Why I'm a bit terrified about the election this year

I have lost faith in the polls. I have stated before that I believe American sentiment is going to show a strong victory for Trump. But why? I have a bachelor’s degree in economics. I have a 12-year career in analysis. I have worked as an operations analyst, business analyst, workforce analyst, financial analyst, data analyst, marketing analyst… I utilize statistics, surveys, and test results for work, home, and leisure. I have full trust in all those mechanics, but I don’t believe the polls…

I think the reason for this is how information is disbursed today. We live in a total bubble of information. If you spend any real amount of time online, Facebook, Instagram, twitter, YouTube… Or on your phone… Or playing games… Or just owning a smart device (echo, smart tv, smart phone, smart watch) … Or practically speaking out loud near someone else who owns any of those things… Then you most likely have been evaluated for what you search for, post, read, like, love, watch, say, buy and whatever else. These evaluations have been created to be able to market to you efficiently. To some degree these products you are being marketed are non-partisan products. You may get ads for shoes that are common for people who read the same type of articles or a food delivery service that like a specific type of meme. This is done because companies can identify their current customers by email or phone. They can turn over those email lists to companies like Facebook who can identify who they are, what they watch and read, who they associate with, what they spend money on, what entertainment they like…

But, as online has evolved so have the products being marketed. Now we have alternative news sources, entertainment outlets, clickbait (the new version of the tabloid), opinion-based essays, documentaries… These products not only want to reach people that will buy their product, but most of them have also monetized their leads that don’t convert into a sale into leads for other products that cater to the same mindset and personality.

This is great for the free market but seems to have poisoned everyone’s view of society. What has happened is people who look for things that interest them or enjoy news opinion and entertainment that matches their worldviews have slowly been forced into an online presence that caters to their beliefs and only their beliefs. In the past marketing was done in mass. You would have a television station that would broadcast out to anyone who wanted to see it and people could advertise to the group. This caused people to be exposed to advertising to many things and often exposed to opinions and ideas they did not necessarily agree with. Today, ads aren’t delivered to a mass, but are delivered to a user. Just because you watched a show that has a liberal lean doesn’t mean the system hasn’t identified you as conservative. And it isn’t just the YouTube and Facebook. Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV, Spotify, Pandora, your email provider, your internet provider, your cell phone provider… They are all a part of this mass data collection and marketing matrix that is dividing everyone into their perfect marketing funnels.

I believe we have liberal leaning people who believe that Trump is the least popular president in the history of the country who is also a hateful racist person who paid off Russia to win an election and has committed dozens if not hundreds of illegal activities over the last four years. They believe he has no chance of winning the election and will lose in a record making landslide. And why wouldn’t you believe that when all the media and opinions you see online agree with this.

I believe we have conservative leaning people who believe that Trump is saving the country from a group of Democrats that want to overthrow the system, run human trafficking rings, and have been framed by the left to be doing all the things they claim he is doing. They think that Trump will win in a historic landslide. And again, when everything you see or hear points to these things being the truth wouldn’t you start to believe it?

There are others. Other political groups, religions, science addicts, conspiracy nuts… But, for the sake of brevity, I am not going to detail the many I can think of.

This is where the polls come in. I believe as people were forced into these smaller and smaller segregations of thinking they either learned to be vocal about it and choose their friends in such a manner or they learned to be quiet about it and try and maintain civility with as many people as possible. Please realize that I am characterizing one side of the political spectrum here. I feel people on both sides act in both ways. The biggest thing I see here is that it seems those who chose to be quieter are more moderate on both sides and those who chose to be loud are more extreme. That means that they may be accurately representing both extremes, but there is no one left representing the middle. And, as everyone learned how they react to the online world that eventually extended past social media and into the real world.

I feel social science studies are becoming more and more widely spread from reality as those who chose to keep their opinions to themselves aren’t participating. I think most people have learned that if you aren’t on the extreme end of any ideology then you keep your mouth shut.

I think this is causing people to have a reality that only exists for their small group and when something like an election happens many people will either have to question their beliefs or will be forced by cognizant dissonance to believe something nefarious has happened. I am not claiming I have a solution for this, but I am saying there is going to be a come to Jesus meeting with at least one of these groups if not many of them here in just over a week.

Now I do believe the polling is telling us something. I don’t think it is telling us who will win the election. I think the polls are showing that there are more people in this country that believe Trump is bad person than believe he is the savior of the country. My problem is I think that only represents 10 – 20 % of the country. I think the other 80% believe most people running for office are trying their hardest and may make some mistakes. People who are truly asking themselves did Trumps policies help my world or did they not work out like he thought they would. People who stop reading articles about corrupt politicians and don’t really know why someone is left or right, they just know they want things to work out better.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Biden wins and Trump is incarcerated, and the move is celebrated for centuries to come. Or maybe Trump wins and he exposes a satanic, pedophile, human trafficking ring. Or maybe I’m not wrong and one person wins, one person concedes on election night, and the world doesn’t change that much unless your personal bubble popped.

But if I’m right we need to figure some things out.

1. How to get along again and hear each other’s opinions without thinking the other is a terrible person

2. How to protect our privacy beyond a camera in our home, but from people gathering insane amounts of intelligence on each other

3. How to give each person the benefit of the doubt and not assume that scandals and theories are proof

I have others, but I think they might be skewed to some of my own personal bubbles…


*Cover image found at https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/problem-social-media-reinforcement-bubbles-what-you-can-do-about-ncna1063896

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