Author: Musa al-Gharbi

Beware the Emerging Field of ‘Trump Studies’

In a recent article at the usually excellent Washington Post “Monkey Cage” blog, Thomas Wood attempts to argue that, “Racism motivated Trump voters more than authoritarianism.” To make his case, Dr. Wood leads with a chart showing that, contrary to popular narratives (like this one), Trump voters actually seem less supportive of authoritarianism than those who voted for Romney or McCain. He then turns to racism—and in particular, data exploring partisan differences in endorsements of “symbolic racism” among whites. Here is the chart: Now, for the sake of intellectual charity we’ll set aside questions about the extent to which his authoritarianism and symbolic racism scales are accurate measures of respondents’ mental states. We’ll just grant, for the sake of argument, that these are accurate measures of racist and authoritarian tendencies, and that the survey population is sufficiently representative that one could make sound generalizations about Trump and Clinton voters on the basis of his study. With these concessions in mind, what does the data show us? One thing readers may notice about the second chart, …