Teri Kanefield
+ Your AuthorsArchive @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (UC Berkeley) My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ NBC News Opinion contributor Impeachment notes: impeachment-trump.com/ Mar. 11, 2019 4 min read

(Thread) It’s all about race

I started reading this book & got stuck in the preface, where the author explains why Trump won. He says this👇

It seems to me that these concerns can’t be economic: Those in Trump’s base who aren’t wealthy vote against their own economic interests.

1/ The author of this WaPo article on Trump's demagoguery says this👇 https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/yes-trump-is-undignified-demagogues-have-to-be/2019/03/08/bd8d8d9c-4109-11e9-a0d3-1210e58a94cf_story.html?utm_term=.b2765feb019b 
OK, so. What precisely are the frustrations of millions of people that Trump understands so well?

Here’s a roundup of scholars on the issue showing that it's all about race.

2/ Hahl, Kim, & Sivan, in “The Authentic Appeal of the Lying Demagogue,” discuss a “a crisis of legitimacy.”

A “crisis of legitimacy” happens when people don’t think the government governs on their behalf.

Article here:  http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/attach/journals/feb18asrfeature.pdf 

3/ This occurs when they think the “political establishment is favoring new social groups over established groups.”

From @jasonintrator👇 those on the far right end of the political spectrum (lets call them right wing authoritarians or RWAs) believe nature favors a hierarchy.

4/ When out-groups (minorities) seek equality, RWAs believe this means displacing them.

This is why the GOP present themselves as victims.

In the words of Harvard Profs. Levitsky and Ziblatt 👇 “Ethnic majorities do not give up their dominant status without a fight.”

5/ The best explanation I’ve seen for Trump’s rise to power is described by profs. @JonHaidt (NYU) and Stenner (Princeton) in their essay, “Authoritarianism is Not a Momentary Madness, but an Eternal Dynamic within Liberal Democracies” in this book👇

6/ An “authoritarian dynamic” occurs when a person with an “authoritarian disposition” is faced with a “normative threat.”

A "normative threat" is a perceived threat, even though there've been no hostile acts or outward reasons for fear.

7/ Those with “authoritarian dispositions” are averse to complexity & diversity, and have a bias against different others (minorities, refugees, ‘deviants,’ etc.)

When faced with a normative threat, those with authoritarian dispositions (or RWAs) have a powerful reaction.

8/ They become fearful and angry. They can be violent, and tolerate cruelty to others.

Fear of immigrants isn't fear of lost jobs. It's a discomfort with people who are different.

The dynamic occurs because liberal democracy (see definition👇) naturally becomes more diverse.

9/ Liberalism, for example, seeks to expand voting rights to all people, which creates diversity. (Liberal means broadminded, so liberals by definition are open and inclusive.)

The growing diversity triggers fears in authoritarian persons, creating backlash. Hence, a cycle.

10/ Thus, according to the authors, Trump happened because liberal democracy in America exceeded many people’s capacity to tolerate it.

So my first thought is: "What the heck? So liberals are at fault? What are we supposed to do, coddle them?"

Well, maybe. Stick with me here.

11/ Before the Civil Rights and women’s movement, power was concentrated in the hands of white men.

From the early 20th century until about 1955 (Brown v Board) the two parties were relatively civil to each other. Both abided by democratic norms.

Why all the harmony?

12/ Because they weren’t that different! Both parties were controlled by white men.

Then came the 50s & 60s.
The electorate expanded, diversity grew, the RWAs grew fearful, and the conditions ripened for a demagogue. Trump had a few warmup acts.

13/ Historian Richard Hofstadter, in his classic work👇 explained that “status anxiety” and “overaggressive” politics occurs when a dominant group feels an “existential threat" (fear of losing dominant status)

It’s not like Trump and pals hide their feelings about diversity.

14/ Remember Tucker Carlsons “anti-diversity” rant?  https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2018/09/10/face-it-tucker-carlson-your-anti-diversity-segment-was-racist/?utm_term=.56e92f31cc89 

Ann Coulton doesn’t like immigrants.  https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2015/06/03/ann-coulter-it-s-not-just-illegal-immigration-that-s-the-problem-it-s-all-immigration 

Katie Hopkins praises Russia as being “untouched by the myth of cultural multiculturalism and deranged diversity,”  https://www.rt.com/uk/429777-katie-hopkins-russia-multiculturalism/ 

15/ If the “concerns” of those millions who feel “left out” are about race and diversity, easy to see why liberal elites weren't addressing their concerns.

The liberals were trying to create more diversity, thus working hard to create the very conditions that upset the RWAs.

16/ This brings me to the work of psychologist @karen_stenner, who has contributed much to the scholarship on RWA personality.
From her website👇
1/3 of the population will always have a fear of diversity.

17/ She says, “Democracy is most secure, and tolerance maximized, when we design systems to accommodate how people actually are. Because some people will never live comfortably in a modern liberal democracy.”

What do we do if they're made that way? (Or molded and can't change?)

18/ All of this means, I suppose, that liberals—while creating the conditions allowing diversity to flourish—must also find ways to address the fears of those who cannot tolerate diversity.

Otherwise, there will always be another Trump around the corner.

I agree. I'll read more Karen Stenner and report back. Her work may be in-progress and not available yet. (It may take me a while to get back to this question. I have a feeling there will be lots of legal docs to read soon.
Me = legal doc reading nerd)

Adding this:
I went through the same thought process.
Maybe: Someone has to be the adult in the room?
Maybe there's something to this logic: diversity means accepting differences, including these.

Remember, folks: I'm just reporting what scholars say😉

All of my threads are now blogposts. You can view this one here:  https://terikanefield-blog.com/its-all-about-race-and-diversity/ 

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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