The long con, behavioral economics, and the mass- and social-media nature of the modern public sphere collide in ways that I do not understand, but that I think may be very important: Neil Steinberg: What's next? 'Hi, This Is A Scam! Grab Your Wallet So We Can Cheat You!': "'Social Security numbers do not get suspended', the Federal Trade Commission points out on its web page devoted to this scam. 'Ever'. Are there people who don’t know this? Apparently so. Which raises the question: Why base your scam on something a halfway savvy person knows to be false? For exactly that reason.... Fraud is... about identifying the most credulous, the choicest marks, and going after them. It’s a manpower issue.... Scams fall into two categories: fear and greed.... Fear and/or greed already in the victims-to-be make them party to their own defrauding, but inspires an unspoken complicity that blunts their ability to realize they’ve been had. The resilience of the cheated is plain if we look at... those who supported Donald Trump...
...a certified con man who has paid out tens of millions of dollars in damages to his victims in the business world, for the most part support him still. His con is based on fear (the essential Wall) and greed (lost jobs coming back). People wonder when Trump supporters will wise up, and the answer is: Never. The cheated become invested in the fraud. They have given their trust, their money, or votes, or both. They have a dog in this race, and are actively rooting for the person who cheated them. Law enforcement investigators are familiar with the granddads who won’t believe it, even after the bank account is drained and the authorities brought in. The victims are indignant—at those telling them they’ve been had. They can’t believe it, literally. I have heard from many Trump supporters. They are aghast and outraged. They paint my carefully measured arguments as vein-pulsing-rage, or wonder why anybody would be so obsessed as to consider the words of the president of the United States.
Their responses range across everything except letting doubt crease their foreheads. And I do sympathize with them—empathy, the Dems’ glory and undoing. Because it’s hard to accept that you’ve been a fool. That you gave Timmy’s college fund to some con man pretending to be a Navy Seal. You let fear, or greed, or both, overwhelm you. If it’s any comfort, there’s a lot of that going around.