In my constant quest to find someone, anyone, who can defend their support of Donald Trump with a substantive argument rather than the emotional, nonsensical rationalizations I have heard and read so far, I came upon a USA Today essay by “Weekly Standard” contributing right-winger Charlotte Allen—she is kind of like Ann Coulter, but not funny— called “Why a Stanford grad joined the Trump revolt.” I was momentarily thrilled, then my hopes were immediately dashed. The answer to the headline’s question is simply “Because graduates of prestigious schools can be just as irresponsible and ignorant as anyone else.” Her pathetic essay proves it.
To begin with, appeal to authority is a lazy debate fallacy (“Proposition X is valid because Authority A says so”—you know, like “bats are blind because Neil De Grasse Tyson says so”…), but appealing to your own authority is ridiculous. “I went to Stanford, and I voted for Donald Trump. So did my husband. He went to Yale,” Allen begins. The required response: Who the hell cares? The only people who think a degree means you are smart are dumb people, some of whom have impressive degrees themselves.
Now, the essay could have been so dazzling in its pro-Trump logic that it simultaneously redeemed Trump supporters and the two schools the piece embarrasses. It was not.
The essay begins with the boot-strapping argument that it isn’t ignorant and irresponsible to vote for Trump because in Massachusetts a lot of educated people voted for him. “Low-information voter” doesn’t mean uneducated voter, however. It means people who aren’t paying attention, or who filter out information they don’t want to hear, or who are informed in some areas but get their political news from partisan websites and cable stations. Continue reading