The 2016 American presidential election has been one of the most controversial and widely followed ones and the man at the center of it all has undeniably been Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Despite his partisan, contentious and arguably extreme statements, he enjoys a popularity in the United States that is as scary as it is perplexing. It also makes the possibility of Trump winning the polls very real.
This Vox video explains Trump's profile and his burgeoning popularity through a school of political thought: authoritarianism.
Authoritarianism is characterised emphasis on order and authority, with a distrust for social change and outsiders.
Vox worked with Morning Consult in February 2016 to conduct a study to on a large sample of likely voters. Asking them directly about authoritarianism wouldn't have worked, so they asked them about what values they thought were more important in children instead -
Independence or respect for elders?
Self-reliance or obedience?
Curiosity or good-manners?
Considerate or well-behaved?
The latter of the all of the above options align with authoritarian leanings. And the study found that a majority of Trump supporters picked the second options in this four-question test.
Another study found that authoritarian supporters were much more afraid of threats associated with people (especially foreign people) which is what caused them to rally behind a politician who voiced the same concerns. And since there has been a certain shift towards these concerns among prospective voters, Trump's popularity isn't a fluke, but merely a reflection of what a large number of people in the country want.