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Our Shared Experience: the Presidential Political Circus

Amidst the tweet-y noise of this presidential election, I keep looking for news that would help me know which way the winds were blowing and help me grok my fellow man. 

Here are a few pointers that are helping me cope:

Jonathon Haidt's book on the psychology of morality ("The Righteous Mind, Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion."  This very readable but scientifically minded book is on of my top-10 list of books that changed my understanding of people (and politics).  He analyzes different axes of morality, such as freedom vs loyalty vs doing-harm, and argues that we have different preferences for these different axes.

These moral "tastes" control how charmed we are by Authoritarian I'll Fix It With Force talk by folks like Trump, versus how compelling we find the certain (but not universal) Economic Justice and Fairness rhetroic of Sanders.

Haidt convinced me that these moral feelings are very hard-wired and come first - that reasoning about them is post-hoc after our personal gut moral reactions. I think many middle Americans know this, but some of us over-educated folks emphasize reasoning and logic in our lives so much that we forget that that's not actually how people work. 

Actually, I listened to it on audible, thanks to the incredibly bad Bay Area traffic these days :).

The best big picture view of the campaigning is probably fivethirtyeight.com.  They transform the best statistics they can find into informational chunks.  Love that Nate Silver has brought statistics into the pop-culture awareness with this website!

And on the lighter side:  Writer Erin O'Brien on Buying a Trump Mattress (see the January 25, 2016 entry)



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