People react to fear, not love

What makes people vote Republican?

Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies? [See, Republicans cost us money]

Diagnosis is a pleasure.
We psychologists have been examining the origins of ideology ever since Hitler sent us Germany’s best psychologists, and we long ago reported that strict parenting and a variety of personal insecurities work together to turn people against liberalism, diversity, and progress. But now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death.

[See Altemeyer, Authoritarianism]
Here’s Professor Altemeyer’s free book: The Authoritarians – “The greatest threat to American democracy today.”

People vote Republican because Republicans offer “moral clarity”—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world.

Who are the opponents of science and how have they have taken control of the Republican Party to redefine science, to undermine science, and to misconstrue science even to the point of dismissing scientific consensus in favor of increasingly discredited fringe ideas?

Last month a Pew Research Institute survey reported a decline in the number of Americans who want churches and other houses of worship involved in political matters. The survey also found that most of the drop in the past four years comes among conservatives. [link]

In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly:

‘People react to fear, not love. They don’t teach that in Sunday School, but it’s true.’ – Richard Nixon

The phenomenon of misplaced fear in American culture is not uncommon, asserts sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things.

“A vibrant and functional democracy depends on the honest dissemination of information. The corporate media, in its rightward drift and easy compliance to political power, is failing the general populace.”

Fourteen Republicans

Over the past few years, corruption has become a significant political issue, with interest peaking in early 2007. In the 2006 mid-term elections, exit polls showed that 42% of voters called corruption an extremely important issue in their choices at the polls, ahead of terrorism, the economy, and the war in Iraq. With the downturn in the economy, however, voters’ attention is unsurprisingly more focused on pocketbook issues than on congressional misconduct. Nevertheless, ethics still matter…