Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept < faanta_stat >

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to “make America great again” by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations.

Not all authoritarians are Republicans by any means; in national surveys since 1992, many authoritarians have also self-identified as independents and Democrats. And in the 2008 Democratic primary, the political scientist Marc Hetherington found that authoritarianism mattered more than income, ideology, gender, age and education in predicting whether voters preferred Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. But Hetherington has also found, based on 14 years of polling, that authoritarians have steadily moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party over time. He hypothesizes that the trend began decades ago, as Democrats embraced civil rights, gay rights, employment protections and other political positions valuing freedom and equality. In my poll results, authoritarianism was not a statistically significant factor in the Democratic primary race, at least not so far, but it does appear to be playing an important role on the Republican side. Indeed, 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters I surveyed score in the top quarter of the authoritarian scale—more than twice as many as Democratic voters.

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.

Based on these questions, Trump was the only candidate—Republican or Democrat—whose support among authoritarians was statistically significant.

So what does this mean for the election? It doesn’t just help us understand what motivates Trump’s backers—it suggests that his support isn’t capped. In a statistical analysis of the polling results, I found that Trump has already captured 43 percent of Republican primary voters who are strong authoritarians, and 37 percent of Republican authoritarians overall. A majority of Republican authoritarians in my poll also strongly supported Trump’s proposals to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, prohibit Muslims from entering the United States, shutter mosques and establish a nationwide database that track Muslims.

... "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences." - Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mussolini 2.0

The Country Sees ‘Fascist Undertones’ In Donald Trump’s Campaign: New Survey
And just about as many say he encourages violence at his rallies.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves as he speaks to supporters at his primary election night event this week in Florida.

Half of America believes Donald Trump’s campaign exhibits fascist undertones, with only 30 percent disagreeing, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. The sentiment isn’t contained to Democrats, who unsurprisingly are willing to agree with a negative statement about their political rivals. Forty-five percent of independents also say Trump’s campaign has echoes of fascism, as do a full 28 percent of Republicans.

About half the country believes Trump encourages violence at his campaign events, with just 34 percent saying he doesn’t. The rest aren’t sure. Meanwhile, 27 percent of Republicans say it’s acceptable to “rough up” protesters at political events.

The survey comes in the wake of dozens of arrests and physical altercations tied to Trump’s campaign rallies, including clashes after an event was canceled in Chicago.

Trump, who once offered to pay his supporters’ legal fees if they “knock the crap out of” potential tomato-throwers, has since sought to downplay the frequency of such problems.

“The press is now going, they’re saying, ‘Oh, but there’s such violence.’ No violence. You know how many people have been hurt at our rallies? I think, like, basically none except maybe somebody got hit once,” the businessman said last week in North Carolina.

Most Americans, though, have a very different impression. Two-thirds say there’s more violence at Trump’s events than at those for other candidates, with 62 percent saying the clashes are part of a broader pattern rather than isolated incidents.

That level of agreement on such a politically charged question is itself unusual. It far outstrips, for example, the fraction of the public that sees a broad pattern of police violence against black men.

It even extends somewhat to the GOP: A 55 percent majority of Republicans consider Trump’s events unusually violent, and 61 percent believe the violent clashes are part of a bigger pattern.

Who’s To Blame?

The data indicates that people generally consider protesters and the media to be most responsible for the uptick in violence, even if they also agree that Trump fans the flames. Fifty-four percent say protesters shoulder “a lot” of the blame, 41 percent say Trump’s supporters do and 47 percent say Trump himself does.

Only 23 percent of Republicans, though, say Trump is largely responsible, with barely one-quarter believing that he encourages violence.

Republicans place even less blame on Trump’s supporters, as just 18 percent say they bear a lot of responsibility. In contrast, half place that level of blame on “the mainstream media,” and 78 percent put that degree of fault on protesters.

While some of the GOP response is likely due to rallying around the party’s front-runner, Republicans are also less amenable toward protesting in general. They’re 20 points less likely than Democrats to say it’s acceptable for protesters to turn up at candidates’ rallies, and nearly twice as likely to say it’s all right for those protesters to be thrown out.

The fact that such violence is continuing to happen — and that it seems to be at least condoned by the Trump campaign — is enough to give pause to much of the public regarding the nature of Trump’s candidacy, the survey finds.

A lot of the talk about Trump’s post-primary prospects revolves around his ability to reverse the overwhelmingly negative impression he’s so far made on most of the country.

In recent speeches, he has previewed some arguments he would make in the general election. Many, like focusing on people left behind by the economy, are relatively moderate, and have the potential to resonate across party lines. Convincing voters that he has the temperament to take office — or, at the very minimum, that he’s not a would-be fascist — may be the tougher sell.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted March 14-16 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

... "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences." - Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm