General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Can we discuss the implications this article raises?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (32692points) March 2nd, 2016

It’s long, and I won’t summarize it. Please, read it.


This article may contain an important key to understanding the rise of Donald Trump.

I’m on a mobile device and do not have time to write at the moment. I will join in the discussion thread.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

50 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Yep. I’ve been reading a book on this sort of thing by Jonathan Haidt, as mentioned in the article. However I don’t think Haidt would say as the article does that this is an accidental angle of the Republican Party. Haidt describes the moral principles of liberals and conservatives, and says they overlap, but that conservatives has a few more than liberals do, one of them being Authority, as discussed here. That gives conservatives and advantage in understanding liberal thinking compared to liberals trying to understand conservatives, at least according to this interesting and evidence-supported way of understanding the differences in their moral sensitivities. I first heard of this idea from Haidt back in 2008, when he gave a nice TED talk about it.

It gives good insight into what’s going on with conservatives, which liberals may have a hard time understanding. I don’t think it’s a perfect model, but I think it offers a lot of insight and potential for improved understanding and communication. I actually used to be less restrained than I have been since 2008 in my OMG WTF reactions. ;-)

jaytkay's avatar

The fascist impulse has been strong among American conservatives as long as I have been voting.

And I have been countering it from a very young age. My dad took me into the voting booth and lifted me up to vote for Hubert Humphrey in 1968. True story.

Nixon’s appeal to the “silent majority” and his Southern Strategy set the pattern for the current GOP. Resentful white losers and racists are the core of Republican support.

I am looking forward to Trump’s nomination. Republicans will be explicit and honest about their platform instead of dancing around their motivations.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have to be blunt and honest here. If you are a left leaner and read this to try understand the far right you will never understand them. While there may be some legit research here it is completely ignoring the “authoritarians” on the left. I also reject the presumpton that a four question test can characterize someone as authoritarian or not. This is publish or perish garbage and a conglomeration of it. Sure there are a minority of people who have a particular personality along these lines but I don’t think this explains trump or even the fracturing of the GOP.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe some of the supporters fit this, but not the people I know. The people I know simply ignore anything that sounded racist coming out of Trump’s mouth. They are interested in trade, having a politician who can’t be bought, a politician who calls out people in his own party, who looks at the needs of the country from a business perspective.

Your article said, ”...that 75 percent of Republican voters supported banning Muslims from the United States. A PPP poll found that a third of Trump voters support banning gays and lesbians from the country. Twenty percent said Lincoln shouldn’t have freed the slaves.” Banning gays shocks me, but the other statements probably would draw other answers if asked differently. The south had a lot of financial trouble when slavery ended and southerners don’t like central government interference, but if you ask southerners if they agree with slavery, 99% don’t. As far as Muslims, people are afraid. I would say true that a lot of people support being cautious about who we let in from the Middle East.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

That ted talk was feel good nonsense too. Perfect shining example of why liberals completely misunderstand conservatives. They’re often very open to new experience as well. Personality is not likely a reliable predictor of political affiliation. Some people can seem to understand why others don’t agree with them and they have to go on a fact finding mission to find out why. This segregation of people by weak personality tests or loose characterizations is the predictable result.

JLeslie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I think it’s because so much of the party is full of evangelicals. Once people start babbling religious stuff in politics, most of us liberals get disgusted or annoyed. We think the person can’t think for themselves. I’d say a lot of the time it’s true, but there certainly is a portion of the evangelical conservatives who can and do think for themselves and who even argue with friends on topics that easily could get them ostracized. Not all of Trump supporters are evangelicals obviously. My closest friends who support Trump, one is an atheist Jew, and the other is not religious, I’m not sure if he calls himself an atheist.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Well that’s the one massive exception. What’s funny though is that it does not hold true where I live. I personally know more left leaners who go to the big mega churches than right leaners. I can’t say I really know anyone on the extremes though. I think the evangelical right are just spewing words and annoying everyone louder than everyone else. Here in the bible belt we have this creepy evangelical left too. They’re just very quiet.

JLeslie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I know quite a few evangelicals who are so far to the right, and I do feel they mindlessly follow their church and church peers regarding politics. Right now there are some evangelicals very against Trump. There is some split among them for sure. They hate Trump for how crass he can be. I think a lot of Southerners also HATE identifying with someone who the country perceives as racist. They also much prefer evangelical candidates like Cruz and Rubio. Cruz and Rubio still have that family values Christian schtick, especially Cruz, and Cruz is a Southerner in their mind.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Oh I do too, way more than I care to. There is this stigma that identifying as right leaning automatically means a person is reactionary, religious and closed minded. While it is true quite often it is not really a universal truth. The simple fact of the matter is that someone can be left leaning and be reactionary, closed minded and religious. Out of those three religion is the only one that seems to have legit correlation to the right and likely for the reasons you mentioned. I really think the vast majority of people out there identify left or right simply out of proximity. Even when people actually decide where they stand on issues they don’t often jump ship to the side that best supports their positions because of the social implications with the people around them. If that was not the case I think we would see a vast sea of gray, much less “us and them” and more center based politics. We all have much more overlap in the middle than most of us would like to admit simply because people naturally have an easier time with black and white team sports.

JLeslie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I have to agree with the proximity idea and the grey/overlap assertion. I have said in the past I have more in common with a northern Republican than a Southern Democrat, and I’m a Democrat. It’s a little tongue and cheek, but it has to do with the make up of those parties in the different regions. Living in the deep South was the first time I realized there are a whole bunch of Democrats who are conservative on social issues. That was shocking to me. I know plenty of Republicans who are liberal on the majority of social issues, that was my normal.

Going back to the original question, I just think misunderstanding the “other side” is rampant. Fear is a huge reason in my opinion. The other is people need to go live among the “others” and really listen to them. Questionnaires and polls are worded poorly all the time giving incorrect impressions.

rojo's avatar

Wow. An insightful article which goes a long way in helping to explain the rise of Trump and his supporters. Also shows how he is able to draw from both parties and independents. We have said for years now that the Republicans use fear as a motivator. I think the only question is how much of this fear mongering was intentionally fostered to bring about a more malleable electorate. In other words, is there an actual plan or movement to bring about a more fascist, authoritarian government to the United States or is this just a result of policies implemented to win more votes with no other goal in mind.
It goes hand in hand with my questions yesterday about Dominion Theology, the Religious Right and control of the Republican Party.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I came away from the article with the understanding that the authoritarian impulse was not limited to the right wing. It is possible to have it and be left leaning. From what I understood from the article, it has more to do with fear. Those whose fear is more easily excitable are more likely to have a stronger authoritarian impulse. The research in the article seemed to point out that it’s certain kinds of fear, too. There is the fear of the danger from outside, and there is the fear of the other. If those fears can be manipulated, then behavior can be manipulated, including behavior in the voting booth.

I am interested in this idea for many reasons. I was raised in a Southern, rabidly fundamentalist home. I understand that mindset very well. It is an authoritarian mindset. I understand that worldview. I personally did not feel the fears that I saw around me, and I left that world.

Here’s the bigger question:

If the authoritarian impulse can be manipulated when the fears are heightened, how do we reduce the variables that are leading to the fears?

If, as the article suggests, these current fears are the result of economic uncertainty and of external security threats, how do we reduce those variables in order to relieve the fears?

Could policies that lead to better economic outcomes for individuals and fewer external threats lead to a more stable electorate and less polarization?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course things are more stable in good times. Make no mistake. The rise of Both Trump & Sanders are a direct result of the current economic reality. And the odds are that Trump is probably not the worst of what awaits us, because the chances for economic redemption are slim indeed. It’s a difficult thing for Americans to recognize that the salad days are gone and there is nothing on the horizon portending even a whiff of their return. Conservatives, fiscal, social, religious, whatever all of you face the dilemma that true or not, the chickens of Southern Strategy have come home to roost and the “low information” regiments in the Republican Party have come to define the working definition of the party overall. As a leftist, you might believe that I would chuckle to watch as the elephant stews in its own juices, but even I recognize that the collapse of the beast must crush us all.

rojo's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake You have to ask if it is that those whose fears are more easily triggered are more likely to have stronger authoritarian impulses or whether those with authoritarian impulses are more easily frightened.
I think the former but only because the article pointed out that authoritarianism can be dormant until fears reach a certain level triggering the need for stability within the status quo and equating that with having a protective, powerful father figure.
I can certainly see how such changes to our present society as we are having now with the acceptance of behaviors that have, of late, been considered immoral, the diversification of the population through immigration both legal and illegal, the restraint of the military as a tool for foreign policy and the continued economic hardships and loss of employment by the middle class all occurring within a relatively small time frame can seem overwhelming to many.

Jaxk's avatar

Personally I found the article to be crap. It sounds like the typical liberal view of conservative politics. First you label everything as good or bad then try to figure out why someone would do the bad things. Of course if your definition of what’s bad is wrong the whole thing turns to crap. It doesn’t explain or even mention that Democrats are also looking for a candidate that is not Washington establishment. Of course the Democrats have the nomination fixed with the ‘Super Delegates’ so that they can control who gets nominated.

The issue is fairly simple. Many Americans are sick and tired of politics as usual and they’re groping for something ‘out of the box’. Trump by any measure is out of the box. So is Bernie. The rise of the Tea Parties and the popularity of Elizabeth Warren are also part of the movement. The economy is in the toilet and foreign relations are worse than they’ve ever been. Nothing has improved over the past decade and it doesn’t seem extreme that many would want a new direction. I don’t want to see a trumo nomination but I don’t think that those that do want Hitler either.

Jeruba's avatar

It rings true to me in a very scary way. The idea that Trump is tapping into something that goes deeper and is more widespread than anger…and that he could just be the first in a line of demagogues appealing to a hitherto undefined demographic segment of the population. That the fear of personal threat and not specific bigotry or economic status is behind all this.

At least it’s a hypothesis that fits the facts. If it can accurately predict developments, it will gain credibility.

”...the GOP, by positioning itself as the party of traditional values and law and order, had unknowingly attracted what would turn out to be a vast and previously bipartisan population of Americans with authoritarian tendencies.”

Previously bipartisan! Those are key words.

“Now a similar divide is playing out at the presidential level, with results that are even more destructive for the Republican Party. Authoritarians may be a slight majority within the GOP, and thus able to force their will within the party, but they are too few and their views too unpopular to win a national election on their own.

And so the rise of authoritarianism as a force within American politics means we may now have a de facto three-party system: the Democrats, the GOP establishment, and the GOP authoritarians.”

It seems sadly possible that we may end up longing for the old Republican Party to remain the devil we know. (And yes, I do see the irony in the suggestion of a liberal’s feeling threatened by change among the conservatives.)

One thing that stands out to me is the absence of mention of God and religion in this article. But those are factors that come into play for a lot of people. And to many, God is the ultimate authoritarian. I would like to see how religious belief and self-identification factor in.

rojo's avatar

@Jaxk your paranoia is showing. No one in the article is saying conservatives want Hitler. And yes, I know Nazis were mentioned in the article but don’t take it so personally. The article is talking about certain personality types having a need for an authorative person to be in charge on the belief that society as they know it are changing too fast and only a powerful central figure that can take control and can make it stop.

It is not even saying it is bad, just that it is an explanation for present events. If you read it with an open mind instead of preconceived notions you would note that they are not saying that only conservatives are like this, they specifically mention that some Democrats are also feeling this way and even give percentages for it. Yeah, it appears that Republicans would like it in higher numbers but the number of Democrats is not insignificant.

And you cannot deny that the fears of the conservative are not those of the progressive.

How many times was immigrants and the wall mentioned in the Democratic debate? How many times was climate change and civil rights mentioned in the Republican? Different worlds. This article just shows a possible reason for the different world views and goes into the possible effects upon American politics.

rojo's avatar

@Jeruba I find it telling that you find the possibility this is correct as scary while @Jaxk finds it to be crap.

Jeruba's avatar

@rojo, and what does it tell?

rojo's avatar

On any given question your response is going to be a lot less conservative than @Jaxk and I think that (and this is my opinion) conservatives would, as @Jaxk did, equate authoritarianism with Hitler and go to great lengths (“I found the article to be crap”) to distance themselves from it.

Cruiser's avatar

The only implications I see there is that pretty websites/blogs owned and written by the likes of uber liberals like Ezra Klein and can write whatever the hell they want to write….color it to make it look legitimate and low information voters will gobble this nonsense up and what’s worse actually base their opinions of the people they write about.

The opening sentence IMO quickly disqualifies its article and exposes it itself as an op ed with the only mission to attack Trump with anything but information relevant as to why Trump is as popular as he is. Not one statement or argument written in that article speaks to why Trump is actually popular. And I like @Jaxk found the article to be “nothing but crap” and frankly way beneath the usually level and measured prose that Ezra puts forth.

rojo's avatar

See, and I did not see the article as attacking Trump.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I have said for a long time fear is a great way to round up the troops and build fierce loyalty. It became extremely apparent to me living in the south where many of the churches promote the idea that the central government and liberals are trying to secularize the country, and more specifically are against Christianity. Attack my group, and my group will bond together and fight! I think religious leaders and political leaders know this.

Look at Jews, the world has abused, enslaved, and murdered us, so that even if we are completely nonreligious we still identify as Jews, with our group, and care about our group continuing forward. Jews from Egypt feel bonded with Jews from Russia, with Jews from everywhere, because the world “hates” us.

9/11 happens, and our country comes together. Suddenly, we are all Americans, fighting against the same thing.

Fear is an extremely useful tool.

It’s not just the right, it absolutely is on the left too. Liberals are afraid our country will lose it’s religious freedom. Will have laws based on Christianity. Will get a right wing Supreme Court justice and freedoms and rights will go back to the dark ages. Afraid we will become a racist country again with obvious segregation. My inlaws are totally freaked they will be thrown out of the country if Trump wins. They are legal, but they think since they aren’t citizens they will be rounded up.

I see the posts on Facebook and the extreme right and extreme left sound terrified to me constantly.

Cruiser's avatar

@rojo How would you characterize this statement then? “far-right, orange-toned populist with no real political experience, who espouses extreme and often bizarre views”

That was the statement for me that made it clear this was a hack article pretending to be relevant in defining Trumps popularity. They did not even come close in the article to defining why he is so popular and why did they avoid the truth? Because it would serve to expose Obama’s policy and establishment politics as to a couple of the reasons he is popular and that would only add currency to Trump’s campaign and also undermine Hillary who has clearly hitched her wagon to Obama’s policies which got us no where in 7 years. IMO the only appealing qualities Hillary has is she is a woman and she is a party line Democrat.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie – If the article is correct then everyone you mentioned will be voting for Trump. After all they are afraid and therefore will go ‘Authoritarian’ which means Trump (again as per the article). The truth is, Obama is the most authoritarian President in my lifetime if not the nations lifetime. It is that authoritian leadership of the past 7 years that has driven the Trump supporters to other means to stop it.

I have to admit, I find it amusing that Trump supporters are afraid and if you find this scary, you may also be a Trump supporter. I love this circular logic.

flutherother's avatar

I can understand the appeal of authoritarianism but what puzzles me is why now and why Trump? People usually look for dictators when times are bad but times don’t seem so bad for most in the USA just now and Trump to me seems an unlikely dictator. I think he is puzzled by his success and increasingly doesn’t know what to do with it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk If you go higher up to my first answer you see I don’t completely agree with the article.

I think the Christians who are afraid of America not being a Christian country anymore tend to go with Cruz this time around.

I think the liberals who are afraid are staying with either Bernie or Hillary, and not going to Trump. The most afraid probably go to Bernie, but that of course doesn’t explain all his supporters. The far left who fears for their life; their way of life and safety and civil rights, they are likely not going to Trump.

I don’t think Trump attracts the very afraid in large numbers, I think Trump mostly attracts those who are curious and willing to take a gamble on change.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie – Sorry, point well taken. I wasn’t trying to point out any fallacy in your argument but rather the fallacy in the article. I should have said it differently. Let me try it another way.

The assumptions are the conclusions and the conclusion depend on the assumptions. First we have to assume that Trump is an authoritarian candidate. The the conclusion that Trump supporters want an authoritarian leader will work. Or if you assume that a Trump supporter wants an authoritarian leader, then the assumption that Trump is an authoritarian seems valid. The assumptions and the conclusions relay on each other. Classic circular logic. All the stuff about fear is merely distraction and doesn’t have much impact. Especially given the fact that there are lots of fears and not all lead to Trump support, physical, societal, or otherwise.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Cruiser Ezra Klein did not write this article.

@Cruiser and @Jaxk I do not understand why there is no point-by-point refutation of the article. Instead, it is simply labelled as crap. Can we talk about the results of the studies? Can we talk about content?

I believe the article has a glaring flaw. There are 4 questions about parenting that are stated to reveal authoritarian tendencies. The article simply accepts this. These questions were devised decades ago, and surely, they have been tested and peer reviewed. Nowhere in the article is there any mention of how these 4 questions were tested or scrutinized. The article accepts them on face value. If they’ve been around for decades, they must have been tested for accuracy.

I’m not sure I understand why you say the article does not address Trump’s rise. The article is about authoritarian tendencies in people and Trump is an authoritarian figure so those people like him.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Aren’t most presidential candidates authoritarian figures? Especially to the people who are attracted to them. From my perspective as a democrat I feel like that attractiveness to authority happens more in the Republican party, but may Republicans feel that way about Democrats. No one is more authoritarian in my mind than the candidates that bring out the Christian stuff. Blind faith. If a Christian decides a candidate represents them and their beliefs, then what that politician decrees is like the gospel. Christians are taught to be obedient aren’t they? I guess maybe some of those Christians are attracted to Trump, but I just have a hard time thinking Trump’s followers are that type of blind faith followers.

I do find it interesting the researcher is at Vanderbilt. He’s in the south, so I assume he is in tune with those voters aside from studies he has conducted.

@Jaxk No need to apologize. It is like a circle. That’s part of the problem I think that happens with some studies. The questions are worded in a way that it will support the bias.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie I have not heard any candidates other than Trump and Cruz talk about mass deportations. Only Trump has talked about forbidding entry based on religious affiliation. These are authoritarian ideas.

No, not all presidential candidates are authoritarian.

Jaxk's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Here’s the problem. It appears as though the article was written to support a predetermined conclusion. The assumption that Trump is authoritarian is proven by the conclusion and the conclusion is proven by the assumptions. That’s not valid. All the stuff in the middle is just fluff to make the article seem valid. There is no proof or even any discussion related to whether Trump is more authoritarian than any other candidate or any other president. As I said above, I would consider Obama much more authoritarian than Trump.

When you say not all presidential candidates are authoritarian, I would disagree. The president of the US is an authority figure by definition.

JLeslie's avatar

I think I’m with @Jaxk on this. Write down the date.

Any candidate wanting to change policy and rule the country is an authority, isn’t he? Why is mass deportation the only measure? What about forcing everyone into socialized medicine? Or, taking the country into a war? Or, shutting down Planned Parenthood so there is less access for women for healthcare? I’m sure we can name more.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Thanks for pointing that out as my comment was indeed misleading as it was meant as a generalization to lump together similar liberal mouthpieces that collective present narratives that are misleading and disingenuous at best. Indeed Ezra did not write the article but his staffers who do contribute are there because they do the heavy lifting of writing their articles to Ezra’s standards and he most certainly has editorial control over what is published at Vox.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake My complaint with the article as it is glaringly devoid of the real reasons Trump is popular. The entire article’s focus is on talking points taken totally our of context which creates a totally false and deceptive narrative. Anyone can take cheap shots like that at any candidate but writing these things does not make it truer than the real truth.

Take this quote from the article….“75 percent of Republican voters supported banning Muslims from the United States.” These voters are in support of what Trump really said he would do and that is to have a ban on Muslims until we can determine why they are coming here. He is proposing that the immigration process be slowed down to sufficient vet Muslims and all immigrants so we can properly vet these people. But this truth is nowhere to be found in the article and instead a false narrative is presented and sold as truth.

What really had me scratching my head though is how the article went to great lengths to make liking and following an authoritarian figure like the Donald was somehow bad??

After 7+ years of a less than authoritarian president people are craving strong leadership or at the very least anything but Obama and a Bush style leadership and the article IMO is correct in saying how an authoritarian leader such as Trump could and apparently is dividing the Republican party. Trumps views and policies are so far left of the right it plants Trump smack dab in the middle of partisan politics and is IMO a big part of Trumps appeal. Not only is he not part of the establishment, his real views and beliefs are so similar in part to the views of Sanders and people have noticed and once the bombast dies down and the field narrows more will notice this as the campaign moves forward and is driving the establishment and far rights Republicans absolutely bat shit crazy. These similarities between Trump and Sanders is also scaring the hell out of Dems especially in light of Trumps authoritarian leadership image he has as there could not be a starker contrast between Trump and Sanders from that angle.

This would have been an OK article had they not led with the as hominem attacks and misleading talking points AND presented more than one example of the real reasons for his appeal.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Jaxk and @JLeslie While the words “authority” and “authoritarian” are cognates, they are not interchangeable. Google’s dictionary defines authority thus: “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.” It defines authoritarian as “favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.” The Wikipedia entry for authoritarianism is worth a quick read. Link

I have some authority in my job. I have staff I oversee and ask them to do tasks for me. That is a simple form of authority. However, I am not authoritarian in my position. I do not try to limit the ways my subordinates may go about the tasks in predetermined ways. I leave them alone. That’s obviously overly simplistic. It is incorrect to say that all persons in authority are authoritarian. Authoritarians are akin to dictators who rule by force and use emotional appeals to rally followers. Thankfully, I do not believe we have had a president yet who fits the definition of an authoritarian. It is possible, though debatable, to view Trump as an authoritarian.

@Cruiser and @Jaxk I, too, have problems with the article. It has flaws. I really am curious about its main point, though. Is there an authoritarian tendency in us that is excitable by appealing to our fears? I don’t want to think of myself as susceptible to base emotional appeals, but given the right circumstances, could I be seduced? What kind of stress would I have to be under to make me want a demagogue?

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake So, you don’t think a right wing conservative doesn’t see socialized medicine as authoritarian? You must contribute and you must participate under order of the government.

What about federal education rules? Your state and local community must adhere to the prescribed minimums.

Isn’t it a matter of perspective?

rojo's avatar

I think you can see that in the voting @JLeslie. Republican hot button issues are far more numerous and far more likely to get out the faithful to vote than those of the Democrats. And as I read it the main point of the article was what triggers these fears, such as changing demographics, terrorism and the like. The items you mention Federal Education laws, socialized medicine etc.things elicit the fear responses in conservatives because they are changes to the status quo. The entire point was that people who prefer an authoritarian father figure are challenged by these changes so yes, I can see conservatives thinking that they are authoritarian. They see them as being forced on them. That doesn’t alter that they want an authoritarian figure, just not the one that is in office now. The want someone that can overturn it all and make it the same as it was.

Jaxk's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake – Authoritarian is subjective. You choose to see it in Trump but not others. @JLeslie makes some good points but there are many more. Your article was written by liberals for liberals. You take their assumptions as fact even though there is nothing to back them up. If you believe their assumptions, you believe their conclusion. Nothing in all their other analysis changes that.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake IMO you, I or anyone else having political discussions will employ words and terminology to define the perspective we identify with. The author of this article chose to employ adhominem attacks such as his orange skin tone then went on to write an entire article on how Trump’s popularity is because he is being an authoritarian type and liberals will be attracted to this narrative like moths to a flame.

I like that you asked about the implications as both @Jaxk and have attempted to point out that from a conservative POV Trump’s popularity is much more than being an authoritarian figure. But IMO if Trump did not convey this authoritarian strength then none of his messages of taking on illegal immigration, the corporate elite and establishment politicians in Congress would not have any currency at all since it will take every bit of an authoritarian leader to pull off what he is promoting he will do if elected. I think most people liberal or conservative see this and why liberals are putting so much effort to mislead and distort Trumps true strengths. Ignoring this reality about Trump will not be blissful for the liberals if they continue on this path.

I think this quote from Former Democratic Presidential hopeful Jim Webb will help others understand the real reason for Trumps popularity…

”“The reason why Donald Trump is getting so much support right now is because people are seeing him as the only one who has the courage to clean out the stables of the American governmental system right now,” ”

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo I see your point, and it’s a very good point, but what I am trying to say is if a conservative wanted to prove that liberals like an authoritarian leader they could easily write up a survey that would yield results saying liberals want a leader/system/government that is authoritarian. One that has a lot of social systems. Do you see my point? We (liberals) don’t think of ourselves that way, but asked the right questions you could argue we do.

I have said many times that I think people raised in strict Christian households are probably more likely to see things in black and white, to not question the leaders they choose to respect, and to function more on fear of peers not accepting them if they a differing opinion on something. I think that’s part of what the OP is talking about when it comes to a lot of Evangelical, conservative, voters. I get it. I just think we need to try to be in their shoes and see how we look.

If we want to understand why people vote for Trump we need to believe what they tell us when they explain it. I don’t think most people are doing that. It’s like a Trump voter tells us why, and then we talk amongst ourselves deciding that isn’t why.

rojo's avatar

Aah, yes, @JLeslie I see what you are saying.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie We do not have socialized medicine in the US. I did not make up the definitions I quoted above. I do not believe that we have had an authoritarian president in our history.

@all Thank you. This has been a good discussion. I think we all made valid points. I can see that the article leans left. I also pointed out that it has at least one important flaw in my opinion. Others have stated it has more flaws.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake We don’t have socialized medicine, but a whole bunch of us want it. On that survey I answer YES, I want socialized medicine, and to keep social security, and to raise the minimum wage, maybe go as far to say I want to flatten wages. You don’t think someone on the right wouldn’t think those sound like I want an authoritarian government?

We aren’t blocking immigration based on religion, but when Trump mentions it, and some of his supporters rally around the idea, they are labeled as being entranced by an authoritarian candidate or government. We don’t have that policy yet like we don’t have socialized medicine yet, but we are talking about surveys, polls, and hypothesizing about what attracts certain voters.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie I’m sorry. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. I understand that a person on the right wing would not want those things, but they do not fit the definition of authoritarian given above. They may fit a definition of socialist or democratic socialist or left wing, but they are not authoritarian. That is not the correct use of the word.

Jaxk's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake – I beg to differ. Obamacare never had majority support. It was passed against the will of the majority. It carries penalties for noncompliance. It restricts your freedom to choose whatever healthcare you feel best covers you. It was passed in the dead of night by extreme pressure from Obama. That fits the definition of authoritarian.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Mighty odd behavior for a “weak indecisive” President.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I looked back at your article and it seems to be only talking about the fear of outsiders, but authoritarianism is more than that.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Jaxk Thank you for the correction. I see how it can be viewed as authoritarian. I disagree, but I see your point.

@JLeslie The article also talks about fear of terrorism.

JLeslie's avatar

Same thing. The fear of Muslims basically is the fear of terrorism, plus other things. Most of the people I know who support Trump aren’t obsessed with fearing outsiders. The two friends of mine definitely aren’t focused on that.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther