Sunday, January 17, 2016

Authoritarianism - The Leading Trait of Trump Supporters

Some have wonder how the thrice married Donald Trump has manage to attract a significant percentage of the Christofascists in the Republican Party base.  A piece in Politico seems to have found the explanation.  Trump is peddling an authoritarian message akin to what Hitler and the Nazi party pushed in Germany in the late 1920's and early 1930's to a Germany reeling from defeat in World War I and the economic whirlwind that hit Germany.   Meanwhile, no one love authority more than Christofascists provided its harshness is aimed at those they don't like: non-whites, immigrants, and non-Christians.  Here are some article highlights:
I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism. 

That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations.

My finding is the result of a national poll I conducted in the last five days of December under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sampling 1,800 registered voters across the country and the political spectrum. Running a standard statistical analysis, I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter’s preferred candidate. Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter.

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. 
From pledging to “make America great again” by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations.
[A]uthoritarians have steadily moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party over time. He hypothesizes that the trend began decades ago, as Democrats embraced civil rights, gay rights, employment protections and other political positions valuing freedom and equality. In my poll results, authoritarianism was not a statistically significant factor in the Democratic primary race, at least not so far, but it does appear to be playing an important role on the Republican side. Indeed, 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters I surveyed score in the top quarter of the authoritarian scale—more than twice as many as Democratic voters.

Trump was the only candidate—Republican or Democrat—whose support among authoritarians was statistically significant.
 So what does this mean for the election? It doesn’t just help us understand what motivates Trump’s backers—it suggests that his support isn’t capped. In a statistical analysis of the polling results, I found that Trump has already captured 43 percent of Republican primary voters who are strong authoritarians, and 37 percent of Republican authoritarians overall.

[T]hose who say a Trump presidency “can’t happen here” should check their conventional wisdom at the door. The candidate has confounded conventional expectations this primary season because those expectations are based on an oversimplified caricature of the electorate in general and his supporters in particular. Conditions are ripe for an authoritarian leader to emerge. Trump is seizing the opportunity. And the institutions—from the Republican Party to the press—that are supposed to guard against what James Madison called “the infection of violent passions” among the people have either been cowed by Trump’s bluster or are asleep on the job. 
It is time for those who would appeal to our better angels to take his insurgency seriously and stop dismissing his supporters as a small band of the dispossessed. Trump support is firmly rooted in American authoritarianism and, once awakened, it is a force to be reckoned with.

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