Psychology Today posted a story by Bobby Azarian (Ph.D) December 27, 2018 (originally published at Raw Story). Let’s look at what he got wrong, and marvel at his conceit and lack of self-awareness.
Whether we want to or not, we must try to understand the Donald Trump phenomenon, as it has completely swept the nation and also fiercely divided it.
Donald Trump did not *cause* the fierce divide in the nation. Donald Trump is the *result* of the fierce divide in the nation. His election is an intrusion into the echo chamber of Leftists who firmly believed they were the vast overwhelming majority of the country.
If you want to see a president that divided the country, maybe look to one who berates police officers for doing their jobs, and then supports criminals who had the political utility of being the correct color when they died in the commission of their crimes.
What is most baffling about it all is Trump’s apparent political invincibility. As he himself said even before he won the presidential election, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Unfortunately for the American people, this wild-sounding claim appears to be truer than not. It should also motivate us to explore the science underlying such peculiar human behavior, so we can learn from it, and potentially inoculate against it.
Why is this baffling? Has no one on the Left ever heard of The Boy Who Cried Wolf? The Left loves name-calling, whether accusation or insult. They love it. It’s fun to use, it’s easy to use, and it used to be reliable… lately, not so much. When everyone to the right of Stalin is called a Nazi, and everything from milk to Dungeons & Dragons is white supremacy the label loses its potency and the accuser loses credibility.
In all fairness, we should recognize that lying is sadly not uncommon for politicians on both sides of the political aisle, but the frequency and magnitude of the current president’s lies should have us all wondering why they haven’t destroyed his political career, and instead perhaps strengthened it. Similarly, we should be asking why his inflammatory rhetoric and numerous scandals haven’t sunk him.
Nazi. Nazi. Nazi. White supremacist. White supremacist. White supremacist. Liar. Liar. Liar. Does anyone see the pattern? In addition to their biases, the media has their own share of lies, falsehoods, and misrepresentations. When a liar calls someone else a liar, the accuser has a real problem.
We are talking about a man who was caught on tape saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.” Politically surviving that video is not normal, or anything close to it, and such a revelation would likely have been the end of Barack Obama or George Bush had it surfaced weeks before the election.
Okay, here’s a newsflash for the worldly, educated Ph.D, who is clearly as proper as a Victorian virgin: some men, brace yourself, speak coarsely in private conversations. Also, Trump wasn’t wrong.
I reject the idea that such a quote would have ended Obama’s career. Bill Clinton lied under oath. It didn’t end *his* career. The media tried to downplay the story. The super woke Feminists clammed up tight; their silence spoke volumes. Barack Obama would have been fine. It might have worked on George Bush with every Leftist media outlet running the story endlessly.
While dozens of psychologists have analyzed Trump, to explain the man’s political invincibility, it is more important to understand the minds of his staunch supporters. While various popular articles have illuminated a multitude of reasons for his unwavering support, there appears to be no comprehensive analysis that contains all of them. Since there seems to be a real demand for this information, I have tried to provide that analysis below.
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Principles of Medical Ethics, “On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.” This is known as the Goldwater Rule. Look it up: Goldwater v. Ginzburg. Spoiler: Goldwater won. I guess neuroscientists don’t care about that sort of thing.
Some of the explanations come from a 2017 review paper published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology by the psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew. Others have been put forth as far back as 2016, by me, in various articles and blog posts for publications like Psychology Today. A number of these were inspired by insights from psychologists like Sheldon Solomon, who laid the groundwork for the influential Terror Management Theory, and David Dunning, who did the same for the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Blah blah blah. Names. Proper attribution has been made.
This list will begin with the more benign reasons for Trump’s intransigent support. As the list goes on, the explanations become increasingly worrisome, and toward the end, border on the pathological.
Pathological? Wow, that sounds as bad as being… deplorable.
It should be strongly emphasized that not all Trump supporters are racist, mentally vulnerable, or fundamentally bad people.
What percentage would you go with, Bobby? Maybe… half?
It can be detrimental to society when those with degrees and platforms try to demonize their political opponents or paint them as mentally ill when they are not.
But you’re going to do so, aren’t you? Yes. Yes, you are!
That being said, it is just as harmful to pretend that there are not clear psychological and neural factors that underlie much of Trump supporters’ unbridled allegiance.
Bobby demonizes his political opponents by painting them as mentally ill.
The psychological phenomena described below mostly pertain to those supporters who would follow Trump off a cliff. These are the people who will stand by his side no matter what scandals come to light, or what sort of evidence for immoral and illegal behavior surfaces.
Bobby did not identify a proven scandal. Avenatti failed. Mueller failed. Two House investigations failed. Two Senate investigations failed. If Bobby has evidence, why didn’t he provide it to Mueller?
Practicality Trumps Morality
For some wealthy people, it’s simply a financial matter. Trump offers tax cuts for the rich and wants to do away with government regulation that gets in the way of businessmen making money, even when that regulation exists for the purpose of protecting the environment.
For a guy whose research has been published in journals such as Cognition & Emotion and Human Brain Mapping, he apparently didn’t do enough research to discover Trump’s tax plan doubles the standard deduction (regardless of income), limits the deduction on mortgage interest to the first $750,000 of the loan (this might negatively affect rich people, hardly pandering to the wealthy), lets taxpayers deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes (bummer for wealthy people in New York and California), and increases the child tax credit (regardless of income).
Others, like blue-collared workers, like the fact that the president is trying to bring jobs back to America from places like China.
He is not trying. He is succeeding. Look at the unemployment numbers.
Some people who genuinely are not racist (those who are will be discussed later) simply want stronger immigration laws because they know that a country with open borders is not sustainable.
If a politician or a person wearing a red hat says that, such a person is branded a racist, so…
These people have put their practical concerns above their moral ones. To them, it does not make a difference if he’s a vagina-grabber,…
Actually Trump is most likely a vulva grabber. Guys like girl parts. It’s very normal. Does Bobby know what he’s missing?
…or if his campaign team colluded with Russia to help him defeat his political opponent.
I should hope a neuroscientist understands the function of the word, “if,” because it is like, totally super important, or some junk.
It is unknown whether these people are eternally bound to Trump in the way others are, but we may soon find out if the Mueller investigation is allowed to come to completion.
Well the Mueller investigation is over. I doubt Mueller came to completion. It seems his testimony was rather flaccid. Am I wrong?
The Brain’s Attention System Is More Strongly Engaged by Trump
According to a study that monitored brain activity while participants watched 40 minutes of political ads and debate clips from the presidential candidates, Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged. While Hillary Clinton could only hold attention for so long, Trump kept both attention and emotional arousal high throughout the viewing session. This pattern of activity was seen even when Trump made remarks that individuals didn’t necessarily agree with. His showmanship and simple language clearly resonate with some at a visceral level.
No one except Leftists are surprised that Hillary couldn’t cause high arousal. Even her husband had a, “private server,” so to speak. Also, pretty sure the ability to communicate with people and get them mentally engaged is a good thing. Why doesn’t Bobby write an article diagnosing what caused the Democrats to nominate Hillary? That’s a better question isn’t it?
America’s Obsession with Entertainment and Celebrities
Essentially, the loyalty of Trump supporters may in part be explained by America’s addiction to entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn’t matter what Trump actually says because he’s so amusing to watch. With the Donald, you are always left wondering what outrageous thing he is going to say or do next. He keeps us on the edge of our seat, and for that reason, some Trump supporters will forgive anything he says. They are happy as long as they are kept entertained.
Stop. Stop. Stop. Hold up. My work hasn’t appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, BBC Future, Scientific American, Slate, The Huffington Post, Quartz, and others, but even I know that an obsession with entertainment and celebrities should have benefited *Hillary* and not Trump.
Hillary Clinton had the star power of Kendall Jenner, Lena Dunham, Lady Gaga, Robert DeNiro, Kerry Washington, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julianne Moore, Pharrell Williams, Beth Behrs, Katy Perry, America Ferrera, Louis C.K., Tony Goldwyn, John Legend, Cher, George Clooney, Connie Britton, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lopez, Carole King, Russell Simmons, Salma Hayek, Steve Harvey, Amy Schumer, Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Lebron James, Billy Joel, Jarron Collins, Jason Collins, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Demi Lovato, Sarah Silverman, Ellen DeGeneres, Elizabeth Banks, Elton John, Kat Dennings, Bryan Cranston, Angela Bassett, Drew Barrymore, Shonda Rhimes, J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Eva Longoria, Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, Olivia Wilde, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, and Reese Witherspoon.
She still lost.
Save The Day created that star-studded video to get us normies to vote against Trump. Even the Avengers couldn’t saver her!
She still lost.
Then Unite for America created the, “star-studded,” video to get the electors to vote for ANYONE except Trump. All they needed to do was sway 37 electors. It didn’t work.
She still lost.
“Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn.”
Some people are supporting Trump simply to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the political system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and democrats like Hillary Clinton that their support for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington. These people may have other issues, like an innate desire to troll others or an obsession with schadenfreude.
Remember when Leftists used to claim, dissent is patriotic? Apparently the neuroscientist doesn’t. That was the case under President George W. Bush. Then Obama was elected, and dissent was suddenly deemed racist. In the 1960s, anti-establishment sentiment was groovy, man. Now, Bobby implies anti-establishment sentiment is associated with issues like mindless trolling and random schadenfreude. If he wants to see mindless trolling, I suggest that he lurk in political Facebook groups.
The Fear Factor: Conservatives Are More Sensitive to Threat
Science has shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening.
That sounds like an interpretation. Is it possible one’s worldview, politics included, affects the interpretation of data? Maybe?
A 2008 study in the journal Science found that conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals.
The super scientific study involved a whopping 46 people. Not 46,000. Not 4600. 46.
A brain-imaging study published in Current Biology revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety.
From Current Biology (emphasis mine):
“Although our data do not determine whether these regions play a causal role in the formation of political attitudes, they converge with previous work to suggest a possible link between brain structure and psychological mechanisms that mediate political attitudes.”
And a 2014 fMRI study found that it is possible to predict whether someone is a liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity while they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies. Specifically, the brains of self-identified conservatives generated more activity overall in response to the disturbing images.
This study involved 83 volunteers. Not 83,000. Not 8300. 83.
“Despite the abstract nature of such sensibilities, fundamental features of political ideology have been found to be deeply connected to basic biological mechanisms that may serve to defend against environmental challenges like contamination and physical threat.”
Is this a matter of being “sensitive” or being better at making survival decisions?
These brain responses are automatic and not influenced by logic or reason. As long as Trump continues to portray Muslims and Hispanic immigrants as imminent threats, many conservative brains will involuntarily light up like light bulbs being controlled by a switch. Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety.
Well allow me to retort. Leftists have used fear to control their followers for literally decades.
“If Republicans win, more black churches will burn! If Republicans win, acid rain will destroy the ecosystem! If Republicans win, the hole in the ozone layer will get worse! If Republicans win, the polar bears will drown! If Republicans win, they’ll put y’all back in chains! If Republicans win, The Handmaid’s Tale will come true! If Republicans win, senior citizens will be reduce to eating dog food! If Republicans win, the U.S. will be a fascist state! If the Republicans win, hate crimes will rise! If Trump wins, the economy will collapse and never recover! If Trump wins, North Korea will nuke us! If Trump wins, the Russians will control America! If Trump wins, he’ll deport brown American citizens! If Trump wins, more children will die in gulags!”
Sound familiar? If conservatives are slaves to brain tissue, then why didn’t they become Democrats?
And when you think you’ve found your protector, you become less concerned with offensive and divisive remarks.
Is that why Democrats ignore racism, sexism, heterophobia, and Christophobia? Because the pied pipers of the Left have triggered their amygdalae?
The Power of Mortality Reminders and Perceived Existential Threat
A well-supported theory from social psychology, known as Terror Management Theory, explains why Trump’s fear mongering is doubly effective. The theory is based on the fact that humans have a unique awareness of their own mortality. The inevitably of one’s death creates existential terror and anxiety that is always residing below the surface. In order to manage this terror, humans adopt cultural worldviews — like religions, political ideologies, and national identities — that act as a buffer by instilling life with meaning and value.
So, telling people that the world is going to end in 10, 12, 14, 20 years… or some number that will be conveniently forgotten when it is proven wrong… that should be a conservative technique, right?
Liberals have their own ideology, Earth is the deity, government is the savior, scientists are the theologians, and politicians and celebrities are the clergy and the missionaries. There is a creation story and a fall from grace. Carbon footprint is sin. Carbon offset credits are indulgences. If one fails to comply, one is excommunicated.
Terror Management Theory predicts that when people are reminded of their own mortality, which happens with fear mongering, they will more strongly defend those who share their worldviews and national or ethnic identity, and act out more aggressively towards those who do not.
Hundreds of studies have supported this hypothesis, and some have specifically shown that triggering thoughts of death tends to shift people towards the right.
Not only do death reminders increase nationalism, they may influence voting habits in favor of more conservative presidential candidates. And more disturbingly, in a study with American students, scientists found that making mortality salient increased support for extreme military interventions by American forces that could kill thousands of civilians overseas. Interestingly, the effect was present only in conservatives.
By constantly emphasizing existential threat, Trump may be creating a psychological condition that makes the brain respond positively rather than negatively to bigoted statements and divisive rhetoric.
Climate panic seems to qualify as fear mongering, as thoughts of death, and as death reminders. Does climate panic affect voting habits?
Are climate alarmists creating a psychological condition that makes the brain respond positively rather than negatively to bigoted statements (about conservatives) and divisive rhetoric. Mark J. Perry collected some interesting apocalyptic claims (emphasis mine).
Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.
The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By… some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.
Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.
Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.
Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”
Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Humans Often Overestimate Their Political Expertise
Some who support Donald Trump are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand.
Some who oppose Donald Trump are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand.
When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it’s ever been, they simply take his word for it.
When anti-Trumpers tell people that hate crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that women’s rights are being taken away, Leftists simply take their word for it.
The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn’t just that they are misinformed; it’s that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed, which creates a double burden.
Bobby has no idea he is suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise.
Bobby doesn’t know he just described himself.
As psychologist David Dunning puts it in an op-ed for Politico, “The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task — and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task. This includes political judgment.” These people cannot be reached because they mistakenly believe they are the ones who should be reaching others.
Go ahead. Take moment to marvel at the monumental lack of self-awareness.
Relative Deprivation — A Misguided Sense of Entitlement
Relative deprivation refers to the experience of being deprived of something to which one believes they are entitled. It is the discontent felt when one compares their position in life to others who they feel are equal or inferior but have unfairly had more success than them.
Bobby just described the foundation of socialist envy, did he not?
Common explanations for Trump’s popularity among non-bigoted voters involve economics. There is no doubt that some Trump supporters are simply angry that American jobs are being lost to Mexico and China, which is certainly understandable, although these loyalists often ignore the fact that some of these careers are actually being lost due to the accelerating pace of automation.
Someone once wrote, “Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise.” Economics is an area of expertise that may Leftists lack; that’s why they advocate socialism.
These Trump supporters are experiencing relative deprivation, and are common among the swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This kind of deprivation is specifically referred to as “relative,” as opposed to “absolute,” because the feeling is often based on a skewed perception of what one is entitled to.
For instance, some people feel entitled to free college, free healthcare, free food, subsidized or free housing, free abortions, free cell phones, and a guaranteed income. That skewed perception belongs to liberals, not conservatives. Where are the studies on this?
Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others
Intergroup contact refers to contact with members of groups that are outside one’s own, which has been experimentally shown to reduce prejudice. As such, it’s important to note that there is growing evidence that Trump’s white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans. For example, a 2016 study found that “…the racial and ethnic isolation of Whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.”
Has anyone run a study to determine if the racial and ethnic isolation of black people or Latinos at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump opposition? If not, why not?
Follow-up question: How much intergroup contact has Bobby had with members of groups outside his own political viewpoint? With the kind of prejudice shown in this article, I’m guessing he doesn’t even have a token friend who is a Trump supporter. Perish the thought.
This correlation persisted while controlling for dozens of other variables. In agreement with this finding, the same researchers found that support for Trump increased with the voters’ physical distance from the Mexican border. These racial biases might be more implicit than explicit, the latter which is addressed in #14.
Really? Here’s a map of the 2016 presidential election. The red counties are pro-Trump. Maybe the researchers got it… what’s the word? Wrong?
Trump’s Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable
While the conspiracy theory crowd — who predominantly support Donald Trump and crackpot allies like Alex Jones and the shadowy QAnon — may appear to just be an odd quirk of modern society, some of them may suffer from psychological illnesses that involve paranoia and delusions, such as schizophrenia, or are at least vulnerable to them, like those with schizotypy personalities.
Here are two of the greatest conspiracy theories of our decade.
The first conspiracy theory is supported not by one radio host or by one individual social media platform, but by instructors across higher education, which is dominated by Leftists. It is the fanciful notion that, at some point, all Republicans and all Democrats simultaneously agreed to switch names. This allows Democrats to blame Republicans for slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, and opposition to civil rights (which Democrats own), while Democrats take credit for Abraham Lincoln, the abolition of slavery, and championing civil rights. It is absurd on the face of it, but, hey fancy degree, right?
The second conspiracy theory has been supported by the vast majority of news outlet, commentators, TV show hosts, and outspoken Leftist politicians. It is the delusion that Trump colluded with the Russian government to steal the election from Her Divine Anointed Majesty, the Most Qualified Candidate to Every Run for Office, She Whose Turn It Is, with a 98% Chance of Being Elected, Hillary Clinton, a Thousand Blessing Be upon Her. This conspiracy theory was so big there were two House investigations, two Senate investigates, and one Department of Justice investigation that took 2 1/2 years and consumed tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Its believers are so firmly entrenched that when no collusion was found, they refused to believe it unless they heard it from Saint Mueller’s lips. When they did hear it from Mueller’s lips, they chose to believe the report said the opposite of what it said.
The link between schizotypy and belief in conspiracy theories is well-established, and a recent study published in the journal Psychiatry Research has demonstrated that it is still very prevalent in the population. The researchers found that those who were more likely to believe in outlandish conspiracy theories, such as the idea that the U.S. government created the AIDS epidemic [this was a Left-wing conspiracy, a fact that undermines his position], consistently scored high on measures of “odd beliefs and magical thinking.” One feature of magical thinking is a tendency to make connections between things that are actually unrelated in reality.
Leftist believe warm weather proves catastrophic, anthropogenic climate change. They also believe cold weather proves catastrophic, anthropogenic climate change.
Leftists believe a man becomes a woman simply by virtue of self-identification, despite all physical evidence. They also believe the only reasonable way for everyone else to behave is to play along with the assertion.
Leftists believe foreign interference in our election is a national crisis (if they can accuse Trump), but they oppose border security and voter ID laws as being racist and un-American.
Donald Trump and media allies target these people directly. All one has to do is visit alt-right websites and discussion boards to see the evidence for such manipulation.
Bobby writes this as though it is Donald Trump who has a vast army of media allies and not the Democrats. He writes as though Democrats don’t target these people directly. All one has to do is visit Left-wing websites and discussion boards to see the evidence for such manipulation. Look at Occupy Democrats or Now This Politics on Facebook, the posts and the comments are cancer.
Trump Taps into the Nation’s Collective Narcissism
Collective narcissism is an unrealistic shared belief in the greatness of one’s national group. It often occurs when a group who believes it represents the ‘true identity’ of a nation — the ‘ingroup,’ in this case White Americans — perceives itself as being disadvantaged compared to outgroups who are getting ahead of them ‘unrightfully.’ This psychological phenomenon is related to relative deprivation (#6).
This is how Democrats see themselves. Bobby won’t realize that, because he is a victim of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, his own Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others, and his participation in Collective Narcissism.
A study published last year in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found a direct link between national collective narcissism and support for Donald Trump. This correlation was discovered by researchers at the University of Warsaw, who surveyed over 400 Americans with a series of questionnaires about political and social beliefs. Where individual narcissism causes aggressiveness toward other individuals, collective narcissism involves negative attitudes and aggression toward ‘outsider’ groups (outgroups), who are perceived as threats.
How many Trump supporters were among the researchers? If the number is low or zero, isn’t it possible, even likely, that Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others tainted the way the survey was composed and interpreted?
Donald Trump exacerbates collective narcissism with his anti-immigrant, anti-elitist, and strongly nationalistic rhetoric.
Leftists exacerbate collective narcissism with their anti-citizen, anti-middle class, and strongly globalist rhetoric.
By referring to his supporters, an overwhelmingly white group, as being “true patriots” or “real Americans,” he promotes a brand of populism that is the epitome of “identity politics,” a term that is usually associated with the political left.
By referring to Trump supporters as an overwhelmingly white group, Leftists like Bobby promote identity politics. It’s comical to see the Democrats claiming that border security, immigration laws, and voter ID laws are un-American and unpatriotic, while claiming open borders and free healthcare are what “true patriots” and “real Americans” want.
Trump does promote a brand of populism. Remember when the Left thought populism was a good thing? That lasted until the people didn’t follow the instructions of their self-identified betters. At least Bobby understands that identity politics is a term associated with the political left.
Left-wing identity politics, as misguided as they may sometimes be, are generally aimed at achieving equality, while the right-wing brand is based on a belief that one nationality or race is superior or entitled to success and wealth for no other reason than identity.
Nonsense. Left-wing identity politics pretend to be aimed at achieving equality, but they focus on blaming their perceived “oppressors” for all manner of wrongs and then demanding reparations and privileges, which will never, ever be considered enough.
Right-wing populism is unconcerned with race. People who adopt American ideals and culture, instead of trying to bend America to accommodate a foreign ideology and culture, are welcome.
Right-wing populism does not say the U.S. is entitled to success and wealth, it promotes the idea that the U.S. *has* success and wealth because of its founding principles and culture. That is why so many people are trying to come here instead of fleeing to a Leftists utopia like Venezuela.
The Desire to Want to Dominate Others
Social dominance orientation (SDO) — which is distinct from but related to authoritarian personality (#13) — refers to people who have a preference for the societal hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones. Those with SDO are typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest.
As opposed to those who are submissive, weak-minded, and driven by group acceptance?
In Trump’s speeches, he appeals to those with SDO by repeatedly making a clear distinction between groups that have a generally higher status in society (White), and those groups that are typically thought of as belonging to a lower status (immigrants and minorities).
Leftists too, it should be pointed out, have distinct hierarchies of status.
A person of color who has a vagina, is Muslim (or anything except Christian), is differently-abled, is mentally ill, is obese, is a little person, and is ugly… is at the top of the Leftists status ladder due to the maximum number of Intersectionality Victim Points and Lack of Privilege. There is a caveat. Any person immediately forfeits all Intersectionality Victim Points by expressing support for Trump or espousing any conservative principles.
By contrast, a white, straight, cisgender, male Christian who supports Trump or espouses any conservative principles is at the bottom of the Leftist status ladder. Such a person is literally a Nazi, so any act of harassment or violence against them is deemed not only acceptable, but heroic.
A 2016 survey study of 406 American adults published last year in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that those who scored high on both SDO and authoritarianism were more likely to vote for Trump in the election.
Is it me or does social dominance orientation seem to equate to winning? What is the neuroscientific term for the opposite of SDO? I theorize that people with anti-SDO tend to bleat a lot about losing, while implying people with SDO have a disorder… which unfairly leads to victory.
Authoritarianism refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom, and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others.
Do authoritarians ban plastic straws and carbonated beverages deemed too large? Do authoritarians seek to infringe on Second Amendment civil rights with the ultimate goal of eliminating them? Do authoritarians establish control over how much water your toilet can flush and what kind of light bulbs you can use? Do authoritarians implement speech codes on campus? Do authoritarians demand, under penalty of law, that a person must provide a service regardless of the person’s conscience? It sure sounds like democrats have Authoritarian Personalities.
Authoritarian personality is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to authority.
Like any federal, state, or local bureaucrat, as long as they are Leftists?
Those with this personality often display aggression toward outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences, and a rigid hierarchical view of society.
Like Antifa members or any mob of Social Justice Warriors?
Authoritarianism is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance.
Fear mongering? Like leaders who tell everyone, every week, that Trump is a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, islamophobic, fascist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, literally Hitler who is going to deport brown citizens, strip away women’s rights, and eat kittens unless he and his ilk are stopped by any means necessary?
Although authoritarian personality is found among liberals…
Oh, you think?
…it is more common among the right-wing around the world. President Trump’s speeches, which are laced with absolutist terms like “losers” and “complete disasters,” are naturally appealing to those with such a personality.
This sounds like something the “non-winners” who produce “outcomes less than marginal success” might bemoan.
While research showed that Republican voters in the U.S. scored higher than Democrats on measures of authoritarianism before Trump emerged on the political scene, a 2016 Politico survey found that high authoritarians greatly favored then-candidate Trump, which led to a correct prediction that he would win the election, despite the polls saying otherwise.
So polls are inaccurate unless they are called, “research,” in which case they are unquestionable science. I would argue polls are flawed regardless of what one calls them, but whatever.
Racism and Bigotry
It would be grossly unfair and inaccurate to say that every one of Trump’s supporters have prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities, but it would be equally inaccurate to say that few do.
I believe Hillary put the figure at half. She was a non-winner in 2016.
The Republican party, going at least as far back to Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy,” has historically used tactics that appealed to bigotry, such as lacing speeches with “dog whistles” — code words that signaled prejudice toward minorities that were designed to be heard by racists but no one else.
The first problem with a dog whistle is: If you can hear it, you’re the dog. The second problem is: It allows the listener to impose meaning that isn’t there. Such interpretation is subjective.
In 2009, the U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, Joe Wilson (R) interrupted a speech by President Obama. Joe Wilson shouted, “You lie!” He apologized for it. Maureen Dowd wrote in The New York Times, “What I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!” Essentially, she recognizes he didn’t actually say it, but she asserts that’s what she heard. I would be interested in hearing how Bobby describes someone who hears things that aren’t there, wouldn’t you?
While the dog whistles of the past were subtler, Trump’s signaling is sometimes shockingly direct. There’s no denying that he routinely appeals to racist and bigoted supporters when he calls Muslims “dangerous”…
Trump did not call all Muslims dangerous. In calling some Muslims dangerous, he is not wrong. To disagree is to willfully ignore facts in favor of political correctness or delusion.
…and Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “murderers,” often in a blanketed fashion.
Trump did not call all Mexicans rapists and murderers. In calling some Mexicans rapists and murderers, he is not wrong.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a recent study has shown that support for Trump is correlated with a standard scale of modern racism.
Was the study developed and executed exclusively by Trump detractors? How many people were included in the study 82? 406? CNN reported that 62,979,879 voted for Trump. If 31,000,000 of them are racists, where were they when Obama was elected… twice?
Doctor Bobby wrote an article stating that Trump supporters are weak-willed, ignorant, greedy, fearful, racists… as compared to free-thinking, informed, generous, fearless, enlightened, liberal Ubermensch. In 2020, such conceited, self-styled paragons of virtue will no doubt be consoling themselves with studies and research explaining how the SDO Cro-Magnons unfairly won, resulting in an “outcome less than marginal success” for Leftists.
The TV character Jonathan Pie has a monologue that addresses this. It’s still funny and valid today.
Tom Walker, who plays Jonathan Pie, discusses the election in a more serious setting.
What do I know? I’m Justa Gaibroh.
LINKS AND REFERENCE
“Bobby Azarian, Ph.D., is a cognitive neuroscientist affiliated with George Mason University and a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, BBC Future, Scientific American, Slate, The Huffington Post, Quartz, and others. His research has been published in journals such as Cognition & Emotion and Human Brain Mapping. Follow him on Twitter @bobbyazarian and visit his website at www.bobbyazarian.com.”