Tom Jacobs writes: When Donald Trump emerged as a serious candidate, his supporters were widely described as working-class white men who were hurting economically. When word emerged that most are actually doing surprisingly well, the need for a more accurate profile became clear.
Such a portrait has just been published, and it suggests attitude, not income, is the common denominator among Trump supporters.
In short, they tend to be anti-intellectual, scornful of authority figures, and deeply mistrustful of perceived outsiders.
“Trump’s supporters are distinctive in their unique combination of anti-expertise, anti-elitism, and pro-nationalist sentiments,” political scientists J. Eric Oliver and Wendy Rahn write in the Annals of the American Association of Political and Social Science. “Trump’s supporters are also distinctive in their high levels of conspiratorial thinking, nativism, and economic insecurity.”
In a word, they embody populism, the belief that a self-serving elite has accumulated too much power. “The year 2016 is indeed the year of the populist,” the researchers write, “and Donald Trump is its apotheosis.” [Continue reading…]