Interesting piece in Politico …
Let’s start with a quick test.
Imagine yourself as a parent.
Would you prefer that your children be:
- respectful or independent
- obedient or self-reliant
- well-behaved or considerate
- well-mannered or curious
Pick one from each of the above pairs.
Let’s see how ‘authoritarian’ you are …
According to Politico, political scientists have employed that set of four simple survey questions for decades to measure “inclination toward authoritarianism”.
Respondents who pick the first option in each of these questions are strongly authoritarian.
So, if you answered respectful, obedient, well-behaved and well-mannered … then you are strongly authoritarian.
If you answered independent, self-reliant, considerate and curious … then, your authoritarian inclination is low (i.e. you’re more liberal, democratic)
Editorial note: I’m ok with ‘liberal’ tied to considerate and curious … but independent and self-reliant? I don’t think so …
OK, here’s the payoff punch …
The researchers conclude that race, income and education are not statistically significant indicators of whether someone is a Trump supporter. And, party affiliation is only a weak correlate.
But, an inclination towards authoritarianism does. Trump appeals to authoritarians.
In fact, Trump is the only candidate — Republican or Democrat — whose support among authoritarians is statistically significant.
Trump has already captured 43 percent of Republican primary voters who are strong authoritarians …
… and, will surely appeal to some of the 39 percent of independents in my poll who identify as authoritarians and the 17 percent of self-identified Democrats who are strong authoritarians.
The bottom line:
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.
Viva le Donald …