David Ignatius: Facts Don't Matter To Trump Supporters


David Ignatius discusses his piece, 'Why facts don’t matter to Trump’s supporters,' on Friday's edition of Morning Joe.

Ignatius psychoanalyzed Trump supporters and the Trump phenomenon, noting there is "really rich literature in social science that explains exactly why this happens." Ignatius said "despite clear evidence that he was misstating, falsifying facts," the more you try to change people's minds, in this case Trump supporters, you "get them to dig in further." The columnist chalked this up to the "backfire effect."

From Morning Joe:

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC: David Ignatius today in The Washington Post after typing all day yesterday your column appears in the Post op-ed page and it references a couple of things vaguely that are out there that sort of are under the surface. One is his inability to understand the concept of loss with the Khan family and the other is his continuing telling the tale of people getting of money coming off of a plane that no one else has ever seen on TV. You reference those things today and in a bleak way. Talk about your piece today and Donald Trump psychologically.

DAVID IGNATIUS, WASHINGTON POST: What I was trying to do this morning in my column, Mike is to explain one of the riddles of this campaign, certainly the success Trump had in getting the nomination which is that despite clear evidence that he was misstating, falsifying facts, the most famous example for me is the thousands of Muslims cheering in New Jersey the day the twin towers went down.

Despite reputation of that people continue to believe both those assertions and to believe in Trump as a candidate. And it turns out there's a really rich literature in social science that explains exactly why this happens. That the more you go at people who have strong beliefs rather than changing their minds with the facts, you sometimes get them to dig in further. It's known as the backfire effect to psychologists. That's part of what's been going on.

I do think with the attack on the Gold Star family, on the parents of [Captain] Humayun Khan, Trump went a bridge too far in his campaign. I think there is real revulsion at that. It's just a deep feeling. Here are these parents, obviously grief stricken. Their son clearly a hero. Clearly doing the country's business on all of our behalf. And I think that really has made for a turn. If you try to argue Trump out of these positions, you'd lose. If people just watch -- so they're not in an argument, they're just watching and making up their own minds -- it seems from the full results, we're getting a different result.

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