FiveThirtyEight: “What explains Trump’s ability to seemingly overcome conventional political wisdom?
Trump’s “supporters have shown signs of being misinformed. Political science research has shown that the behavior of misinformed citizens is different from those who are uninformed, and this difference may explain Trump’s unusual staying power.”
“In 2000, James Kuklinski and other political scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign established an important distinction: American citizens with incorrect information can be divided into two groups, the misinformed and the uninformed … Uninformed citizens don’t have any information at all, while those who are misinformed have information that conflicts with the best evidence and expert opinion … In the U.S., the most misinformed citizens tend to be the most confident in their views and are also the strongest partisans. These folks fill the gaps in their knowledge base by using their existing belief systems. Once these inferences are stored into memory, they become ‘indistinguishable from hard data.’”
“It is in Trump’s interest to allow misinformation … to flourish … There are incentives for politicians to keep citizens both misinformed and politically active. For most politicians, it doesn’t make sense to use precious resources to try to move or dissuade people from their incorrect positions — especially if this misinformation supports the political actor’s policy positions or legislative goals (as it does in Trump’s case).”