The Rise of American Authoritarianism — Trump-Style Politics and What it Means for the Future of the America

The Rise of Trump-Style Politics and What it Means for the Future of America

14th March 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

If you’re anything like me, you’re absolutely baffled by the ascent of Donald Trump as the front-runner Republican candidate. It’s nothing short of astonishing. While moderate Americans shake their heads in confusion about this state of affairs, or brush it off as some kind of surreal entertainment that doesn’t need to be taken seriously, a group of political and social researchers have found the situation is far more dangerous than the average person can imagine.

Writes Amanda Taub in The rise of American authoritarianism“Perhaps strangest of all, it wasn’t just Trump but his supporters who seemed to have come out of nowhere, suddenly expressing, in large numbers, ideas far more extreme than anything that has risen to such popularity in recent memory. In South Carolina, a CBS News exit poll found that 75 percent of Republican voters supported banning Muslims from the United States. A PPP poll found that a third of Trump voters support banning gays and lesbians from the country. Twenty percent said Lincoln shouldn’t have freed the slaves.”

If this doesn’t shock American’s out of their complacency regarding the direction of the United States, nothing will. The political landscape of the U.S. is rapidly changing — to one that is based on extreme fear, xenophobia and aggression. And this is only the beginning.

George Orwell’s “1984″ Wasn’t Meant to be an Instruction Manual

I often wonder if the dystopian novel “1984″ is still taught in American high schools. I remember reading it during my own youth and distinctly recall being horrified about the implications of perpetual war, all-pervasive government surveillance and public manipulation presented throughout the book. Even more disturbing was the persecution of individuality and independent thinkers, who would squarely earn “thoughtcrime” status in this bizarre new world. But denial can run strong, especially in teenagers. While I recognized the terrifying ramifications of such ideas, I never thought it could happen in the United States — until I reached adulthood. Trump supporters are a perfect example of how the public can be manipulated in such a way that we are overrun by a mass of nonlogical, emotionally triggered and easily brainwashed political lackeys.

Trump’s rise is puzzling on many levels since it crosses a wide-range of demographic lines — including education, income, age, ethnicity and religion. A case in point is a Latino woman on Fox news, claiming Trump is the ideal candidate to represent the U.S. and her ethnic group. The ideal candidate? The same man who claims he will build a massive wall between Mexico and the United States — to keep Mexican migrants out, who he feels are nothing more than rapists and criminals? And he will make Mexico foot the bill? How have we fallen so far down into the rabbit hole of stupidity that people take an idea like this seriously? In one word: authoritarianism.

The Rise of Trump-Style Politics - and What it Means for the Future of America - Rev. Martin Neimoller quote on Nazi Germany

Desire for Order and Fear of Outsiders

Matthew MacWilliams, a Ph.D student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, thinks he may have solved the mystery of why Trump has shot through the ranks. MacWilliams sole area of focus is on authoritarianism — a psychological profile of voters who have a high need for order and fear outsiders. When these people feel threatened, they seek strong leaders that promise to go to any length in order to protect the populace from outsiders — and prevent the changes they fear.

“He polled a large sample of likely voters, looking for correlations between support for Trump and views that align with authoritarianism. What he found was astonishing: Not only did authoritarianism correlate, but it seemed to predict support for Trump more reliably than virtually any other indicator. He later repeated the same poll in South Carolina, shortly before the primary there, and found the same results.” [source]

MacWilliams isn’t the only one who came to this conclusion. Political scientists Marc Hetherington, from Vanderbilt University, and Jonathan Weiler, from the University of North Carolina, basically foresaw Trump’s ascent back in 2009. Through their research of experiments and data analysis, they found the drive behind American politics wasn’t so much fueled through manipulation or money, but from a large electoral group of authoritarians. You can read more about their findings in “Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics.”

“At the time, even Hetherington and Weiler did not realize the explosive implications: that their theory, when followed to its natural conclusion, predicted a looming and dramatic transformation of American politics. But looking back now, the ramifications of their research seem disturbingly clear.

“Authoritarians are thought to express much deeper fears than the rest of the electorate, to seek the imposition of order where they perceive dangerous change, and to desire a strong leader who will defeat those fears with force. They would thus seek a candidate who promised these things. And the extreme nature of authoritarians’ fears, and of their desire to challenge threats with force, would lead them toward a candidate whose temperament was totally unlike anything we usually see in American politics — and whose policies went far beyond the acceptable norms.

“A candidate like Donald Trump.” [source]

The Rise of Trump-Style Politics and What it Means for the Future of America

However, Trump is just a symptom of a bigger problem, which has far-reaching consequences for the United States. According to researcher Karen Stenner, there is a certain sector of the population who possess dormant authoritarian tendencies. When the circumstances are right, these tendencies can be triggered if the person perceives uncomfortable social change or physical threats to their well-being. When this happens, they gravitate toward authoritarian leaders and policies. A cursory glance at our economic upheaval, instability in the Middle East, attacks like 911 and a hard-hit white working class, and it’s not far of a stretch to see how we’ve arrived at this point in political history.

“… by awakening this authoritarian class of voters that has coalesced around Trump, [they] have created what is essentially a new political party within the GOP — a phenomenon that broke into public view with the 2016 election but will persist long after it has ended.”

According to recent data, 44% of white respondents across the U.S scored as “high” or “very high” authoritarians. Let that sink in for a minute. Almost half of the American population polled are high level authoritarians. And 65% are GOP voters — the “law and order” political platform. When we dig deeper into the results, and look at how Republican politicians — and media outlets like Fox News — have systematically conditioned their followers to believe the world is a dangerous place, along with claiming democrats haven’t done enough to keep Americans safe, it’s no wonder the “panic button” for authoritarians is triggered now like no other time in history. Ultimately authoritarians “are most willing to want to use force, to crack down on immigration, and limit civil liberties.” What an exceptionally powerful tool for those with a political agenda to exploit.

As long as we have a large population of people who value order and conformity over independence, self-reliance and diversity — coupled with an unpredictable world and (whether real or manufactured) fear-inspiring events — the trigger for authoritarian Americans will forever be looming and influencing the political landscape, along with our way of life. If we’re not careful, this will ultimately give rise to living Orwell’s doublespeak nightmare of “War is Peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

Some would say we are already there.

Article sources

About the author:

Carolanne WrightCarolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years.

Through her website, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision.

You can also follow Carolanne on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Further reading from Carolanne Wright:


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  • bumpercrop

    Oh and Carolanne Wright, you think the Democrats are the party for civil liberties?
    Ah, I think it was Obama who signed the NDAA. You know the legislation which dismantled historic Posse Comittatus, amongst other disastrous, resulting laws such as holding Americans indefinitely w/o charging them with a crime. Perhaps you still think all of these shooting events were really pulled off by a “lone gunman”. It is the Democrats who are aggressively pushing for gun control,
    which defies the constitution, and is in par with disarming the American
    public. Sounds pretty “authoritarian” to me. Just like all the other former tyrannical,
    “authoritarian” regimes throughout history, who disarmed the public. If you remember it was the Democrats who gave the deciding vote to fast-track the Obama supported disastrous TPP “trade” agreement,

    which will essentially gut the rest of our economy and destroy national sovereignty, not just for the US, but all countries involved. Following the tradition of another Democrat president (Clinton) who signed another disastrous “trade agreement” known as NAFTA. And it is the Democrats who helped push through the “DARK Act” in the House of Representatives, which will essentially allow big Agra Monsanto and Co, from ever placing GMO labels on their “foods”. Sounds pretty “authoritarian” to me.

    And it is the Democrats who supported ObamaCare, essentially a TAX paid yearly, if you don’t purchase expensive, BS health plans with huge annual deductions, before service even begins. I don’t see the Democrats speaking out against the military-industrial-complex and their endless wars, nor do I see them willing to take on the banksters. Sounds pretty “authoritarian” to me. Here is an article on the phoney Sander’s and his senate voting record, clearly showing he is a liar, and votes consistently with the war machine.

    And it was Obama, a Democrat, who has given final approval for dramatically raising
    permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following
    “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents. (Fukushima) a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its
    proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S
    population. Once again, sounds pretty “authoritarian” to me.

    Just curious, do you watch TV talking heads political analysis, listen to NPR, and read the Huffington Post?
    Please, if you are going to blast those on the Republican side, make sure you give “equal

    opportunity” to the evil done on the Democrat side. BOTH parties are corrupted, and I see NO concerted effort on EITHER side to make the necessary corrections to restore some semblance of a republic. At least Trump is shaking things up, could be staged, but at least there is some action of dissent. Thanks.

    • Carolanne Wright

      I don’t agree with any party — there is a far deeper issue at hand here. Both are a problem. But I believe Trump especially represents a wake-up call for this country. If we are not careful, we will travel the path of a totalitarian regime. I for one find that unacceptable.

  • gnost11

    Most people don’t know the history behind what is happening in American politics. Perhaps a short summary of the effects of actions taken in the past and how it is effecting today,s world is a good start. Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the constitution fro the united states of America and bill of rights, there were those in the world whose interests and plans for world domination would be greatly hindered if not stopped completely, by a nation of sovereign beings. I think by that description, you all would guess that those interests would be world monarchies, and you would be correct! One of the things many have a problem with, usually for religious reasons, is who those ‘royal bloodlines’ are. It takes much self searching and fact finding for many to come to terms about the reality of Rome! The Vatican is peopled by those of the ‘bloodline’, who were ‘lower ranking’ and didn’t get to become a monarch. They use esoteric knowledge (or should I say misuse) to create their balance and power. With the power of 3, they are The Vatican, The City of London, and Washington D.C. Their law is the admiralty law, or the maritime law of the sea. They have a separate constiiution and over time maneuvered their chess pieces on the board to finally, and secretly replace the origional constitution with their corporate constitution around (?)1871 ish. There, right there is the beginning to today’s corruption in government and law. You see the law of the land and of the people is the common law. The law of the sea is the maritime admiralty law.. That’s why petitions, outraged citizen find no redress of grievance! Since most people don’t understand this, their rights are taken, they are considered by the admiralty law to be (and this is no joke) lost at sea!! Declared dead.Their courtroom is identified by the US flag bordered in gold. Their law is supposed to only apply to commercial enterprise, not the people. Legally common law trumps maritime law. They do not want people to know or understand this. Using deception, they throw families out of their homes and not knowing their history and their laws and rights, the people do not protect themselves

    They maintain their power through their knowledge of esoteric mysteries which were stolen from the europeans. Their histories, knowledge and lore now reside in the vatican archives.. Anyone who received an education in the western world got their information from the victors of a dark age. The dark ages were brought about purposefully by the powers that be to do a cleansing of all previous knowledge. An entire race of people were ‘mind wiped’, and reprogrammed. This is what I call the matrix. Think about it. How did a race of people land on one side of a continent, occupied by a race of sentient beings, and systematically and methodically kill all living things in it’s path! Organized religion taught them that since they didn’t belong to the same religion, it was justified to move them out of they, because they didn’t have souls!

    This esoteric knowledge requires for them to remain in power, that they keep balance. Since they have systematically tried to stomp out the divine feminine, their balance requires they keep that queen on the throne. The above mentioned information is factual and can be verified, however this next part of my tale, requires that I tell you is only my best guess at the Trump/Clinton debacle. I have heard rumors that the queen is dead, or is dying. If that is the case, they will need a female to balance their power. That female would be clinton. She is of the bloodline. We all know our elections are rigged. They have been caught so many times . The use of electronic voting machines were found to be the culprit every time! However, no one is ever ‘busted, and the machines (the same machines) are still used! It is the “Crown Corporation’s” (the three cities) greatest wish to get clinton elected. To continue their plans. Trump, being one of their workers, is handing the presidency to clinton with his insane rants, he is sure to send voters from out of the woodwork to vote for clinton. This is how they “herd” the masses.

    Any candidate that makes it on the ticket, is employed by the Crown corporation. They follow orders. They swear an oath to support the corporate constitution, not ours. That is how it works. Anyone wanting to find out more about these kinds of things look up Jordan Maxwell. A brilliant mind!

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    Why tunnel vision on Trump only? Bernie (such a cute name) Sanders is riding high on his judaically inspired power trip as well. And that demon Hillary? Wow! Most people crave authority over themselves because it absolves them from the necessity of dealing with hard questions on their own. That’s why religion has persisted so well since mankind started to live within socially organized groups.

    • Carolanne Wright

      I don’t support any of the candidates — or our current disaster of a government for that matter. But I do think Trump is especially dangerous because he promotes a particular form of hatred and capitalizes on people’s fears. Bernie certainly has his own issues, but he is not authoritarian, which is the main focus of the article.

  • warbaby

    The last forty years that the people have endured with a govt like we have had is why Trump is so popular. Dirty water, food, medicine, and no respect for what the American people want has got us where we are.
    We need to get rid of the politicians who’s goals are money orientated has brought this country to it’s knees.
    Goddamn them!!!

    • Carolanne Wright

      I understand. The country is a mess. But we have to remember totalitarian regimes and fascist states are founded on fear and hatred of the “other.” History has shown this far too many times. We need to find another way besides totalitarianism to repair America.

  • bug schnide

    We are all sick of politicians, and political correctness games and lies, What a bunch of crooks !! Trump offers something better, Honesty, that hasn’t been seen since JFK, God bless

    • Carolanne Wright

      Please see my post below under “warbaby.”

  • jupe77

    “Americans” not “American’s”

    “9/11” not “911”

    Courtesy of the Grammar Police 😉

  • Carolanne Wright


  • Carolanne Wright

    Please see my post below under “warbaby.”