BOOM! – Trump American Authoritarianism is surging and cannot be stopped!

Authoritarianism

Trump American Authoritarianism

by Beverley Russell – Op-ed columnist Trumpville Report

Trump support is firmly rooted in American authoritarianism and, once awakened, it is a force to be reckoned with.

If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated?

You’d be wrong.

In fact, a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism.

Authoritarianism definition: Limited political pluralism; that is, such regimes place constraints on political institutions and groups like legislatures, political parties and interest groups; a basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat “easily recognizable societal problems” such as underdevelopment or insurgency; minimal social, mobilization most often caused by constraints on the public such as suppression of political opponents and anti-regime activity.

That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations. And because of the prevalence of authoritarians in the American electorate, among Democrats as well as Republicans, it’s very possible that Trump’s fan base will continue to grow and Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America.

Results of a national poll 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, 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 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 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.

Not all authoritarians are Republicans by any means; in national surveys since 1992, many authoritarians have also self-identified as independents and Democrats. And in the 2008 Democratic primary, the political scientist Marc Hetherington found that authoritarianism mattered more than income, ideology, gender, age and education in predicting whether voters preferred Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. But Hetherington has also found, based on 14 years of polling, that authoritarians have steadily moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party over time. He hypothesizes that the trend began decades ago, as Democrats embraced gay rights, abortion rights, immigration protection, and other political positions. In the poll results, authoritarianism was not a statistically significant factor in the Democratic 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, surveyed score in the top quarter of the authoritarian scale, more than twice as many as Democratic voters.

Political pollsters have missed this key part of Trump’s support because they simply don’t include questions about authoritarianism in their polls. In addition to the typical battery of demographic, horse race, thermometer-scale and policy questions, this poll asked a set of four simple survey questions that political scientists have employed since 1992 to measure inclination toward authoritarianism. These questions pertain to child-rearing: whether it is more important for the voter to have a child who is respectful or independent; obedient or self-reliant; well-behaved or considerate; and well-mannered or curious. Respondents who pick the first option in each of these questions are strongly authoritarian.

Based on these questions, 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, the poll

found that Trump has already captured 43 percent of Republican primary voters who are strong authoritarians, and 37 percent of Republican authoritarians overall. A majority of Republican authoritarians in the poll also strongly supported Trump’s proposals to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, prohibit Muslims from entering the United States, shutter mosques and establish a nationwide database that track Muslims.

And in a general election, Trump’s strongman rhetoric will surely appeal to some of the 39 percent of independents in the poll who identify as authoritarians and the 17 percent of self-identified Democrats who are strong authoritarians.

What’s more, the number of Americans worried about the threat of terrorism is growing. In 2011, Hetherington published research finding that non-authoritarians respond to the perception of threat by behaving more like authoritarians. More fear and more threats—of the kind we’ve seen recently in the San Bernardino and Paris terrorist attacks—mean more voters are susceptible to Trump’s message about protecting Americans. In the survey, 52 percent of those voters expressing the most fear that another terrorist attack will occur in the United States in the next 12 months were non-authoritarians—ripe targets for Trump’s message.

Take activated authoritarians from across the partisan spectrum and the growing cadre of threatened non-authoritarians, then add them to the base of Republican general election voters, and the potential electoral path to a Trump presidency becomes clearer.

So, those 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. That means it’s also time for political pollsters to take authoritarianism seriously and begin measuring it in their polls.

Authoritarianism is akin to Americanism more so than any other group of Americans. With the terrorism that is Racial Muslim “ISIS”, and the country’s need for jobs and security, Authoritarianism is stepping up in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades. Americans are fed up with the Un-American redric from the Obama administration and now Hillary Clinton is more of the same, if not worse.

Americans are waking up and know that it’s now or never to take our country back. We must band together and save our country for our future generations. We must follow Trump as he leads America into a better America. An America We use to know. Where America is first. And America can be Made Great Again with a Trump/ Pence leadership!


by Beverley Russell – Op-ed columnist Trumpville Report

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