John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse write: Donald Trump’s candidacy – or more to the point, his substantial and sustained public support — has surprised almost every observer of American politics. Social scientists and pundits note that Trump appeals to populists, nativists, ethnocentrists, anti-intellectuals and authoritarians, not to mention angry and disaffected white males with little education.
But few have noticed another side of Trump’s supporters. A surprising number of Americans feel dismissive about such core features of democratic government as deliberation, compromise and decision-making by elected, accountable officials. They believe that governing is (or should be) simple, and best undertaken by a few smart, capable people who are not overtly self-interested and can solve challenging issues without boring discussions and unsatisfying compromises.
Because that’s just what Trump promises, his candidacy is attracting those who think someone should just walk in and get it done. His message is that our country’s problems are straightforward. All we need is to get “great people, really great people” to solve them. No muss, no fuss, no need to hear or take seriously opposing viewpoints. Trump’s straight-talking, unfiltered, shoot-from-the-hip style promises a leader who will take action – instead of working toward a consensus among competing interests. That sounds perfect to the millions of Americans who are just as impatient with standard democratic procedures. [Continue reading…]