The one personality trait that explains why some people love Donald Trump.

I know I said I’d try to avoid any more Trump posts, but I found this really interesting so I’m going to share it here.

Someone asked this question on Quora:

“Why do some people hate Donald Trump and others like him?”

The question was asked on September 24, 2016, before he got elected.

In response, someone posted a study, that came to the following conclusion: the surprising truth is that it isn’t race, income, social class, or even political party that determines whether someone likes Donald Trump or hates him. The answer is level of authoritarian traits. People who score high in authoritarian traits (as opposed to egalitarianism) tend to support Trump. People who score high in egalitarianism tend to dislike Donald Trump.


Why Do Some People Hate Donald Trump and Others Like Him?

Answered by Yegor Tkachenko, MS in Operations Research, Stanford University

Let’s focus not on why Trump is a monster, or on why Trump is a saint, but on why there is such a split in American society in attitudes when it comes to Trump.

To assure everyone that the split exists, the most recent Rasmussen reports survey indicates that there is a 38%-38% match-up between Trump and Hillary if the national election happened now [Trump 38%, Clinton 38%].

As evidenced by many answers to this question, there is a large group of people who believe Trump is a liar, bigot, racist, con-artist, and also not good on foreign policy (on foreign policy, Trump has often avoided details and has offered some radical and not broadly accepted ideas – such as giving nuclear weapons to Japan and South Korea).

This group of the US population would agree that he is completely unpresidential, very offensive, and some might even think he would bring about the end of the world if elected [Introducing the Trump Apocalypse Watch] or could be a new Hitler.

In the eyes of this group, the fact that 38% of voters in the US support Trump might be quite unexplainable, or the explanation is that those voters are uneducated, gullible, racist, bigoted, hate women, hate minorities, or are simply nuts. In contrast, those who oppose Trump, are the sane ones and have seen through his lies.

Trump supporters would largely ignore the accusations of racism. Where the jaws of the Trump opponents drop when they hear Mexicans called criminals, Trump supporters are quick to point out that Trump’s anger overall is directed not at all of Mexicans (as it may often seem from his words), but only at those who are in the US illegally. In such a case, why would someone not condemn the violators of the law?

Trump supporters, while not necessarily believing that the wall between the US and Mexico will be built, find it to be a beautiful symbol and a smart negotiation tactics to force Mexico officials to help crush the drug traffic into the US, whereas Trump opponents ignore the potential benefits of this idea in negotiations and instead focus on how hard it would be to do economically.

When Trump suggests that he could develop good relations with Russia and Putin in particular, Trump opponents are not really impressed (they might view Putin as mainly a journalist murderer [The complicated reality behind Trump’s claim that there’s no proof Putin had journalists killed]).

However, Trump supporters might see in this a chance to finally normalize the relations between 2 leading world powers, which could have immense impact on the world stability (it is true that a lot of progress could be made on many of the world problems if the US and Russia stopped blocking each other’s proposals in the UN security council using their veto rights [Russian vetoes are putting UN security council’s legitimacy at risk, says US, ‘US has been veto champion in UN for decades’ – Chomsky to RT ]).

The list goes on.

The truth is, Trump supporters do not care about offensive language and about the face-value of Trump ideas, and are always able to give a positive twist to what Trump says, focusing not on the details in his words, but on their perceived purpose.

Trump supporters are also enamored by his ability to say what he thinks, even if it offends someone, and by his ability to preserve and accumulate wealth despite multiple setbacks. Trump supporters are attracted to his leadership skills (Trump has employed thousands of people), and the fact that he has so much money (be it 2 bln or 10 bln) that it would be harder for lobbyists to influence him as a President.

Finally, where Trump opponents view Trump presidency as a disaster and the end to the US as we know it, Trump supporters hope for the creative destruction in the government, where Trump won’t have enough power to do real damage to the country because of the limits on executive power, but will be able to stir everything up enough to bring about some change.

As can be seen from the above, neither group is irrational.

One group values civility, respect, politeness above all – and for them Trump is unacceptable.

This group also tends to take Trump’s words literally at their face value and detests the idea that Trump might be saying something that he does not actually think in order to achieve his goals. For this group such behavior is lying.

The group of Trump supporters views economy to be the most important thing for the US and is of the opinion that too much politeness in political discourse leads to groupthink and lack of progress.

Instead, they want more straight talk even if it offends someone – for even if someone is hurt by the words, they can get over it, but at least politicians can start discussing the issues they were afraid to touch before because of the political correctness police.

This group tends to be ok with not taking Trump’s words literally – they understand that a person can say something he does not really think in order to achieve his goal – and in their opinion it is a smart PR strategy. (For example, a claim that President Obama was not born in the US – how much free media has this claim earned Trump? And do you thing Trump really believed it?)

The existence of these 2 camps that view and value things differently explains why there are so many Trump haters and so many Trump fans at the same time.

Neither group is dumb (although there are some not very intelligent individuals in both groups), and each group is quite diverse in terms of age, race, gender, education, and income levels.

Addressing and challenging the views of either of these camps is something campaigns on both sides will have to do to defeat Trump or bring Trump to victory.

4 thoughts on “The one personality trait that explains why some people love Donald Trump.

  1. Wonderful discussion with a conclusion that is right on, but I still feel the need to add a few things outside that box.

    RE: “Trump supporters are quick to point out that [the not-my-president’s] anger overall is directed not at all of Mexicans (as it may often seem from his words), but only at those who are in the US illegally. In such a case, why would someone not condemn the violators of the law?”

    A clear demonstration of confirmation bias: seeing ONLY what supports what one already believes. His words are quiet clear about what he thinks about Mexicans (and others) – as are his tweets. More to the point, they are incendiary. “Illegal” does NOT translate to “rapist” any more than “white male” = same.

    I am more of a “where there’s smoke, let’s go find the fire” type, personally. I supported Hillary, not because her fires were absent, because they were small in comparison to those deliberately set by her opponent, offset by a great many of her accomplishments over her years in office – in stark contrast to her opponent.

    Re: lack of political experience:
    How can that NOT matter? I am not one who believes in reinventing the wheel whenever that wheel needs significant repair. Unlike his business mistakes that allowed for a bankruptcy do-overs and bail-outs, political diplomacy errors will have far more serious consequences – to America and to the world. Especially with a temperament that can kindly be termed “impulsive,” his lack of experience in world politics becomes a danger to us all.

    I firmly believe that if more people would take the time to fact-check (including his business practices and alliances) it would become increasingly difficult to support the man – regardless of one’s degree of either of these qualities.

    RE: the wall —
    ALL walls are “beautiful symbols” of only one concept: separation, i.e., inclusion and exclusion – not so beautiful if you take any time at all to think about it.

    RE: Putin & Russia —
    it will be VERY interesting to see how the latest on the Russian/American connection shakes out. Some might call it Treason? How will supporters rationalize THAT?

    RE: influence potential —
    It is simply ridiculous to assert that his riches put him above influence. Anything that impacts a perceived loss of his fortune as the entire world watches is a lever even more effective!

    RE: “shaking things up by his willingness to “say what he thinks” —
    For someone in public office to say things HE doesn’t even believe are true (or knows for a fact they are not) is not only disturbing, it violates libel and/or slander legislation. Only someone who believes that s/he is above the law would do so – NO end justifies illegal means from public officials. While you can probably find evidence of same in most if not all politicians, to SUPPORT any of them *for* that reason is simply irrational.

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t disagree with your points here. The study is interesting but I don’t agree 100% with the conclusions. I think there are many facets and factor, authoritarianism being just one, but it may be more important than previously thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, thank you for posting this! While I don’t agree with everything either, it does help me understand where some of the Trump supporters are coming from. I am definitely anti-authoritarian, lol. I’ve rebelled against it all my life. So that explains my knee-jerk distaste for the Donald. Ugh. I need that machine that prints and burns his asinine tweets and dumps them in an ashtray. Love it.


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