Math for dummies: Adventures in Trumplandian logic

    Students from several high schools march to Los Angeles City Hall on Nov. 14

    Students from several high schools march to Los Angeles City Hall on Nov. 14

    Journey with me now to the wilds of Trumplandia, where math and logic are fascinatingly fungible.

    Leading citizens of Trumplandia are rightly sensitive about the ’16 popular vote — as certified yesterday, Hillary Clinton stomped Trump by 2,864,974 — because deep down they know he has no governing mandate. Their only option is to shrug off the numbers with a dose of Trumplandian logic. It has already been crafted into a talking point, blared this week from Trumplandian megaphones.

    For instance, the right-wing Townhall website: “Without California, Trump would’ve won by 1.4 million more popular votes than Clinton.”

    The Drudge Report: “Trump won by 3 MILLION outside California, New York.”

    Joe Walsh, right-wing talk show host: “I know California is a state and we have to count it, but if you remove CA, Trump won the popular vote by 1.4 million.”

    Investors Business Daily: “If you take California out of the popular vote equation, then Trump wins the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes.”

    InfoWars (Trump’s favorite site): “Without California’s popular vote, Trump won rest of country by 1.4 million votes.”

    I totally agree that if by magic we simply eliminate the most populous, demographically diverse state in the nation, a state that would be the sixth largest economy in the world if it were a separate nation, then yes!, Trump would’ve won the popular vote by 1.4 million. I had always assumed that we should be counting all 50 states, especially the biggest one where 1 in 8 Americans live, but I now see that this tradition flies in the face of Trumplandian logic.

    I suspect that this kind of logic could just as easily be used against Trump — for instance, if we keep California and magically eliminate Texas, Clinton wins the popular vote by 3.6 million; if we keep California and magically eliminate Missouri and Oklahoma, Clinton wins the popular vote by 4 million; heck, if we just magically eliminate all of Dixie, Clinton wins the popular vote by LBJ landslide proportions — but nah, I wouldn’t want to be a spoiler.

    It’s more fun to simply swing with the times, to catch that Trumplandian spirit and make fulsome use of its logic. Seriously, it’s a way to rethink one’s entire life. I now believe I would’ve won this year’s Kentucky Derby if all those horses hadn’t been there.

    I ranked 48th in my high school class, but if I ignore the 47 kids who got better grades, then I was actually the valedictorian.

    I was a finalist for a big journalism award some years ago, but if all my competitors had dropped dead, then I was really the winner.

    I got stuck in traffic the other day, but if I eliminate all those cars, I had the road to myself.

    And, yes, I know that the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets, and the Miami Marlins are baseball teams in the National League East, and we do have to count them in the standings — but if we remove them entirely, then the Philadelphia Phillies won the NL East in 2016! They’re winners! They win so much we’re gonna get tired of winning! … But wait, these are the Phillies we’re talking about. Maybe Trumpthink doesn’t extend that far.

    But you see how the logic works, right? One last example: If we wield a chainsaw and carve California off the left side of the country, Trump wins by 1.4 million votes and he gets a mandate to govern; but when Barack Obama won in ’08 by 10 million votes, he got no mandate to govern because he wasn’t American.

    Now you get it. Catch the spirit, folks!

    In the wake of today’s news that Obamacare is enjoying robust enrollment, this is a fortuitous time to bring you another Trump chump.

    Debbie Mills, a furniture store owner in Kentucky, raves about Obamacare. Her husband has a life-threatening disease, he’s awaiting a transplant, and finally they have coverage for it. She says “it’s been great to have health insurance, because I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not have it, with all the treatments and things that he’s had to have done.”

    But they voted for Trump. Who intends to work with Republicans to kill the Obamacare she loves. Somehow, Mills is shocked:

    “I don’t know. I guess I thought that, you know, he would not do this. That they would not do this, would not take the insurance away. Knowing that it’s affecting so many people’s lives. I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot pay for the insurance? You know, what are we to do? … This is people’s lives that’s being affected …

    “I guess we really didn’t think about that, that he was going to cancel that or change that or take it away. I guess I always just thought that it would be there. I was thinking that once it was made into a law that it could not be changed, but I guess it can? … I have been in a panic, so I’m afraid now that the insurance is going to go away and we’re going to be up a creek.”

    Trumplandian logic to the rescue: Without her husband’s health problems, they’re winners.

    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and Facebook.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal