Do you want to predict how a certain region is going to vote in the 2020 presidential race? Discover who settled the region in the 17th and 18th centuries. If the settlers were from the East Anglia section of Britain, then that region is probably going Democratic. If the settlers were from the north of Britain, that region is very likely to vote for Donald Trump.
(David Brooks, “The Media Is Broken,” 12-26-19)
(c) 2020 JMN
My one in 119,000,000 votes is less useful than a worker ant’s opinion in an ant colony. I can hardly think of any activity that one might dedicate oneself to that requires so much effort while having such a minuscule effect. But, to address the actual comment, I think the last election rather handily proved how far off confident predictions can be from reality these days. We apparently don’t really know what the population thinks, believes, or wants. It’s quite a spectacular notion, however, that centuries’ old migrations from Britain influence how people think today, as opposed to media bombardment. If he were right, that would be rather fascinating. I seriously doubt it though, especially in a nation of immigrants.
I too found Brooks’s remark odd, like an electoral equivalent of predestination. I get the impression that, as one of the two avowed conservative voices at the Times (the other being Bret Stephens), Brooks strives on occasion to change the subject.