The Abilene Paradox, a particular type of pathological groupthink, occurs when group members unanimously agree in their hearts to proposition A, but vote publicly with unanimity against it. In the defining fable, a Texas family on a hot summer's afternoon, one-by-one voice enthusiasm for Dad's idle suggestion to drive two hours to Abilene for dinner. Not one of them, including Dad, wants to do it, but each feels the need to support the other members' consensus. Sure enough, they go, and between the sweltering car ride and the awful meal, everyone's expectations of failure are vindicated.
So why did they "agree" to go in the first place? Peer pressure, the wish to be in-sync, and each thinks maybe the others might be smarter and that he will be thought stupid for dissenting - the Emperor's Clothes effect. If just one had cracked and spoken their doubts during the initial discussion, the others could have found it possible to say no too. By the time the family was sweating in the car, nobody could speak up without losing face.
The Texas family all wanted the same thing -- a pleasant dinner, but they valued get along, go along family harmony even more. The Dem family also agrees on one goal - to win the presidency. But during the primaries reasonable thinkers among the leadership knew that Obama was unelectable. He had zero executive experience and a history of embarrassingly extreme leftwing associations and ideas. Yet they were cowed, against their inner judgment, by a coalition of the media, the Soros club financiers, the idealistic youth, the Clinton averse, the new racialists, and the professoriate to make a choice that had little to do with winning.
Now it is too late. They are in the sweltering car heading towards Abilene. Though Obama is still the darling of the drive-bys, his gaffes, reversals, straddles and threats to strangle the economy is registering with the voters. He is a loser.
A fall back to Hillary at the convention, with the admission that Obama is flawed has its own risks. His weakness is the truth that dare not be spoken. For what does it say about the Party and its ideas and judgment?
But what if a crack forms and Obama misses on the first ballot in Denver? When a hollow Abilene consensus begins to fracture, a high velocity implosion will follow.