Trump and Social Dominance

Valentino, Wayne, Oceno (2018) Mobilizing Sexism: Emotion and Gender in Attitudes in 2016 Election. Public Opinion Quarterly, 82, 213-235.
Do those who react to threats primarily with anger or fear subsequently make different political choices?

Sexism significantly drove vote choice in the 2016 presidential election much more strongly than in previous presidential elections, as others have begun to find (Schaffner, MacWilliams, and Nteta forthcoming).It is impossible to be certain whether Clinton’s gender and political platform or Trump’s rhetoric drove sexism’s influence most. However, the results presented below suggest Trump’s campaign was integral. 

Support for Obama over Clinton during the 2008 primary was not significantly linked to sexism, ceteris paribus (Tesler and Sears 2010).

A more common explanation for Trump’s success was that he used fear appeals involving economic stagnation, immigration, and national security to powerfully mobilize support among those high in authoritarianism (MacWilliams 2016ab). #EconomicAnxiety

Many suspected that anxiety, springing from economic insecurity and the shifting demographic and social structure in America, played a substantial role (Cramer 2016). #EconomicAnxiety

Trump preyed on the economic concerns of working- and lower-middle-class white voters by identifying commonly scapegoated groups: immigrants, African Americans, Mexicans, and Muslims (MacWilliams 2016 ab). These threats to traditional social norms and group hierarchies #SocialDominance were most critical for activating the authoritarian personality (Feldman and Stenner 1997Stenner 2005Hetherington and Weiler 2009), thereby driving up support for leaders intent on protecting the nation’s socio-political status quo. In sum, these theories suggest that those high in authoritarianism, exposed to threats to status quo social norms by stigmatized outgroups, supported the populist candidate Donald Trump.

Fear leads voters, on balance, to avoid risks (Lerner and Keltner 2001), including untested policies and inexperienced candidates (Huddy et al. 2005). #EconomicAnxiety

so maybe while they are saying these authoritiarians who voted for trump were doing it because their anger–not fear–was driving their sexism against hillary and towards trump
And maybe we can be like, well perhaps they’re not authoritarians, but socially dominant?

In June 2016, a representative sample of 716 US adults was interviewed via GfK-Knowledge Networks (KN). KN operates a large national probability-based panel, using address-based sampling to cover approximately 97 percent of US households

  • Ideology and partisanship were assessed using standard ANES question wording.
  • Authoritarianism was measured with a four-item childrearing preferences scale developed and validated by Feldman and Stenner (1997).
  • An abbreviated version of the hostile sexism subscale of the ASI from Glick and Fiske (1996) tapped gender attitudes.
  • Ethnocentrism—the preference for one’s ethnic group over others. These questions were adapted from Bizumic and Duckitt’s (2008) ethnocentrism inventory

Results: In the late primary period of June 2016, sexism was strongly associated with support for Trump. Ethnocentrism was equally strong among whites, while authoritarianism was simply not the most important force at that moment.

Method: ANES from 04, 08, 12, & 16

Results: Sexism is powerfully associated with the vote in the 2016 election, for the first time in at least several elections, above and beyond the impact of other typically influential political predispositions and demographic characteristics.

Just an aside, this is good language: The prevailing narrative held that anxiety in reaction to a variety of threats discussed during the campaign may have pushed authoritarians and other voters with negative outgroup attitudes to support Trump. However, existing theory suggests that anxiety will instead trigger risk-avoidance and new information seeking in the political realm. 

Method: MTurk sample (white), incidential task to induce anger, fear, or relaxation (Banks and Valentino). Then- how much do u support each republican candidate & their voting intentions

Results: – Fear substantially reduced the impact of sexism on support for Trump
-Sexism’s predictive power was increased only slightly, and not significantly in the statistical sense, in the anger condition compared to the control
– Anxiety drives support for Trump down among those high in sexism compared to those in either the control or anger conditions, while it has little impact on those very low in sexism.14
– The association between Trump evaluations and authoritarianism was again relatively small in this study, and neither anger (b5 = .02, p = NS) nor fear (b4 = –.07, p = NS) altered this linkage. So…. social dominance, right?
– Sexism was significantly correlated with support for Trump, but not with any other Republican candidate in the race.
so can we use this paper as a template and look at social dominance (aka racism) instead of sexism?

Crowson, H.M. & Brandes, J.A. (2017). Differentiation between DT and HC voters using facets of RWA and SDO: A Brief Report. Psychological Reports, 120(3), 364-373.

We sought to test the discriminant validity of SDO-Dominance and SDO-Anti-egalitarianism in predicting voting intetion for DT or HC. Hypotheses: SDO-D = Pro Trump. SDO-AE = Anti Clinton. Sample was mostly white women. Results: SDO-AE = Pro Trump. SDO-D = nonsignificant.

Choma, B.L. & Hanoch, Y. (2017). Cognitive ability adn authoritarianism: Understanding support for Trump and Clinton. Personality and Individual Differences, 106, 287-291.

Authoritarianism explains Trump support over and above key demographics like age, gender, education, religion, income, and political identification. (Macwilliams 2016).

Poll showed that Trump supporters are higher on authoritarianism than Clinton supporters (Rahn and Oliver 2016).

In psychology, RWA and SDO are the most popular indices of authoritarianism, measured with comprehensive scales comprising items on a range of attitudes (Duckitt, 2001). Correlations between RWA and SDO range from weak to stronger than 0.60 (Altemeyer, 1998; Roccato & Ricolfi, 2005). Factors including the strength of ideological contrast of a particular context affect the strength of the association between RWA and SDO (Roccato & Ricolfi, 2005). The more complex the political axes of a certian country, the lower the correlation. Therefore, RWA and SDO are distinguishable concepts that captrue unique types of authoritarianism.

In explaining support for Trump, drawing on the Dual Process Model, those higher (vs. lower) in RWA and SDO might endorse Trump because he resonates with RWAs fear of socially threatening groups and SDOs disdain of inferior groups.

The present research investigated whether RWA and SDO uniquely predict Trump support in a sample of American adults. Whether voting intentions for Hillary Clinton could be attributed to lower RWA and SDO was also tested.

Method: Mostly white MTurk sample. Measures: Cognitive ability, RWA, old SDO, Trump attitudes, voting intentions, party affiliation

Results: RWA and SDO significantly predict favorable Trump attitudes with equal strength.  RWA and SDO positively predict intentions to vote for trump- again, equally. Relation between ideological beliefs and favorable trump attitudes/intention to vote for Trump was predicted in part by lower cognitive ability.

Takeaways: Using comprehensive indices of authoritarianism (i.e., measures of RWA and SDO), the present study confirms that endorsing authoritarian ideology predicts favorable Trump attitudes and intentions to vote for Trump in the U.S. Presidential election. Specifically, greater endorsement of RWA (the aspect of authoritarianism specific to obedience and respect of authorities and punishment of those who violate social conventions) and SDO (the aspect of authoritarianism specific to preferring hierarchical intergroup relations) uniquely predicted more positive evaluations of Trump and a greater desire to vote for him.

Critically, RWA and SDO significantly predicted Trump support and voting intentions, even controlling for party affiliation. Furthermore, our results indicate that both ideological beliefs exert similar effects on Trump support and voting intentions. These findings are consistent with the dual process model (Duckitt, 2001; Duckitt & Sibley, 2009) and the notion that RWA and SDO, although distinct and independent, uniquely predict similar outcomes, and likely do so for different reasons. Hence, Trump likely appeals to a wide range of authoritarian positions.



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