Here’s a Terrifying Truth: Trump Could Win
The terrifying truth is that Donald Trump might well win this election. Here’s why:
The strongest single predictor of Trump support is a trait called “authoritarianism.“ It’s a mindset that political scientists have only recently found a way to identify and measure, but it will be the key to this election — because the army of Trump authoritarians is large — and it is growing.
At the heart of the authoritarian personality is fear:
- Authoritarians fear social change, especially if it seems to challenge their own status as superior to other groups. And on the other side of the same coin, they crave stability, order and security.
- Authoritarians fear “outsiders.” Like the followers of the ancient philosopher Manes, authoritarians see the world as a battleground between the good (people “like us”) and the bad (people who are “different from us,” don’t share our values and mean to harm us). Their fondness for “us” tends to make them jingoistic, xenophobic and sometimes racist.
- Authoritarians look to a strong leader to quell their fears — one who promises in no uncertain terms to protect them from outsiders and put a stop to the social changes they fear. This leader need not detail the plan for doing this. Authoritarians look for a strong, parental figure who will simply say, “Leave it to me.”