Behavior Economics

Election 2022: Fuck Around with the Status Quo and Find Out Election


Ye Olde Blogge is all about how psychology influences politics and politics influences psychology, and every major national election, there are predictions about what kind of election it will be. Check the sidebar for some of our past election predictions and observations.

There are approximately 350 million Americans give or take a few undercounted communities of color or two, so predicting just exactly how each and everyone of them is going to behave is pert near impossible. Luckily, psychology doesn’t try to predict how individuals behave; it predicts group behavior. If you can pick up on the right issues, you stand a good chance of predicting the outcome of the election.

There are four major issues shaping the 2022 elections:

  • ABORTION: We all know about the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision throwing over the Constitution, rule of law, and any tradition in the US for raw blatant personal political points of view. As it turns out, it has really pissed people off.
  • DEMOCRACY: Ol’ Handsome Joe has taken a page out the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s playbook and tagged them with a cute nickname, MAGA Republicans. The 6 January Committee has held popular public hearings. And, everybody is dropping F-bombs on the GQP.
  • INFLATION: The high inflation rates of the spring and summer had the GQP resting their dicks with visions of Congressional majorities dancing their heads. Then came Dobbs, and now they can’t quit tripping over their dicks.
  • MERDE-a-LARDO: The FBI’s confiscation of top secret government documents left scattered about hither and yon at the so-called resort has rammed Trump into the center of the election.

The question is which one of these issues is going to hold sway over which group of constituents.

The Trump Factor

Elections past tell us that when Trump is on the ballot whether figuratively as he is now in 2022 and was in 2018 or literally as in 2020 and 2016, he’s brought scores of MAGA folks to the polls, especially first time and seldom voters. However, he’s also brought out a helluva anti-Trump vote. In 2020 that amounted to 81 million voters versus the 74 million that he brought.

Turns out, most Americans didn’t like the Trump years. Even if they can’t quite articulate why, Trump leaves a bad taste in the mouth kinda like an especially strong fart does, and nobody wants that.

Trump can’t help but make everything about him. The FBI and Tish James have put him on center stage. Trump can feel De Santis’ breath on his neck and his pockets are getting lighter because he actually had to pay an attorney. When he’s scared and needing money, he holds whiny rallies about how everybody is being mean to him.

PREDICTION: Because the Democrats have done such a good job of letting the Republicans flash America with their fascist authoritarianism and Trump can’t resist taking center stage, the Trump factor pushes anti-Trump voter turnout to be higher than pro-Trump voter turnout. Hell, there are even some MAGA folks saying he needs to fade into the prison woodwork.

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Abortion, Inflation, and the Status Quo

Conventional wisdom holds that the party holding the presidency will lose seats in Congress in the mid-term election. This rule held for Trump, even though he broke most norms, and when he’s involved all bets seem to be off. So, what about 2022? Shouldn’t the Dems be set up to lose bigly in this time around?

Before we answer that question, there’s another political maxim that should be taken into consideration. When inflation is high or the economy bad, the president’s party loses whether it is the midterms or the presidential election. Just ask Poppy Bush, amirite?

Currently, we have high inflation, low unemployment, and rising wages. You’d think with two out of three indicators being favorable, folks would have a positive view of the economy, but you’d be wrong.

Republicans have labored hard over the past forty odd years to paint the US in very dark depressing colors: the economy is bad and getting worse; government spending is rising and out of control; crime and undocumented immigration are getting worse. The sky is perpetually falling in Republican America and it is hitting rural conservative Christian white voters the hardest!

We all know that it is tax and spend Democrats versus cut, slash, and burn Republicans. Those stereotypes are hard to undo in the minds of most Americans.

Status Quo Bias

Status quo bias is a cognitive propensity for preferring the way things are or past decisions over change. Behavioral economics informs that people hate risk, but will take a risk only to avoid a sure loss. Doing things the same way that you always did is a sure way to avoid taking the risk of changing, right? Status quo bias is easily predicted by risk aversion.

In order to take a chance or to change, you need a big motivator. Apparently, facing a certain loss is a big motivator. Another big motivator is anger.

Status quo bias can have two possible effects on the election. First, it could motivate people to vote like they always have. They could vote Republican because of the perceived shortcomings of the economy, and because they’ve always voted against the party holding the White House.

And second, they could vote Democratic because Republicans have ushered in one of the biggest changes to ever happen in America. They’ve outlawed abortion across the land. They are threatening to outlaw it throughout the whole country if they can take Congress and then the White House.

Which will win out? To answer that, we need one more big piece of this cognitive puzzle.

Proportionality Bias

Proportionality Bias is the cognitive tendency to assume that big or important changes require big or important causes. The cause has to be in proportion to the size or importance of the change. In this election, it might could work like this:

  • FASCISM — 1: Many people, and by many people, I mean white people, won’t accept that Republicans are going full fascist authoritarian minority rule, primarily, because they can’t perceive a cause. For such a radical change to take place, you’d have to see a radical cause. Where is it? The accusation of even being semi-fascist could fall on deaf ears because of it.
    • Caveat: As a caveat, many MAGA folks are embracing fascism because they do see a cause. In their communities, they see growing numbers of Black and Brown people, and it scares them. That’s why most of the insurrectionists came from counties that had large influxes of people of color and not from Republican counties.
  • FASCISM — 2: Many people look at the hooliganism and downright thugery that has overtaken the Republican Party. There are two great examples:
    • First, Trump stole classified documents is a scandal that most people can wrap their head around. Walking out with clearly marked top secret material is plain and simple. The threat to national security is easily understood. So, most folks are willing to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt and, at best, question Trump. There is an easily understood cause, the dishonesty of Trump, and a proportionate effect, harm to our national security.
    • And second, if you’re making accusations of rigged and stolen elections, you need to demonstrate some type of machination that equates to such a big and important outcome. So far, Republicans have not demonstrated that the election was stolen. The farther we get from the election, the more the issue diminishes in importance and relevance. The effectiveness of the Big Lie relies upon people believing that Trump couldn’t lose, and so a loss becomes the big important event that requires a big important cause.
  • ABORTION: SCOTUS has plunged us into the chaotic hellscape of injury and destruction because of the Dobbs ruling. Women are now forced to make life or death decisions over pregnancies. They face choices between lifetime poverty, jail, fines, life-long health issues, career-ending choices, and a whole slew of negative outcomes. One SCOTUS decision does not seem like it should upend what so many have come to rely on. The effect of the decision far outweighs the cause. And, the effects have pissed people off.

As much as people are worried about their economic future — itself a change in the status quo — they may be more concerned about the seeming arbitrary changes happening in the country to our form of government and to our rights. Both changes have causes that can be pointed to, the threat to democracy, the 6 January Insurrection as demonstrated by the Congressional hearings and the threat to our rights, the Dobbs decision and subsequent abortion laws passed in the states.

PREDICTION: There should be a banner turnout for the Democrats in the midterm elections. Democrats and affiliated independents are all feeling like they are facing big losses if they don’t turn out. The consequences of the 2016 election are now clear, our rights are being taken away, judges are not acting within the bounds of the law, Republicans are openly talking about overturning elections.

Fear of losing the status quo will drive people to try and maintain it.

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Zoltar” by K. Buckingham is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

10 replies »

  1. What the democrats did was to hide Biden till after the election. They also hid Hunter Biden’s laptop and his daddy’s connection to the disgraceful information on it. Biden’s cognitive impairment was an open secret till after the election. Now you are all forced to pretend that it’s Biden that is making the statements and running the country, not his minders.

    Like

    • Howdy Mary!

      While I really appreciate each and every comment and am thankful when anyone makes the effort to comment, I have to say that Ye Olde Blogge values facts over speculation and supposition.

      There is zero evidence of Biden having any mental health impairment. He doesn’t have dementia. That’s just the conservative media lying again. Biden’s speeches both before and since the election show him as being fit for office.

      There is nothing on Hunter Biden’s laptop. And, even if there was, there was nothing and no one stopping any federal investigation of it before Biden’s election… or since.

      If you have any factual evidence to support these assertions, I’m happy to look at it. But, we’ve been through all of this on various social media sites and through the various media outlets.

      My background in mental health helps me focus on symptoms of mental illness, and I’ve seen none in Biden. If I had, I would’ve said as much.

      This is where truth and making a good faith effort at arriving at the truth is so important. It forms the foundation of a functional and successful society. If we cannot agree on what is true, we cannot function as a society.

      Please continue reading and commenting.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 2 people

      • The day that a fellow blogger insisted that a you tube clip had been edited was the day I finally realised that no amount of debate or links to articles on Hunter Biden or film clips showing President Biden sniffing a woman’s hair was going to change the minds of rusted on followers.

        You say that ‘Biden’s speeches both before and since the election show him as being fit for office.’ There are any number of speeches you can find on YouTube where he’s faltered. He reads a teleprompter instruction (and does not correct himself.) In his state of the union address Biden mixes up Iranians and Ukrainians.

        PS Jack, I also have a background in mental health.
        Regards,
        Mary

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Mary!

          Yes indeed in this day and age, we cannot trust sources of information easily.

          It is true that Biden stammers, stutters, and mixes up words. It is well known that he is a stutterer and worked hard to overcome it. He is equally well known for reaching out to others who stutter to help them and has given his personal phone number as a candidate to at least one child he met on the trail who had a stutter.

          Back in 2019, Biden told the story of navy captain that he had awarded a medal for bravery during his time as vice president. It turns out the story wasn’t quite right. He conflated three stories of soldiers getting medals for bravery in Afghanistan. If he was reading from a teleprompter, he should fire those people cuz that thing caused quite a ruckus with people accusing him of being senile and what not. Everybody has conflated memories. He was speaking extemporaneously and just got them confused. Pretty normal.

          Back in 2020 and 2019 a lot of folks on the left speculated that Trump had dementia. I went through the criteria and looked at other possible explanations.

          I don’t believe that Trump or Biden has dementia. Neither of them seem to have anything more wrong with their ability to think than the average man of their age.

          You, of course, are free — we still live in a free country, while it lasts — with or without anything that serves as objective evidence. I will always support my contentions in my blog posts with as much support as I can find and link to. I wish everyone did.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Like

  2. When the statistical population grows large enough its behavior becomes … anticipatable. I think this (these) an easy call, but I’d still ruther wait to count the chickens until after they’ve hatched. There’s a fifty percent chance it’ll rain tomorrow.

    I am hoping my inside bet (with me), that your Average Joe will finally become so disgusted with it do something about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Ten Bears!

      The Repubes have been losing the popular vote since Clinton, and they’ve only doubled down on their unpopular policies and gotten more extreme. Hopefully, the turn out will be massive and the Biden-anti-Trump coalition will hold.

      In 2016, the best ciphering had Trump at a 30% chance of winning. Just because the percentage chance is low, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. We’ll have to wait and see. This reasoning allows me to sleep at night.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

  3. The Fascism and Abortion issues reinforce each other because, well, same thing. Over the decades the GOP has gotten a lot of mileage out of telling folks that the Socialists (i.e., Democrats) are coming for their rights. Now, they openly talk of taking rights from women, LGTBQ people (especially T), and POC, and being blatant about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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