The other day I met a fellow who, I discovered, also has a degree in political science, and after we talked a bit, I said to him, “Oh, you’re a quant.”

He seemed a little bit taken aback, but not because he thought it was an insult; his reaction seemed more along the lines of “What else would I be?”

The term “quant” was coined in 1979 (according to Merriam-Webster) as shorthand for “quantitative analyst.”

It describes a social science professional who focuses on how human behavior can be quantified – reduced to charts, tables, graphs and numbers – in place of “softer” intellectual analysis.

That’s OK as far as it goes – professionals like Charles Murray do excellent work teasing normative truths out of numerical tables – but because you can’t measure everything (or even the most important things) by numbers, it has turned most current non-quantitative political analysis over to historians, journalists and similar observers of the human condition.

Thus it has fallen to non-specialists to peer behind the curtain of opinion polling, crime rates and economic statistics to look at what is motivating Americans’ psyches from the inside out these days.

To start, the decidedly non-Donald-Trump-friendly political consultant Reed Galen wrote Tuesday in his “The American Singularity” column that, “According to a Politico/Morning Consult survey out this week, 41 percent of all voters (73 percent of Republicans) believe that the election could indeed be stolen from Trump. … His words shock the American political soul, are cause for concern and are a pro-active threat to how we conduct ourselves in the public square.”

Where, one wonders, could Trump backers have gotten the idea that the political process is stacked against them? Oh, that’s right, the recent revelations about Democratic corruption from WikiLeaks, clandestine videos and FBI document dumps.

If they’ve been allowed to hear of them, that is.

As The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel noted last week: “If average voters turned on the TV for five minutes … chances are they know that Donald Trump made lewd remarks a decade ago and now stands accused of groping women. But even if average voters had the TV on 24/7, they still probably haven’t heard the news about Hillary Clinton: That the nation now has proof of pretty much everything she has been accused of.”

Even as the major media downplay and even ignore them, revelations have emerged of paid provocateurs picking fights at Trump rallies that get blamed on his backers; slurs against Catholics as backward and benighted; Clinton’s expressed need to have contrary “public and private” positions on issues where the private ones favor fat-cat supporters of her campaign and family foundation; and direct coordination between some of those covering the campaign and Clinton’s staff.

Such events appear to be why, Galen notes, that Clinton “is the embodiment of what so many Americans (and almost all Republicans) see as a country run by elites who truly care little for their well-being. Clinton’s example is less stout, less noisy and less ugly (than Trump’s), but no less insidious, odious or threatening to the Republic.”

Should she win, Galen says, and again acts “to save the big guys at the expense of the little, the ensuing wildfire will be more than just an election can hope to head off. Trump may be an outlet for the anger of many Americans, but his defeat will not end their disaffection.”

That’s an idea echoed and expanded on by (no surprise) classical historian Victor Davis Hanson, who wrote Tuesday on National Review Online that “a political neutron bomb” has exploded in our political institutions, leaving them hollow shells.

Once the Bernie Sanders insurrection was disposed of (by close coordination between the Clinton campaign and supposedly “neutral” party officials) Democrats found apparent unity – as a Clinton family enterprise, in the full Sicilian sense.

As Hanson says, “Collate the (Clinton adviser John) Podesta e-mails. … Review Hillary’s Wall Street speeches and the electronic exchanges between the media, the administration, and the Clinton campaign. The conclusion is an incestuous world of hypocrisy, tsk-tsking condescension, sanitized shake-downs, inside profiteering, snobby high entertainment – and often crimes that would put anyone else in jail.”

Republicans, meanwhile, are torn asunder: “No one quite knows what the party will become after Donald Trump sprinted away with the Republican nomination and then discovered that most of the Republican establishment, implicitly and explicitly, would rather lose to Hillary Clinton than win with him. Many said they quit the Republican Party when Trump was nominated, as many perhaps will quietly quit when it returns to normalcy. After the election, don’t expect a rapid reconciliation.”

There’s little danger of that. But if traditional governing institutions have been gutted, what will fill their vacant roles?

I doubt it will be pleasant.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a free-lance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]