Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prof. Jonathan Weiler: Contemporary Republicans Appeal To Authoritarian Personalities

Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks interviews Jonathan Weiler, professor of international studies at UNC Chapel Hill and author, with Marc Hetherington, of "Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics" (2009). According to the authors' statistical models, the best predictor regarding whether one is a Republican or Democrat is one's score on the authoritarian personality scale. Authoritarian personalities see the world in black-and-white, whereas non-authoritarians favor nuance (a word the GOP used to criticize Kerry in 2004). The Republican appeal to authoritarianism started in the 1960s, when the party focused on race, feminism and gay rights. Ultimately, authoritarians are driven by a desire for order and fear of change–and Republicans have been using this fear as a political tactic. Whether they can continue to alienate Hispanics after alienating African Americans and win future elections in a demographically changing America is questionable. Weiler concludes by stating that the Obama administration misread the political climate in its quest for bipartisanship. Listen:

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