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Who Decides When The Party Doesn’t? Authoritarian Voters and the Rise of Donald Trump

  • Matthew C. MacWilliams (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

While the party decides theory explains the outcomes of past nomination battles for president, this year in the Republican presidential contest party insiders failed to anoint a standard bearer. Who decides when the party elites don’t? In 2016, it was America’s authoritarian voters. And their candidate of choice, Donald Trump, is anathema to party leaders. I argue that Trump’s rise is in part the result of authoritarian voters’ response to his unvarnished, us-versus-them rhetoric. The failure of Republican Party insiders to coalesce behind one candidate opened the door for Trump. Authoritarian-driven partisan polarization (Hetherington and Weiler 2009), increasing fear of real and imagined threats, and terrorist incidents abroad and at home provided the fuel for Trump’s campaign. And Trump’s message and manner ignited that fuel, propelling him to the Republican nomination for president.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Marty Cohen , David Karol , Hans Noel , and John Zaller . 2008. The Party Decides. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

John Duckitt . 1989. “Authoritarianism and Group Identification: A New View of an Old Construct.” Political Psychology 10 (1): 6384.

Stanley Feldman . 2003. “Enforcing Social Conformity: A Theory of Authoritarianism.” Political Psychology 24 (1): 4174.

Stanley Feldman and Karen Stenner . 1997. “Perceived Threat and Authoritarianism.” Political Psychology 18: 741–70.

Marc Hetherington and Elizabeth Suhay . 2011. “Authoritarianism, Threat, and Americans’ Support for the War on Terror.” American Journal of Political Science 55 (3): 546–60.

Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler . 2009. Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

John T. Jost , Jack Glaser , Arie W. Kruglanski , and Frank J. Sulloway . 2003. “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” Psychological Bulletin 129: 339–75.

Howard Lavine , Milton Lodge , and Kate Freitas . 2005. “Threat, Authoritarianism, and Selective Exposure to Information.” Political Psychology 26: 219–44.

Seymour M Lipset . 1959. “Democracy and Working-Class Authoritarianism.” American Sociological Review 24 (4): 482501.

Karen Stenner . 2005. The Authoritarian Dynamic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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