Saturday, March 5, 2016

Trump Supporters Share One Disturbing Quality

What unites Trump supporters? The media like to suggest that they are all angry at elites, upset by their declining living standards and are less educated. According to a recent University of Massachusetts,  poll as reported in Politico of 1,800 registered voters across the country and the political spectrum. 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."

According to Mathew McWilliams the author of the survey,  "Political pollsters have missed this key component 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, my 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."

We have seen this movie play out before. In Nazi Germany a despondent group of rabid nationalists, wanted to make "Germany great again"--and were looking for scapegoats, simplistic solutions and a totalitarian leader to show them the way.  His bully boy tactics at his rallies where he glories in the crowd's desire to expel any dissenting voices, his contempt for what he sees as weakness--McCain cannot be a war hero because he was captured, people with special needs deserve to be mocked and women who appear too aggressive and his anti Muslim rants need to be put in their place all resemble proto fascist moves. Lately his quick shout out to the KKK and David Duke and his song and dance with torture, suggest how far this ego maniac would go if left to his own devices.

If we learned anything from Nazi Germany it is that such people need to be consistently rejected not to be politely tolerated. Their abhorrent views need to be exposed and confronted at every turn. The Chris Christies' of the world that try to cozy up to power should get their reputations and their careers permanently damaged and the media should be ashamed if they start showing Trump speeches without serious critical commentary that rises above the "oh what large crowds he is attracting variety." They just need to examine the above picture to gain a sense of how Trump is currently taking a look at Mussolini's photo ops to fashion his current "serious" image. They might also benefit themselves and their audiences by reading a little history.  A course that Trump University unfortunately never provided.