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Deconstructing the Donald

Credit: Gage Skidmore

Trump’s popularity may result from his ability to appeal to the aggrieved entitlement of angry white men. Credit: Gage Skidmore

By Tim Hannan

Donald Trump’s appeal to voters may be explained by a preference for authoritarian anti-establishment leaders.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

To many observers, the success of Donald Trump in the Republican primaries has been bewildering, if not frankly terrifying. While his candidacy has featured vilification of ethnic minorities and immigrants, sexist remarks and aggressive language, it has seemed that these displays have not deterred his supporters.

Attempts by media commentators to explain his popularity have largely focused on the appeal of his policies to specific sectors of the American population. Some psychologists are now speculating that a better explanation lies in examining the impact of his caustic language.

In his 2013 book Angry White Men, the American sociologist Michael Kimmel described the rage of men who perceive themselves to have been dispossessed of their natural right to power and privilege. He argued that this sense of loss has engendered “the cultural construction of aggrieved entitlement”, with these men attributing their personal disadvantage to those they viewed as different – ethnic minorities, immigrants, non-Christians, and those whose preferences are other than heterosexual. According to this theory, Trump’s popularity results from his ability to speak to these angry white men, and to be seen as their champion in the fight against others.

Yet Trump’s nationalistic appeal to white men seems insufficient to account for the breadth of his following. According...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.