Our experts score the debate: How Clinton beat Trump, round-by-round


Stop trying to shape the narrative

Stop trying to shape the narrative

The most exhausting thing about our politics these days – other than the never-ending presidential election itself – is the obsession with “shaping the narrative.” By that I mean the effort to connect the dots between a selective number of facts and statistics to support one story line about the state of the union.

Narrative-building is essential for almost every complicated argument, because it’s the only way to get our pattern-seeking brains to discount contradictory facts and data. Trial lawyers understand this implicitly. Get the jury to buy the story, and they’ll do the heavy lifting of arranging the facts in just the right...