The Securitarian Personality: What Really Motivates Trump's Base and Why It Matters for the Post-Trump Era (Hardcover)
usually available in 5-10 days
The Authoritarian Personality, which was published by Theodor Adorno and a set of colleagues in the 1950s, was the first broad-based empirical attempt to explain why certain individuals are attracted to the authoritarian, even fascist, leaders that dominated the political scene in the 1930s and 1940s. Today, the concept has been applied to leaders ranging from Trump to Viktor Orban to Rodrigo Duterte. But is it really accurate to label Trump supporters as authoritarians? In The Securitarian Personality, John R. Hibbing, an eminent scholar of political psychology, argues that although authoritarian tendencies are certainly part of the explanation, it is not the central trait of Trump's strongest supporters. Their most significant feature is their aversion to vulnerability. What Trump's base craves is not authority, but rather a specific form of security. Drawing from an array of national surveys and survey experiments, Hibbing shows that Trump supporters largely strive for security in the face of threats from out groups, defined broadly to include welfare cheats, unpatriotic athletes, norm violators, non-English speakers, religious and racial minorities, and foreigners. Their guiding motivation is not economic hardship, nor a desire for an authoritarian leader, but to protect themselves, their families, and their larger cultural group from these outsider threats. A radical reinterpretation of the support for Trumpism, The Securitarian Personality not only provides insight into a political movement that many find baffling and frustrating, but offers a compelling thesis that all observers of American political behavior will have to contend with, even if they disagree with it.
About the Author
John R. Hibbing, Foundation Regents Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln John R. Hibbing is the Foundation Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His previous works include Stealth Democracy and Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences. He has received nine National Science Foundation grants, been named a NATO Fellow in Science and a Guggenheim Fellow, and appeared on Star Talk, NPR's Hidden Brain, and The Daily Show.