• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Best Christmas Movie
    Propertius on The Best Christmas Movie
    atl on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Every time I hear Collins…
    William on The Best Christmas Movie
    William on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    girdharikeer on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    Ga6thDem on Every time I hear Collins…
    Propertius on Every time I hear Collins…
    William on Every time I hear Collins…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    December 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Open Thread
      Use the comments on this post to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.
  • Top Posts

STrumpets

procuressSTrumpet sounds so quaint. I get the image of floozies in bodices where their cups runneth over. There’s a whiff of something overripe about them. They don’t necessarily have hearts of gold. They’re looking out for themselves. Nothing so tasteful as Vermeer’s Procuress but the boob grabbing seems to be a thing.

It’s a silly image. How close is it to reality?

Well, Matthew McWilliams at Vox did what looks like principal components analysis of the typical Trump supporter and most of you will probably not be surprised with the results:

What I found is a trend that has been widely overlooked. A voter’s gender, education, age, ideology, party identification, income, and race simply had no statistical bearing on whether someone supported Trump. Neither, despite predictions to the contrary, did evangelicalism.

Here is what did: authoritarianism, by which I mean Americans’ inclination to authoritarian behavior. When political scientists use the term authoritarianism, we are not talking about dictatorships but about a worldview. People who score high on the authoritarian scale value conformity and order, protect social norms, and are wary of outsiders. And when authoritarians feel threatened, they support aggressive leaders and policies.

Authoritarianism and a hybrid variable that links authoritarianism with a personal fear of terrorism were the only two variables that predicted, with statistical significance, support for Trump.

We’ve been here before. If you’re new to the concept of authoritarianism, stop right here and go read Bob Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians, his online study of the subject. I’m not sure the typical Trump supporter would see themselves as cousins of North Koreans or an Ayatollah but that’s about where they are. Trump has similar qualities of power and strength that the typical authoritarian follower admires.

Conformity is a key personality characteristic of authoritarian followers. The wariness of outsiders has been a constant feature of our culture. We all learned about xenophobia in America in our 11th grade social studies class. It’s an “us vs them” strategy employed by politicians since forever.

There’s something I think the analysis is not yet picking up on and I’m not sure what parameter to chuck into the mix to see if it counts but it has something to do with the inability to assess risk or think critically. I’m not sure this has anything to do with education either since I’ve known plenty of people with PhDs whose ability to think critically can be derailed by a good propaganda campaign. Let’s just say that politicians like Trump and George W. Bush are good at poking at the amygdalas of some people to make them think of how vulnerable and unsafe they are all the time.

There’s reasonable fear that we can think through and prepare for and then there is unreasonable fear that resists thinking through. I think authoritarians are very good at stimulating the latter. But the funny thing is that the scenarios that the authoritarians present to all of us are the same. It’s just that some of us don’t fall for them. That’s the part I’m most curious about.

Well, that’s about as far as I want to delve into the mind of a typical STrumpet today. I think we can all see where the campaign is heading at this point. The Republican primary is set up for “winner take all”, while Democrats have gone with proportional distribution of the vote. We all know from 2008 that this is just a convenient fiction for the Democrats. The Superdelegates will make the final call and pretty soon (In fact, I’m already seeing signs of this), the word will go out to fall in behind Hillary. Im already seeing the ice crack around protecting Obama’s legacy too with Bill Press’s book on Buyer’s Remorse and one of Tom Sullivan’s posts at Digbysblog where he pretty much admits that the Democrats tried the Republican campaign strategy in 2008 (and how did that turn out??). The title of the post is An “existential sense of betrayal”.  Digby herself seems to be stuck thinking that it’s all about racism but some of her co-posters are a little more introspective. That’s encouraging. In any case, Hillary is going to have to start distancing herself from Obama and probably sooner than later if she has to present herself as something new.

Trump will continue to insinuate that Hillary is about to be indicted for something. Not sure how she’s going to deal with it but I suspect that the media, who has had an irrational hatred of her for two decades, is going to have to swallow its pride and start, you know, actually reporting the truth about her. That should be interesting.

I thought 2008 was ugly but I think this campaign year is going to get even uglier. We might even see one candidate completely rid himself of the Mister Nice Guy routine we expect of serious candidates and go after his opposition using language that will make everyone but the most hardened strumpet blush.

Fox and Dogmatism

How many of you have read The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer of the University of Manitoba?  Go read it if you haven’t yet.  Altemeyer is the expert on the kind of people who do what other people tell them to do and the people who lead them.  John Dean referenced Altemeyer heavily in his book Conservatives Without Conscience.  Getting into the heads of the authoritarian follower is useful if you want to understand where right wing politics are going.  Don’t bother trying to convert the authoritarian follower.  They’re tough nuts to crack.  But it may be possible to head off potential problems and plan for the future by studying this group and understanding the era that produced them.

To that end, here is a very interesting talk about dogmatism from Judy Johnson professor of cognitive psychology at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.  By the way, it’s curious that the authorities on authoritarianism and dogmatism are in Canada, isn’t it?  It’s like Canadian ethologists are studying Americans to try to figure out what makes us tick and maybe building even higher fences to keep us out.

When I viewed this talk, I was struck by the similarity of the highly dogmatic to the typical Fox News viewer.  Now, it is probably not a revelation to anyone that the typical Fox News viewer is highly dogmatic.  But I often ask myself, did they start out this way or did Fox News indoctrinate them?  After this talk, I’m pretty convinced that the Fox News viewer is a product of the 1950s and that the right wing is taking advantage of this natural constituency to drive politics even further to the right.  Johnson’s research also reinforces my hypothesis that the reason why the right wing has stepped up the crazy in the last couple of years is because it is running out of time.  There isn’t another demographic with this high degree of dogmatism on the near horizon until the helicopter parent generation of children is of voting age, and the degree to which they adhere to dogmatism may depend on how the internet is regulated in the future.  So, the authoritarians who are presently in charge are going to ram everything they can through federal and state legislatures in this election cycle and the next because their target demographic and critical mass is dying off.

With that in mind, we should ask ourselves why it is that Democrats are not simply digging in their heels and waiting it out.  Are they being lead by morons or not really an opposition party?

Anyway, here is Judy Johnson’s talk on Dogmatism: A Scar on the Face of Reason: