Trump and authoritarianism

Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler have done some great work on Authoritarianism in American politics.  Here, Weiler brings that work to bear in understanding Trump:

What most fundamentally distinguishes authoritarians, as we explained in detail in our book, are three inter-related sets of attitudes about which they are, collectively, adamant: 1) an especially strong propensity to divide the world into us vs. them and a concomitant intolerance of outgroups perceived as threats to America’s existing social fabric; 2) projecting strength in the most straightforward, uncompromising way possible; and 3) the related perils following from the breakdown of law and order.

That, in a nutshell, is Trump’s campaign…

It’s worth noting something else important about the Trump coalition and the personality-based divide that has become so important to understanding American politics today. When pundits talk about the role of “white working class” support for the GOP, they are, to some degree, making an analytical mistake. As we showed in our analysis of the Clinton/Obama primary fight in 2008, in our book, as well as in analysis of election data from 2010 and 2012, what distinguishes Democratic from Republican voters among whites isn’t education level or income level. It’s authoritarianism. The data are consistent in this – low authoritarian white folks with less than a college education, or who earn less than the median income, overwhelmingly support Democrats. Conversely, whites with high incomes and high education levels but who also score high in authoritarianism strongly support Republicans. In other words, it’s not “working-class whites” per se, who support very conservative candidates. It’s authoritarians, whether they are working class or not. This, too, is consistent with the composition of the (not-so-mysterious) Trump coalition.

Sounds pretty much exactly right.  Would love to see some data with authoritarian questions and attitudes towards Trump, but I think we can be pretty sure what that data would show.

Quick hits (part I)

Lots and lots of good stuff this week.  Here goes:

1) Ten things every college professor hates.  These are generally so true.

2) Nice post from Drum on how the average American family ends up only paying about a 5% effective federal income tax rate and the political implications.

3) Great post by my friend Mark Binker on how Interest Groups and lobbyists shape policy in NC (and everywhere, for that matter).

4) Using police cameras fairly is not as straightfoward as you think.  Here’s how.

5) Had not actually thought about how renting cable boxes is pretty much as big a consumer scam as when we had to make monthly payments to the phone company to rent our phone when I was a little kid (yes, seriously!).  But it is.

6) It may be time to assess whether it’s actually worth doing college assessment.

7) How schools are handling over-parenting.  And what parents can do differently.

Three things parents can do right away:

1. Stop saying “we” when you mean your kid. “We” aren’t on the travel soccer team, “we” aren’t doing the science project and “we” aren’t applying to college. Our kid is. These are their efforts and achievements. We need to go get our own hobbies to brag about.

2. Stop arguing with all of the adults in our kids’ lives. As Jess well knows, teachers are under siege from overinvolved parents insistent upon engineering the perfect outcomes for their kids. Principals, coaches and referees see the same thing. If there’s an issue that needs to be raised with these folks, we do best for our kids in the long run if we’ve taught them how to raise concerns on their own.

3. Stop doing their homework. Teachers end up not knowing what their students actually know, it’s highly unethical, and worst of all it teaches kids, “Hey kid, you’re not actually capable of doing any of this on your own.”

8) Obama doing not so bad on keeping his 2008 campaign promises.

9) All that news about replication failure in Psychology.  Maybe not as bad as you think.

10) A teenager is being charged with sexual exploitation of a minor for having nude photos of a minor–himself!!— on his phone.  Only in America.  And I’m thinking that the fact that the teenager is Black is not a coincidence.

11) I know pretty much nothing about foster care, but investing resources in helping parents to be better parents so their kids don’t end up in foster care sounds like a great idea.

12) 12 scientists on what one thing they would want humanity to know if civilization were destroyed.  My favorite answers are from scientists not biased towards their own field.

13) More evidence that Scott Walker is just desperate?  Building a wall on the Canadian border.  No, not a Onion headline.  That said, Andy Borowitz nails it: “Cutting losses, Kochs to sell Scott Walker.”  And the Post on Walker’s seeming collapse.

14) On a serious note, Scott Walker (and other Republican contenders) just don’t get it when it comes to the actual facts about the declining risks faced by police officers.

15) Hate the new google logo?  There’s plenty of good reason to.

16) Nice to see Chipotle’s idiocy on GMO come back to bite them.

17) That UNC class that teaches “sympathy for the terrorists.”  Here’s the actual syllabus.  Bad enough for some freshmen to think that’s what this syllabus shows.  The fact that a purported news organization (i.e., Fox) spent 5 minutes on it looks even worse.  A little due diligence?!

18) A former Naturopath who changed to science-based medicine.  I had no idea that many states let these poorly-trained quacks basically pretend like they are real doctors.  Yikes!

19) If I ever do learn another language, Duolingo sounds awesome.  I love both the principles behind how the app works and that the creator wants to keep it free to support learning language as a key to social mobility.

20) Nice Yglesias piece on how Hilary’s emails show Washington to be far more like Veep than House of Cards (perhaps why I love the former and have no time for the latter).



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