Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Purity, Disgust and Donald Trump

Thomas B. Edsall
JAN. 6, 2016

What has Donald Trump tapped into that other Republican candidates are missing? I posed this question to some of my best sources.

Jonathan Haidt, the author of “The Righteous Mind,” emailed me his response.

Many American voters, Haidt wrote,
perceive that the moral order is falling apart, the country is losing its coherence and cohesiveness, diversity is rising, and our leadership seems to be suspect or not up to the needs of the hour. It’s as though a button is pushed on their forehead that says “in case of moral threat, lock down the borders, kick out those who are different, and punish those who are morally deviant.”
Haidt, a professor at N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business, argues that Trump
is not a conservative, and is not appealing to classical conservative ideas. He is an authoritarian, who is profiting from the chaos in Washington, Syria, Paris, San Bernardino, and even the chaos on campuses, which are creating a more authoritarian electorate in the Republican primaries.
In other words, the segment of the electorate drawn to Trump is especially receptive to mobilization at times of perceived disorder — of a belief in looming external threats, from the Islamic State to Syrian refugees to illegal immigration from Latin America.

(More here.)

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