Groupthink and Lack of Diversity Contributed to a Missed Election Forecast

By Christopher Blair (Southerner living in NYC)

It was perplexing to watch the mainstream media on the day after the election scramble to understand how a large part of the United States could vote for a man they largely deemed as deplorable. In fact, most mainstream media outlets, including the financial markets, largely predicted a fairly easy Hillary Clinton victory. It was just a matter of how large a victory Hillary would achieve.

How could most educated east and west coast people be so wrong when we they were all talking to one another about how Donald Trump could never win in today’s diverse America? Rather than what they all confirmed talking among ourselves, could it be instead that they fail prey to groupthink and shut out the beliefs of large swaths of America? 

Everybody today hears the word diversity thrown around. Diversity is ingrained into standard policies in government, private sector and higher education employment policies. What is ironic is that most organizations are not truly diverse at all. In fact, most elite universities and mainstream media that greatly promote the idea of diversity shut out large swaths of America, largely the America that voted for Trump. 

When diversity focuses on race and sex, it overlooks the fact that real diversity is about generating different ideas and viewpoints. We should all look to surround ourselves with people who have different viewpoints and life experiences than ours, particularly people we may disagree with. We may not like everybody we disagree with, but we can generally learn something from him or her. 

When David Brooks is considered the conservative reporter for The New York Times, it is no wonder the New York Times is issuing an apology to its readers on misjudging the electorate. If anything can be learned from this election, we should start including people from the “other side” in our universities, companies and political perspectives.