(Thread) Understanding GOP-Trump-Putin love

🙋‍♀️ Oh, pick me! @MarkSZaidEsq !

I can answer your question about why Trump remains so popular with the GOP.

Richard Hofstadter, in his classic work The Paranoid Style in American Politics, offers one of the best answers. twitter.com/MarkSZaidEsq/s…
1/ Richard Hofstadter (historian)surveyed history from the founding of the nation through McCarthyism and noticed a pattern among a small impassioned minority on the fringes of the political spectrum.

They believe "unseen satanic forces" are trying to destroy their way of life.
2/ Hofstadter calls it the “paranoid style.”

They “feel dispossessed” and that “America has been largely taken away from them and their kind.”

They’re “determined to repossess it and prevent the final act of subversion” so they adopt extreme measures.
3/ Trump taps directly into this. Those with the "paranoid style" love him because they think he understands what nobody else understands.

Next up: Yale prof. @TimothyDSnyder and what he calls the politics of Sadopopulism.
4/ Sadopopulism works like this. The sadopopulist leader:

 🔹identifies an “enemy”
🔹enacts policies that create pain in their own supporters
🔹blames the pain on the “enemies”
🔹presents themselves as the strongmen who can fight and defeat the enemies.
5/ This explains how Trump can literally cause physical harm to his supporters, but they love him anyway.

Sadopopulism arises from a policy problem facing would-be oligarchs.

Leaders of liberal (rule of law based) democracy enact policies to better the lives of the citizens.
6/ Oligarchs and would-be oligarchs can’t do this or others will be able to rise up and challenge their place at the top of the hierarchy.

The need to keep the masses in their places, so the enact policies which benefit them (tax cuts for the rich) and harm their supporters. . .
7/ . . . like taking away healthcare while encouraging the spread of a virus by minimizing the risk and encouraging people to refuse to wear masks.

They persuade their followers that the "liberal fascists mobs" attacking statues are a bigger danger than the virus.
8/ Hofstader's theory explains why sadopopulism works: the paranoid are more afraid that their "enemies" (the liberals, Democrats, and minority communities) than they are of the virus.

The virus will kill some people. They think the liberals will "kill" their way of life.
9/ Next up: Political psychology.

Political psychologist, who tell us that approximately 1/3 of the population has what they call an anti-democratic or authoritarian personality.

Info from from Ngo, and Sanders, “The Right-Wing Authoritarianism Scale” academia.edu/34651963/The_R…
10/ Information also from @karenstenner and @jonhaight’s article “Authoritarianism is not a momentary madness,” which originally appeared in this book ⤵️ and which Stenner has now made available free on her website, here: …e-4700-aaa9-743a55a9437a.filesusr.com/ugd/02ff25_370…
11/ The work on the anti-democratic personality began after the rise of fascism in the 1930s.

I won't go into the details about this personality type. "Anti-democratic personality" and "authoritarian disposition," are descriptive. More info is available in the cited articles.
12/ Apologies. I tagged the wrong @karen_stenner.

That 1/3 percentage reappears through history. Huey Long and Joseph McCarthy had 30-30% approval. The Nazis came to power with 33% approval.

Trump’s support hovers at about 40% . . .
13/ . . . which is higher than the 1/3 we might expect.

The reason given for the higher-than-should-be number is usually the polarization or hyper-partisanship in the US.

It seems to me hyper-partisanship not the cause. It’s a description of the effect.
14/ The cause is the rise of a well-oiled and well-funding right wing propaganda network which increases what should be 1/3 to 40%.

There’s a theory afloat that the Republican elected leadership backs Trump because they’re being blackmailed.
15/ I suggest that they support Trump because they like what he stands for. There can also be compromat, but the compromat would be their willingness to work with and for Russia, which happens because they prefer a Putin-style oligarchy to what American democracy is becoming.
16/ The "blackmailed" theory gives the GOP leadership too much credit, and assumes that without blackmail material, they'd abandon Trump.

In fact, the GOP-Russia love affair has been evident for some time.
17/ Remember when Sen. Rand Paul went to Moscow to “open lines of communication“?

Also in 2018, Guiliani attended a pro-Russia conference last year.
18/ Katie Hopkins, with Ann Coulter sitting near her, says “Putin rocks.” She praises Russia as being “untouched by the myth of multiculturalism and deranged diversity.”

Putin’s regime, remember, is built on homophobia and fear of those who are different.
19/ Remember Paul Hasson, they guy who planned to mass murder liberals? I was struck by a phrase on page 3 of the Motion for his Pre-Trial Detention.
Hassen talked of “Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes . . .”

What's with the hopeful eyes?
20/ They see Russia as the savior of the white Christian race. They see Trump as the savior of white Christian America.

And that, @MarkSZaidEsq, is [partly] why the Republican Party is so in love with Trump. I could go on, but 20 tweets is long enough.

Goodness gracious. I also tagged the wrong @JonHaidt

Confession: I'm also constantly losing my keys.
21/ It's important to remember that the GOP is shrinking.

To begin with, the GOP is no longer "conservative" in the sense used by political psychologists. The fringe right wing nuts have co-opted the term "conservative" to give themselves legitimacy.
22/ After saying 20 is enough, I continue along🤣

Anyway, the demographics of the GOP are also shrinking. The Fox viewership is aging.

So Trump is popular with minority party. He's doubling down on this minority and running as a George Wallace. twitter.com/ChrisMurphyCT/…
Here is this thread as a blog post: terikanefield-blog.com/why-the-republ…

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