Study: Trump ruined Thanksgiving

I guess this shows that you can create a study that proves just about anything.


To be a leader is to accept your fair share of blame, and then some. No doubt Americans will spend the next four to eight years debating whether or not the president trashed U.S. foreign policy and reality TV and everything in between. But a new study by economists Keith Chen of UCLA and Ryne Rohla of Washington State University seems to have proved at least one point conclusively: Trump really did ruin Thanksgiving.

With the help of data-tracking service SafeGraph, Chen and Rohla traced the movements of more than 10 million Americans across the past two Thanksgiving holidays. They focused specifically on people who traveled from Republican-leaning areas to Democratic-leaning areas and vice versa, and found that politically divided families spent on average 20 to 30 minutes less time around the dinner table in 2016 than they did in 2015. That added up to a loss of 62 million person-hours of Thanksgiving time across the country – and specifically, the authors estimated, a loss of "27 million person-hours of cross-partisan Thanksgiving discourse."

To conduct their study, Chen and Rohla first established the cellphone users' "home" location by tracking where their phone was most frequently between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., then compared that with where they were between 1 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Using election records compiled down to the precinct level, Chen and Rohla narrowed the sample to cellphone users who traveled to areas politically opposed to their own, in both 2015 and 2016. They narrowed that further to subjects who were in their "home" district during both the morning and evening of Thanksgiving, and therefore likely had control over the duration of their visit. The results show that those subjects chose to spend significantly less time at Thanksgiving dinner in 2016 than in 2015. The effect more than doubled in areas that saw heavy political advertising, confirming that the shortened family time was thanks to politics, and wasn't just due to a countrywide epidemic of poor cooking. Chen says he and Rohla collected over 40 billion location "pings" in November 2016, compared to a smaller but methodologically comparable sample in 2015, to build their map of our post-election dinner anxiety.

"It's not shocking," says urbanist and social geographer Joel Kotkin of the results of the study. "But it is kind of demoralizing."

Next up for the dynamic duo of academics: They are going to "prove" that the Earth is flat, that Elvis is alive, and that the sky truly is falling because, well, Trump.

In fact, it is far more accurate to say Trump is ruining Thanksgiving for liberals.  Trump-supporters – not so much.  But you have to feel sorry for the lefties.  Their Thanksgiving is already on life support because, well, Native Americans.  And white people.  And the Washington Redskins are playing pro football today.

I suspect that Trump-supporters would be reluctant to bring up politics at all during dinner.  It is liberals who insist on berating Trump-supporters who are the problem.  For them, it's just one more thing to be enraged about, and what would an all-American holiday be without enraged liberals?