Trump’s Leverage: Study Links White American Intolerance With Support For Authoritarianism


By Noah Berlatsky
NBC News (5/27/18)

Since the founding of the United States, politicians and pundits have warned that partisanship is a danger to democracy. George Washington, in his Farewell Address, worried that political parties, or factions, could “allow cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” to rise to power and subvert democracy. More recently, many political observers are concerned that increasing political polarization on left and right makes compromise impossible, and leads to the destruction of democratic norms and institutions.

A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather the hardening of one particular political ideology. Political scientists Steven V. Miller of Clemson and Nicholas T. Davis of Texas A&M have released a working paper titled “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy.” Their study finds a correlation between white American’s intolerance, and support for authoritarian rule. In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.

When intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy. 

Miller and Davis used information from the World Values Survey, a research project organized by a worldwide network of social scientists which polls individuals in numerous countries on a wide range of beliefs and values. Based on surveys from the United States, the authors found that white people who did not want to have immigrants or people of different races living next door to them were more likely to be supportive of authoritarianism. For instance, people who said they did not want to live next door to immigrants or to people of another race were more supportive of the idea of military rule, or of a strongman-type leader who could ignore legislatures and election results.

The World Values Survey data used is from the period 1995 to 2011 — well before Donald Trump’s 2016 run for president. It suggests, though, that Trump’s bigotry and his authoritarianism are not separate problems, but are intertwined. When Trump calls Mexicans “rapists,” and when he praises authoritarian leaders, he is appealing to the same voters. …

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(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )


Whitopia: My Road Trip Through The Whitest Towns In America 

TED Talks (8/11/15)

As America becomes more and more multicultural, Rich Benjamin noticed a phenomenon: Some communities were actually getting less diverse. So he got out a map, found the whitest towns in the USA — and moved in. In this funny, honest, human talk, he shares what he learned as a black man in Whitopia.

Link to 13-Minute Video


Police Are Being Used To Exclude Black People From Public Places

By Leila Fadel
NPR (5/29/18)

It’s happening more: minorities are deemed suspicious by a white person who then calls police. Experts say that echoes a past that excluded blacks from public spaces but now it’s done with police.

Link to 5-Minute Audio


Watch ABC Kick Off Pitch To Advertisers With Jokes About Roseanne’s Racist & Offensive Tweet History

Two weeks ago, Roseanne’s bigoted, conspiratorial tweets were feature of a corporate laugh riot.

By Judd Legum
ThinkProgress (5/29/18)

On Tuesday, ABC canceled the sitcom Roseanne after the show’s titular star tweeted that former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett reminder her of an ape. The network said that Barr’s racist tweet was “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

But just two weeks ago in New York City, top ABC brass had a much different take on Roseanne Barr’s Twitter account. The network launched its pitch to advertisers, called “upfronts,” with a series of jokes about Barr’s incendiary tweets. …

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