A vote for simplicity

I’m as surprised by the outcome of the U.S. election as anyone. I wondered what happened and how a person with such simplistic and flawed (and vague) policies could have been elected. The policies that he did have were crude and simple for problems that are long standing and complex.

Then it hit me. Much of the appeal would be the simplicity. We are overloaded as a society and many of the problems we face are complex and require a strong focus, expertise and ongoing monitoring and adjustment to move in the right direction much less solve.

What Trump had was simplicity.

  • Want to stem illegal immigration: Build a wall
  • Want to deal with the large number of undocumented overstayers: Deport them
  • What to deal with ISIS: Bomb them
  • Don’t like the previous healthcare: Repeal it

All dead simple solutions. All unlikely to resolve anything but at least iof people understand the response, they can feel like something is being done about it.

Personally, I think it was a popular vote for simplicity. These problems aren’t simple. What is heartening is that it seems Trump is listening.


2 thoughts on “A vote for simplicity

  1. Actually, with the exception of Obamacare, those simple solutions are workable and would be largely effective at stemming the respective problems. Complexity is often both unnecessary and counter-productive, a luxury of sorts that can’t really be afforded until the immediate problems are mitigated or resolved.

    Then, the word resolved is key to this. Trump’s plans, such as they are, are simple resolutions to threats. It’s true that they don’t particularly address the problems underlying those threats and, hence, aren’t lasting solutions. But, that’s the problem with certain sorts that I’ll lump into the intelligentsia and pseudo-intelligentsia; they scorn simple resolutions in favor of root-cause solution – in effect, turning the perfect into the enemy of the good.


    • It’s not wrong to want quick resolution over root cause fix? ‘Resolution’ to a complex problem often just changes the shape of the problem. Look at the war on terrorism. Drone strikes remove the capability of the terrorist organisation by removing the leadership but leaves a recruiting ground that lasts a generation. Many in Afghanistan and Pakistan now fear clear skies and prefer overcast days. How hard is it to recruit replacements for their organisation in that circumstance. I compare the US and UK responses to terrorism (Al Quaeda vs the IRA). Life in the UK was much less disrupted despite more frequent and successful attacks. The US has removed more freedoms trying to stay safe from terrorists when in fact you are thousands of times more likely to be killed by guns from yourself or your own citizens than a terrorist. Different shape to the problem. That’s all.
      Good luck with Trump. On the hustings he sounded terrible but in retrospect, he was an outsider and he fought the campaign the way that he could. His acceptance speech and the way that his listened and respected his opposition afterwards gives an encouraging sign of what is underneath.
      One thing that heartening me with Trump over Hillary is that he wants to be president to be great. If that means listening to opposing views and coming to his own conclusion then that’s his best path.
      It will be interesting to see what shape the problems end up in when he’s done with it.


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