Trump’s Appeal, Explained Through WWII-Era Science: Richard Wolin

World War II-era social scientists provided a starting point for “shedding light on the meaning of Trumpism and what it says about the fate of American democracy,” writes Distinguished Professor Richard Wolin (Comparative Literature/History/Political Science) in a new Chronicle of Higher Education essay.
The essay, “Our ‘Profit of Deceit,’” focuses on five studies, all commissioned by the American Jewish Committee in the mid-1940s and known collectively as Studies in Prejudice.
Researchers found that “prejudice correlates positively with a mistrust of democratic institutions — a fact that also helps to explain why those with authoritarian proclivities are especially susceptible to conspiracy theories and to claims that the system is rigged,” Wolin writes.
“Although Donald Trump may go away following the November election, Trumpism — the social causes that precipitated the Trump phenomenon — is unlikely to vanish anytime soon,” Wolin adds. “The only way to remedy the worrisome authoritarian lurch in American politics is to address in earnest its root causes.”
A leading public intellectual and prolific author, Wolin is a highly regarded authority in the field of modern European intellectual history. His most recent book, The Wind from the East: French Intellectuals, the Cultural Revolution, and the Legacy of the 1960s (2010; pbk., 2012), was one of eight named on the Financial Times 2012 Best Books in History list.

Submitted on: NOV 2, 2016

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