The White Working Class, Authoritarianism, and Unions

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Gregg Robinson


This article explores the relationship between authoritarianism, union membership, and attitudes toward Donald Trump. Matched samples of both unionized and non-unionized white working-class persons in San Diego County were asked about their attitudes toward Trump and other candidates
running for office in the 2016 presidential elections, along with questions that probed their levels of authoritarianism and ethnocentrism. The major finding of this research is that, while there were similar levels of authoritarianism in both the unionized and non-unionized samples, the social psychological tendency of authoritarianism only predicted support for Trump among the non-unionized sample. The reasons for this relationship are explored in more depth in this article.

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