The Trump effect: New study connects white American intolerance and support for authoritarianism
The research suggests that when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.
May.27.2018 / 11:22 AM ET
A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather the hardening of one particular political ideology. Political scientists Steven V. Miller of Clemson and Nicholas T. Davis of Texas A&M have released a working paper titled “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy.” Their study finds a correlation between white American’s intolerance, and support for authoritarian rule. In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.
Black people, Asians, Native Americans and women were prevented from voting for significant stretches of American history. America’s tradition of democracy (for some) exists alongside a tradition of authoritarianism (for some). The survey data doesn’t show people rejecting American traditions, then, Miller says, so much as it shows “a preference for the sort of white-ethnocentrism that imbued much of the functional form of democracy for the better part of two centuries.”
The Founders supported democracy as long as it was restricted to white male property holders. Today, our understanding of democracy is more expansive — at least in theory.
In practice, the GOP has increasingly been embracing a politics of white resentment tied to disenfranchisement. “Since Richard Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy,’ the GOP has pigeon-holed itself as, in large part, an aggrieved white people’s party,” Miller told me.
“The GOP has dug itself into such a hole on this that the most practical effort to stave off these impending losses is to disenfranchise the votes of the same ethnic/racial outgroups against whom GOP messaging has been stoking animosity,” Miller tells me. A party built on demonizing and attacking marginalized people is a party that will have to disenfranchise those same people if it is to survive.
Blaming authoritarianism on partisanship suggests that both sides are equally to blame for the erosion of democratic norms. But greater commitment to abortion rights and free healthcare in the Democratic party isn’t a threat to the foundations of democracy. The growing concentration of intolerant white voters in the GOP, on the other hand, has created a party which appears less and less committed to the democratic project. When faced with a choice between bigotry and democracy, too many Americans are embracing the first while abandoning the second.
So, stop with the economic anxiety. His policies are taking an axe to the WWC, yet, his support from them stays strong.
They never had a problem with WHITE socialism. They just had a problem with socialism that treated everyone equal. It’s why they choose to believe in the LIE of voter fraud, so that they can justify Voter suppression. They have no problem with supporting a traitor against the United States. All the while thinking that they can purse their lips to complain about athletes taking a knee in protest, trying to call THEM Un-American. Phuck outta here. They want to party like it’s 1948. But, NOBODY is playing with them.