Is there a Trump supporter in your family?
Most families have at least one.
It should be interesting this holiday season exactly one year after Donald Trump’s “election” facing loved ones who still support Putin’s Agent Orange in spite of the walls closing in.
You might be fortunate enough to belong to a trumpkin-free clan, but you know at least one trumpkin, maybe from work or out and about town.
What are they like?
According to a recent review paper in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz professor and psychologist, Thomas Pettigrew, presents five key traits characterizing Trump supporters.
Continue reading below this video.
This is a mindset characterized by belief in total obedience to authority. Those with it often demonstrate aggression toward those outside of their “group.” They also submit readily to authority, resist new experiences, and adhere to a rigid hierarchical perception of society.
Fear triggers it, which makes it convenient for leaders and fear mongers known to exaggerate threats to gain people’s allegiance. (Lookin’ at you, Fox so-called News.)
It is not exclusive to right-wingers; liberals can succumb to it too. However, right-wingers are particularly prone to it.
Just look at Trump’s rhetoric appealing to his base. His speeches are laden with absolutist terms like “loser,” “complete disaster,” “the world has never seen.”
A 2016 Politico survey reports authoritarians supported then-candidate Trump, which led to the (correct) prediction he would win the election, despite polls suggesting otherwise.
This is similar to the first trait. It refers to typically dominant, tough-minded, self-serving people with a preference for societal group hierarchy, specifically with high-status groups (like the wealthy) holding dominance over low-status ones (the middle class, the poor, minorities, immigrants, Muslims, transgenders, etc.)
A 2016 survey of 406 American adults studied for the journal Personality and Individual Differences reports those who scored high for both SDO and authoritarianism also intended to vote for Trump.
Not all Trump supporters are racists; but if someone is a racist, he or she is likely a Trump supporter.
Since former president Richard Nixon’s “Southern strategy,” Republicans have used “dog whistle” strategies–coded racism–to appeal to racial bigotry.
Today, there is less dog in the whistle. Trump is putting bigotry right out front so we can all get a good strong whiff of it. Just listen to how he refers to Muslims as “dangerous,” and Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” “murderers,” and “drug dealers.”
A recent study shows Trump is associated with modern racism.
Remember the attack on the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota last weekend? Has Trump said a word about it?
As Minnesota governor Mark Dayton said in his remarks the bombing:
“If the roles were reversed, it would be called a terrorist attack.”
This is contact with group members outside one’s own, which has been shown to reduce prejudice.
A 2016 study reports:
“The racial and ethnic isolation of whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.”
Researchers found support for Trump increased with voters’ physical distance from the Mexican border.
It’s true, or course, the more time we spend around people, the more understanding we gain of their cultural differences.
This is the belief one is deprived something to which he or she believes he is entitled. It causes discontent when comparing one’s station in life to others he or she feels are equal or inferior but are unfairly more successful.
Understandably, many Trump supporters are upset American jobs are fleeing to Mexico and China because of bad trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China.
Both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced this concern while they were running for president.
What makes Trump supporters unique, though, is they are willfully ignorant of the fact that a great deal of these jobs are disappearing to increased automation, not “foreigners.”
We refer to this deprivation as “relative,” not “absolute,” because the feeling is often based on a skewed perception of conditions to which one is entitled.
For example, a FiveThirtyEight analysis estimated Trump supporters’ median annual income was $72,000.
If accurate, the characterization of hard-core Trump supporters as “working class” American pissed at “elites” is more fiction than fact.
More accurately, Trump got “elected” through wealthy political power channels intent on maintaining their vast wealth. They see Trump as one of them. They know who he is and the game he is playing. It’s the working class who got conned.