What Ails the Right Isn’t (Just) Racism

Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic:

I concur that Trump, as surely as Lee Atwater, marshals racist tropes. But I doubt the last claim: “Instrumental racists” believe that voters will perhaps respond only to racism. And I doubt that voters, in fact, respond only to racism. Something distinct and deeper is at work. This deeper force explains nearly all of Trump’s most odious and irresponsible comments, not just the racist ones. It helps explain why so many conservatives and Republicans were caught off guard by Trump’s rise and the resonance of his bigotry. And it helps clarify what the left sees and doesn’t see about racism. Once leftists understand it, they will find it easier to defeat the identitarian right.

No one better anticipated today’s societal divisions than the political psychologist Karen Stenner, author of the 2005 book The Authoritarian Dynamic. The book built on research literature that distinguishes between “authoritarians,” who prize what Stenner calls “oneness and sameness” so much so that they are prone to support coercion to effect it, and “libertarians,” who not only defend but affirmatively prize diversity and difference. (Those labels are not to be conflated with the popular definitions of the terms.)

More here.

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