that was very easy to understand.  This allowed him to make predictions like healthcare reform would be easy, and that he would do so on the first day.  He didn’t predict that Ryan would put forth such a lousy plan, or that both extremists and moderates would hate it.  So his simplified way of viewing the world is beginning to crash up against its unending complexity.  This doesn’t bode well for the rest of his agenda.

The details of exactly why he got healthcare reform so wrong aren’t all that important.  What is important is that he missed them entirely.  That means his next big thing he’s going to try he either needs to get the analysis right, or have his world coincidentally line up with his story about it.  Most people, and I’m among them, believe that it’s an uphill battle at best, and at worst a Sysyphean task.  


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