The Securitarian Personality: What Really Motivates Trump's Base and Why It Matters for the Post-Trump Era

John R. Hibbing

Research output: Book/ReportBook

17 Scopus citations


This book identifies the core motivations of Donald Trump’s strongest supporters. Previous research suggests that Trump’s followers are authoritarians or even fascists—individuals who are comfortable only when a powerful person is controlling their lives and providing direction and certainty in the process. This book advances and empirically supports the thesis that what Trump’s base craves is not authority but rather a specific form of security. The disposition of Trump’s strongest supporters leads them to strive for security in the face of threats from members of out-groups, and they define out-groups broadly to include welfare cheats, unpatriotic athletes, norm violators, non-English speakers, people who subscribe to a non-majority religion, people not of the majority racial group, people who do not follow prevalent national customs, and certainly people from other countries. Fervent Trump supporters’ primary purpose in life is to protect themselves, their families, and their larger cultural group from these outsider threats. A similar motivation is present in subpopulations around the world as can be seen in the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom as well as the success of nativist candidates around the globe. By detailing these desires, this book makes it possible to understand a political movement that many people find baffling and frustrating, which in turn could make it easier for Trump’s base and those who stridently oppose Trump to communicate with each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages286
ISBN (Electronic)9780190096489
StatePublished - Sep 17 2020


  • Brexit
  • Trump base
  • Trump opponents
  • authoritarians
  • fascists
  • in-group/out-group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Securitarian Personality: What Really Motivates Trump's Base and Why It Matters for the Post-Trump Era'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this