Co-authored with Nicholas T. Davis
Social intolerance embodies an unwillingness to associate or fraternize with individuals whose cultural, racial, or religious ideas or ways differ from one’s own group. Such prejudice is a particularly thorny problem in the context of democracy, which is predicated upon extending representational access to all citizens irrespective of race or creed. To what extent, then, does this social intolerance affect individuals’ support for democratic institutions? Using World Values Surveys from 1995 to 2011, we find that intolerance toward cultural, ethnic, or racial ‘others’ reduces the value that white Americans assign to democracy. Perhaps more troubling, these attitudes also increase white individuals’ openness to undemocratic alternatives – white Americans who exhibit social intolerance are more likely to dismiss the value of separation of powers and to support army rule. We close with a discussion of how our analyses inform American politics in the age of Trump and how political scientists can better understand the connection between social intolerance and anti-democratic orientations.
- Boing Boing: White Americans abandoned democracy and embraced authoritarianism when they realized brown people would soon outvote them
- Maclean’s: If you vote for a reckless politician, you can’t claim to be a good person
- NBC News: The Trump effect: New study connects white American intolerance and support for authoritarianism
- New York Times: President Trump Is a Very Political Animal
- ThinkProgress: Trump is awakening and emboldening Americans with anti-democratic ideals, research shows
- Outgroup Intolerance and Support for Democracy: An Analysis of White Americans in the World Values Survey Data