Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-4hhp2 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-16T15:46:19.641Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Contemporary Views of Liberal Democracy and the 2016 Presidential Election

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 July 2020

William D. Hicks
Affiliation:
Appalachian State University
Seth C. McKee
Affiliation:
Oklahoma State University
Daniel A. Smith
Affiliation:
University of Florida

Abstract

What are Americans’ views on liberal democracy? Have their attitudes changed since the 1950s? How do their attitudes about liberal democracy shape political behavior, such as vote choice? We replicated McClosky’s (1964) seminal study on a module to the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. Our exploration of 26 survey questions reveals both continuity and change in Americans’ attitudes toward liberal democracy. Whereas Americans have become more hostile toward some standard democratic procedural rules of the game, we also find that they harbor more tolerant attitudes toward racial and ethnic equality. We subjected respondents’ answers to an exploratory factor analysis, which reveals three distinct dimensions regarding democratic values: elitism, authoritarianism, and racial supremacy. We find that elitism and racial supremacy significantly influenced political behavior in the 2016 presidential election and note that these factors contributed to mass unrest in 2020, exposing fault lines deeply rooted in America’s contentious political history.

Type
Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Abramowitz, Alan I. 2011. The Disappearing Center: Engaged Citizens, Polarization, and American Democracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Abramowitz, Alan I., and Saunders, Kyle L.. 2008. “Is Polarization a Myth?Journal of Politics 70 (2): 542–55.Google Scholar
Abramowitz, Alan I., and Webster, Steven W.. 2016. “The Rise of Negative Partisanship and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections in the 21st Century.” Electoral Studies 41:1222.Google Scholar
Abramowitz, Alan I., and Webster, Steven W.. 2018. “Negative Partisanship: Why Americans Dislike Parties but Behave Like Rabid Partisans.” Advances in Political Psychology 39:119–35.Google Scholar
Banks, Antoine J. 2014. Anger and Racial Politics: The Emotional Foundation of Racial Attitudes in America. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Berelson, Bernard R., Lazarsfeld, Paul F., and McPhee, William. 1954. Voting: A Study of Opinion Formation in a Presidential Campaign. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Converse, Philip E. 1964. “The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics.” In Ideology and Discontent, ed. Apter, David E., 206–61. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe.Google Scholar
Fleisher, Richard, and Bond, John R.. 2004. “The Shrinking Middle in the US Congress.” British Journal of Political Science 34 (3): 429–51.Google Scholar
Gibson, James L. 2008. “Intolerance and Political Repression in the United States: A Half Century after McCarthyism.” American Journal of Political Science 52 (1): 96108.Google Scholar
Green, Donald, Palmquist, Bradley, and Schickler, Eric. 2002. Partisan Hearts and Minds: Political Parties and the Social Identities of Voters. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Hafner, Josh. 2016. “Donald Trump Loves the ‘Poorly Educated’—and They Love Him.” USA Today, February 24. Available at www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/02/24/donald-trump-nevada-poorly-educated/80860078.Google Scholar
Hetherington, Marc J. 2001. “Resurgent Mass Partisanship: The Role of Elite Polarization.” American Political Science Review 95 (3): 619–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hicks, William D., McKee, Seth C., and Smith, Daniel A.. 2020. Replication data for “Contemporary Views of Liberal Democracy and the 2016 Presidential Election.” Available at https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/TL3BLS, Harvard Dataverse, V1, UNF:6:6Uhz9eX4QaOHXnXRw+aZYw==[fileUNF].Google Scholar
Jewitt, Caitlin E., and Goren, Paul. 2016. “Ideological Structure and Consistency in the Age of Polarization.” American Politics Research 44 (1): 81105.Google Scholar
Kinder, Donald R., and Kalmoe, Nathan P.. 2017. Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Krosnick, Jon. 1991. “Response Strategies for Coping with the Cognitive Demands of Attitude Measures in Surveys.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 5 (3): 213–36.Google Scholar
Levendusky, Matthew. 2009. The Partisan Sort: How Liberals Became Democrats and Conservatives Became Republicans. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Lupton, Robert N., Myers, William M., and Thornton, Judd R.. 2015. “Political Sophistication and the Dimensionality of Elite and Mass Attitudes, 1980–2004.” Journal of Politics 77 (2): 368–80.Google Scholar
Mason, Lilliana. 2018. “Ideologues without Issues: The Polarizing Consequences of Ideological Identities.” Public Opinion Quarterly 82 (S1): 866–87.Google Scholar
McClosky, Herbert. 1964. “Consensus and Ideology in American Politics.” American Political Science Review 58 (2): 361–82.Google Scholar
Phoenix, Davin L. 2019. The Anger Gap: How Race Shapes Emotion in Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Reilly, Katie. 2016. “Read Hillary Clinton’s ‘Basket of Deplorables’ Remarks About Donald Trump Supporters.” TIME, September 10. Available at https://time.com/4486502/hillary-clinton-basket-of-deplorables-transcript. Google Scholar
Theriault, Sean M. 2008. Party Polarization in Congress. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Valentino, Nicholas A., Neuner, Fabian G., and Vandenbroek, L. Matthew. 2018. “The Changing Norms of Racial Political Rhetoric and the End of Racial Priming.” Journal of Politics 80 (3): 757–71.Google Scholar
Webster, Steven W., and Abramowitz, Alan I.. 2017. “The Ideological Foundations of Affective Polarization in the U.S. Electorate.” American Politics Research 45 (4): 621–47.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Hicks et al. supplementary material

Hicks et al. supplementary material
Download Hicks et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 149 KB