What really motivates the hardcore followers of leaders, such as Viktor Orban in Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Narendra Modi in India, and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines? According to standard accounts, it is either a desire for strong authoritative leaders or a desire to empower ordinary people at the expense of elites. Using the ardent supporters of Donald Trump as a case study, I argue that conventional wisdom is unable to explain important recent events such as the documented tendency of Trump supporters to defy COVID-19-inspired authoritative mandates to wear masks and socially distance. On the basis of original survey data, I suggest that the real motivation of Trump supporters and by extension the supporters of similar leaders around the world is an intense desire for policies that protect the insider core of society from the threats posed by human outsiders, such as immigrants, minorities, and norm violators.
- Trump supporters
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations
- Public Administration