Behavior Economics

Biden or Trump: The Easier Question and Intensity Matching

We here at Ye Olde Blogge feel that this election is the most significant in the history of the US. It will determine whether we return to being the United States of America or continue being the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid. If we are to remain the US, we elect Joe Biden and a Democratic senate. If we are the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid, we’ll send the Ol’ Pussy Grabber back for another four years of paying pee-hookers to piss on the Resolute Desk, the Constitution, and American values and a Repube senate to finish the work of turning us into single-party pseudo-democratic minority-rule regime condemning us all to live in Cancer Alley, drink Flint water, and die quickly and quietly while they transfer the nation’s wealth to the 1% as quickly as possible. The funny thing is, we’ll decide which we’ll be not by weighing up all the factors and engaging in careful political analysis, but by answering a far far easier question: Who can get us out of this mess?

The Easier Question

Trying to figure out who to vote for can be a very difficult question, but since God made us lazy — scientific fact — we figured out a way around answering difficult questions: Just answer an easier one! If life asks you a question you don’t know the answer, find a related question, you do know the answer to. Fun fact, it is the root of mansplaining! Ooh! Did I just mansplain that? After all, I am a man and I splained something. Anywho.


Substitution is one of the foundational processes of Tversky and Kahneman’s heuristics and biases approach, which explains human decision-making in the face of uncertainty. You see we are confronted all the time with really difficult questions, ones that would take tons of detailed information to answer accurately. You know like, should you get an LG or Sony flat screen TV? Have you looked at the specs on a flat screen TV? Even if you use something like CNET‘s product comparison feature, it is almost impossible. You know what is easier? Buying the cheaper TV when you’re in the store ready to buy. Or, remembering whose commercial you liked better. Hell, you don’t even have to remember the commercial, just the feeling it invoked and you associated with the TV… and that is the whole point of TV commercials. The point is, there’s always an easier question to answer and you don’t even know you’re doing it.

Now hold on just a ding-dang-dumb minute here! How in tarnation does THAT work?

Systems 1 and 2

Tversky and Kahneman, like so many others, adopted Keith Stanovich‘s System 1 and System 2 framework. System 1 is the fast, intuitive, continuous, unconscious system that will never let you down and has an opinion on everything. It is the mansplainer of your mind. System 2 is the slow, intermittent, effortful, conscious system that will kick in if you don’t like the answer System 1 just gave you. You liked System 1’s answer because thinking is hard. It is why we evolved this dual-processing system. It saves time, effort, and energy and usually comes up with a good answer. Usually being the operative term here.

Who you gonna vote for for president?

The easier question that many people, even the iNdEpEnDeNt VoTeR, answers instead, who has my preferred party nominated? Most so-called “independent” voters actually prefer one party over another and vote pretty consistently for one over another… when they bother to vote. That’s one of the points of partisan politics — capture a group of voters by making every issue and question partisan. Unfortunately, it isn’t issues that drive the rank and vile’s political views, but who is espousing them. However, that is an entirely other related blog post.

This year, though, is likely to be different because #COVID19 and #BLM. As much as the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, the Repubes, and their hardcore supporters would like to pretend otherwise, we are not okay and the reality of #COVID19 is going to keep intruding into our daily lives and disrupting the economy. Branding, messaging, and wishful thinking are not going to change that. So, this year, the easier question is likely to be some variation on, Who is going to get us out of this mess and back to normalcy?

The #COVID19 Effect

The answer to that question is pretty obvious, right? The Ol’ Pussy Grabber can go on as many TV shows as he likes and say that we’ve got #COVID19 under control and things are getting better, but most people know it is not. It is becoming painfully — both literally and figuratively — obvious that it is not getting better.

They know this, so the fear and loathing strategy returns or as it is better known as law and order or as it really is those blacks and browns are going to come in and steal your stuff, rape your women and drive down your property values. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

It’s going to be very hard to overshadow #COVID19 when it becomes the third leading cause of death in the US! That milestone is only a week away as of this writing — we’re at 165,000 now, #3 accidents is 169,000! As long as the vast majority of protesters remain peaceful, I think most people won’t be following for this ruse; although, most Americans still believe that crime is getting worse rather than better. I don’t think it can overtake the stranglehold that #COVID19 has on our perception of the world, the US, and the Ol’ Pussy Grabber.

Intensity Matching

Substitution is not sufficient, though, to completely explain how we can translate the answer to the easier question to the answer to the hard question. We often have to match the intensity of the answer to the easier question to that of the hard question because one is often asking about apples while the other is answering in oranges. Luckily, this intensity-matching is something we’re good at. Consider these statements:

  • The Ol’ Pussy Grabber is incompetent.
  • How small is the dick that is as small as the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is incompetent?

If you answered mushroom dick, then you won the prize. See how that works, though? You had no problem imagining some micro-sized dick when asked to match the intensity of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s incompetence and dick size.

So, in our easier question about who to vote for for president, we’ll take the intensity of our anxiety about #COVID19, the storm troopers in Portland, police murder of unarmed black men, and fear for the future of our country and match that to our answer. So, the answer to Who will you vote for for president? isn’t just Joe Biden, it is Hell yes, I’m going to vote for Joe Biden! Enough is enough!

Science fact: protests influence elections. The side that is out in the street protesting is the side that is energized and wanting to do something to affect the issues they are protesting about. Political scientists have looked at the incidents of protests movements and the outcome of elections and done the math and egro pop tarts sum cum loud, the side that is protesting carries the day at the polls.

I don’t know about you, but I see a whole lotta protesters on the street supporting #BLM. It’s gonna take a whole lotta voter suppression, disinformation, and voter disenfranchisement, and out-and-out vote changing to steal this election. And, if that happens, you can bet there’s going to be a whole lot more protesting in the streets.

Who you gonna vote for for president?

Image Attribution

“Trump and Biden” by uwwvmzjh8 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

6 replies »

  1. There is a Fear & Loathing factor in the decision process, and it is not about POC stealing your stuff. It is about one Donald Trump, who has been a subject of intense loathing from the get go, and now is intensely feared both for his incompetence and his very limited, but focused competence in BS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      That’s what political scientist tell us. Partisan politics is not about voting for the candidate you like, but voting against the candidate of the other party. Fortunately, I think Trump has managed to drive the majority of the independent voter to the Democratic side this election. Now, we just have to get the vote out and get the vote counted.


      PS I like that, “competence in BS.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am baffled by his latest move, saying that if reelected he will “terminate” Social Security and Medicare. What audience other than the hard core libertarian “conservatives” who have wanted to get rid of those program since their inception, could he be thinking will support that action? It is literally a death threat to a majority of senior citizens, their medical providers, nursing homes, and those on SSI and SSD. I am waiting for the next round of poll numbers. And, the new Executive Orders are all Smoke & Mirrors delivering no actual help – Classic Trump.

        Liked by 1 person

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