How authoritarianism is shaping American politics (and it's not just about Trump)

Just like Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives have also diverged in their average scores on this measure of authoritarianism, although there was a divide even in 1992. But in 2016, this divide was larger than in any of the previous years since 1992.

This growing alignment between authoritarianism, party and ideology suggests that authoritarianism should have also become more strongly associated with how people vote. That is exactly what has happened. In six of the past seven presidential elections — 1992-2016, excepting 1996 — we have the necessary data to examine the relationship between this measure of authoritarianism and whether people voted for the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate.

The graph below shows how authoritarianism has become increasingly intertwined with presidential voting among whites. The graph presents the predicted chance of voting for the Republican candidate among those who chose none of the child-rearing values that emphasized conformity or obedience and among those who chose all four such values. This is based on a statistical model that also accounts for age, education, income, gender and measures of religiosity.

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