Friday, December 15, 2017

ANS -- Don’t Protest

This is a very provocative article about protesting and what it accomplishes.  Read it.  Fairly short.  
--Kim


Don't Protest



Most US leftists make sign-waving demonstrations a core tactic. They shouldn't. Protests create the feeling of power, but not the reality.

From Sophia Burns

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National Women's March in DC, 2017. Source: Wikimedia Commons

In high school, I went to my first protest. Someone passed me a sign – "ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY" – as we marched to the governor's mansion. The organizers read our demand: that the governor commute the sentence of a Death Row prisoner nearing his execution date. After twenty minutes of chanting slogans, we withdrew to the courtyard in front of City Hall, where a folk-punk singer performed and activist groups tabled.

The governor didn't listen. He didn't even hear us, strictly speaking – after a fire a few weeks earlier, the governor's mansion was closed for repairs. He wasn't physically there.

A few days later, the man on Death Row was executed.


Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, on November 4th, "it" did not begin.

Refuse Fascism, a front group for a strange political sect called the Revolutionary Communist Party, spent months calling for "thousands becoming hundreds of thousands, and then millions" of protesters to "drive out the Trump/Pence regime" (an echo of its old "drive out the Bush regime" slogan). Although Refuse Fascism couldn't deliver, anti-Trump protests have happened on that scale: April's March for Science turned out more than a million, and nearly five times that many joined the Women's March in January.

However, millions in the street didn't bring the Trump Administration down. And while he's had a hard time enacting his program, that's not because of liberal or leftist opposition – his biggest obstacle has been the ongoing faction fight in his own party.

So even if "it" had begun, why would Refuse Fascism's protests have worked any better than their precursors? The US government does not cease to function simply because people oppose it. Sure, the plan's political incoherence didn't help (were Trump and Pence supposed to resign in succession? Was the goal to install President Paul Ryan?). But goals aside, Refuse Fascism never explained how, exactly, demonstrations were going to bring Trump down. Signs with slogans do not possess that kind of power, even if there are millions of them.

Most anti-Trump protesters, though, likely don't share Refuse Fascism's belief that their activities will literally end Trump's presidency before he finishes his term. If they did, November 4th would probably have been much less anticlimactic. Rather, they're less ambitious: they want to express disapproval of the Trump Administration, to make their voices heard.

That's what we were after in front of the governor's mansion. We knew he wasn't going to commute anyone's sentence. We protested because the death penalty was wrong, not because we expected to win.

But is the Left served by self-expression for its own sake? It exists to help the working class, rather than the ruling class, exercise political power. Most US leftists make sign-waving demonstrations a core tactic. They shouldn't. Protests create the feeling of power, but not the reality. Shouldn't revolutionaries instead dedicate their limited resources to institution-building, which does tangibly increase working-class power? Orienting towards the protest scene keeps radicals safely within liberalism's orbit. After all, the activist subculture is dominated by the Democratic Party and its extensive network of front groups. Why did November 4th fail? It hinged on the subculture's support. But Democrats have that base, so Democrats set its agenda.

The Futility of "Expressive Protests"

To be clear, "protest" is an imprecise term. It elides activities that shouldn't necessarily be equated. So, this critique doesn't extend to concrete confrontation: that is, physically preventing something from happening. Striking workers holding a picket line and people at Standing Rock blocking the pipeline differ from most protests – they involve literally stopping the things they oppose. Rather, this criticism targets expressive protests: demonstrations that demand something, but don't do it. That includes not just permitted marches with police escorts, but also many ostensibly militant activities. Blocking streets for gay marriagemarching through city centers against trade agreements, and getting arrested in "direct actions" against policies being carried out thousands of miles away all fall within the spectrum of expressive protest. It resembles concrete confrontation in form, but they're like red wine and grape soda. The superficial similarity hides a qualitative difference.

Expressive protest means actions like those of February 2003. Millions of people around the world turned out against George Bush's immanent invasion of Iraq, forming "the largest protest event in human history." The New York Times was impressed enough to write that "there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion." Bush, however, simply ignored the demonstrations and proceeded to launch the war. The "second superpower," it turned out, couldn't compete with state power.

Expressive protest is ubiquitous and meaningless. A protest might be numerically "successful," but by its nature, it doesn't change any aspect of collective life. That's why liberals love it. Because the 2000s anti-war movement structured itself around a powerless tactic, what option did it have besides falling into place behind John Kerry's pro-war presidential run? Since it couldn't escape the Democratic Party's hegemony, is it any surprise that it dissipated under Obama, even though he escalated Bush's wars? Expressive protests don't lead to actual power. What option did the anti-war movement have besides narrow electoral opposition to Bush, the individual politician, on the Democratic Party's terms?


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Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park, NYC. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Limitations of "Mass Upsurges"

Isn't this argument one-sided, though? Sure, a peace vigil in front of a state capitol isn't going to influence foreign policy. But aren't some protests more effective than that? Periodically, millions of people more-or-less spontaneously join a protest movement, forming a mass upsurge. When that many people are developing political consciousness and acting on it, often for the first time, it can't be dismissed. Aren't institution-building and participating in mass upsurges complementary, not opposed?

Radicals absolutely should take mass upsurges seriously, in part because their participant base does differ from standard-fare "activist networking." However, upsurges typically share two traits that shape their relationship with expressive protest:

  1. They aren't premeditated. The feminist writer Jo Freeman describes two ingredients for protest movements: a pre-existing communications network through which the movement's ideas can spread, and a crisis to act as the "spark." She gives the example of 1960s radical feminism: women participants in the New Left formed a communications network, and a series of public displays of misogyny from male leaders served as the galvanizing crisis. While Freeman emphasizes the role of organizers in developing networks, "sparks" are inherently unpredictable. Attempting to simply will one into being virtually always fails, as Refuse Fascism discovered on November 4th.
  2. Their participants consistently conclude that protest doesn't get the goods. Occupy's encampments lasted for weeks, occasionally months. However, even the longest-lived encampments found themselves unable to win any of their goals. The financial system wasn't slowed; it simply ignored the people in Zuccotti Park, just like George Bush had ignored the anti-war movement. Unfortunately, the Occupiers saw no practical alternative to the protest cycle. So, some joined the activist-networking scene, but most dropped out of politics entirely. Their expressive protests were massive, disruptive, and sustained. They still failed.

So, for radicals, the question of protest attendance during an upsurge is less important than it looks. The most helpful kind of engagement isn't protesting louder, more often, and with more radical slogans. It's offering the kind of alternative that the activist subculture won't.

Disillusioned Occupiers wanted something more meaningful than the protest circuit. What kind of power could they have wielded through a network of mutual aid projectsworker-owned co-opscommunity self-defense initiatives, and workplace-organizing resources? What might the institution-building strategy have offered them?

Most radicals, though, couldn't provide anything better than sign-waving. That approach enjoys hegemony within the activist subculture for a reason: the Democratic Party and its front groups dominate the scene, and as the anti-war movement showed, it's uniquely suited to their aims. They want to be benevolent technocrats with a passive base of support. Of course Democrats promote powerless tactics. They oppose mass participation in the exercise of power.

Now, the Left has the opposite goal. But, its expressive-protest orientation keeps it subordinate to the Democratic Party in practice.

When Protests Are Actually Effective

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Source: Wikipedia

But don't protests sometimes actually work? For instance, counter-demonstrations against alt-right events materially interfere with their movement by hindering their ability to recruit. Besides, no tactic is useful for everything. Doesn't protest still have a place in the activist's toolkit?

Well, in that example, there's a specific goal that the protest tactic addresses: to demoralize fascists in order to slow their recruitment, facing them with large numbers of people is effective. But how often is the target of an expressive protest not only physically present, but also doing something that gets disrupted by the mere proximity of protesters? For movements on the fringe of public acceptability, losing a community's goodwill means losing the ability to replenish its membership. Protesting works against fascist events because they're uniquely susceptible to social stigma – but what about governments and corporations? Bad PR may irritate them, but it doesn't stop them from doing what they want.

Protesting is like a mountain climber's axe. Under very specific circumstances, it's the right tool. Otherwise, it might look impressive, but you can't build anything with it. All else being equal, it's probably better to have it in your toolkit than not. But for most jobs, it simply won't work.

Wielding Real Power

When liberals insist that the point of protest is to "have your voice be heard," they are actually describing the fascist mode of political participation. To be satisfied with "feeling heard" in and of itself, as the goal of political activity, without pointing that expression toward building real material power, is to be a contented fascist subject.

Willie Osterweil

What is politics?

It's not the expression of ideas. That's the fascist bait-and-switch: promising the reality of power, but only delivering the feeling of it, the catharsis of "making your voice heard" and "finally being listened to" by a leader. But liberalism operates no differently, pushing expressive protest as a stand-in for the actual power it restricts to business leaders and state officials.

That's politics, properly defined – collectively exercising real social power. Revolutionary institution-building is politics; each institution is an instrument through which a working-class community can shape some part of its shared life. Expressive protest is not. Emotionally, it resembles the feeling of politics, but the substance isn't there. It's closer to a letter to the editor, asserting a belief without enacting it. Even if it's impressive enough to make the front page, it doesn't build mass power.

That's what the Democratic Party prefers. If the Left wants something better, how much longer can it afford to squander itself on expressive protests?


Sophia Burns

is a communist and devotional polytheist in the US Pacific Northwest. Support her here on Patreon.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

ANS -- RIGHT TO CHOOSE

Many of you are UUs, and some are not, but I thought this might be interesting to you whether or not you are.  It is our reasoning to be pro-choice, written in 1987.  
--Kim


1987 General Resolution

BECAUSE, Unitarian Universalists believe that the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the right of individual conscience, and respect for human life are inalienable rights due every person; and that the personal right to choose in regard to contraception and abortion is an important aspect of these rights; and

BECAUSE, we believe in tolerance and compassion for persons whose choices may differ from our own; and

BECAUSE, we believe not only in the value of life itself but also in the quality of life; and

WHEREAS, pain, suffering, and loss of life were widespread prior to the legalization of abortion in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court (Roe v. Wade ) and the 1969 amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada;

WHEREAS, the issue of abortion is morally complex, abortion must remain a legal option; and

WHEREAS, attempts are now being made to restrict access to birth control and abortion by overriding individual decisions of conscience, and attacks in legislatures, courts, and the streets often result in depriving poor women of their right to medical care; and such legislation is an infringement of the principle of separation of church and state in that it tries to enact private morality into public law; and

WHEREAS, there is a movement to re-criminalize abortion both for women and their health-care providers which could bring back dangerous alternatives to clinically safe abortions;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the 1987 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association reaffirms its historic position, supporting the right to choose contraception and abortion as legitimate aspects of the right to privacy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that:

  1. Individual Unitarian Universalists educate themselves, their congregations, and the public about the new moral understandings emergent in the works of feminist theologians and social ethicists; and
  2. Unitarian Universalists oppose any move to deny or restrict the distribution of government funds as a means of restricting access to full contraceptive and abortion counseling and/or services, at home or abroad; and
  3. Unitarian Universalists actively oppose all legislation, regulation and administrative action, at any level of government, intended to undermine or circumvent the Roe v. Wade decision; and
  4. Unitarian Universalists communicate their opposition to such attempts to their legislative representatives and to the electorate; and
  5. Unitarian Universalists expose and oppose bogus clinics and other tactics that infringe on the free exercise of the right to choose; and
  6. Unitarian Universalists promote legislation funding safe abortions for low-income women; and
  7. Individual Unitarian Universalists, congregations, and the Unitarian Universalist Association open discussion with those of different mind, and seek opportunities to work productively from shared values to promote family planning and education for responsible sex; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED: That we reaffirm the right to choose contraception and abortion as a legitimate expression of our constitutional rights.

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ANS -- Homeowners: Use these year-end tax moves to save ahead of tax reform

One of our readers sent this good tax advice.  Short article.  
Find it here:  



Homeowners: Use these year-end tax moves to save ahead of tax reform

  • Depending on your situation, prepaying 2018 property taxes this year could make sense.
  • You also could prepay January's mortgage and write off the interest in 2017.
  • Both the Senate and House versions of tax reform would require you to live in your home for five years instead of two to get an exemption from paying taxes on any capital gains generated by the sale.
Real estate
Siri Stafford | Getty Images

Homeowners might want to consider prepaying certain house-related expenses this year in advance of tax legislation that could clear Congress as early as this month.

The Senate passed its version of tax reform in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday and now will begin hashing out differences with the House bill, which passed in mid-November. While lawmakers work out the details — with the goal of getting final legislation to President Trump by the end of the year — homeowners may want to anticipate various provisions that could affect what they can and can't write off.

Because most deductions currently available to individuals would disappear under both versions of the bill, and the standard deduction would nearly double, fewer taxpayers would itemize deductions. This means that even if some tax breaks related to homeownership are retained in their current form, you might not have enough deductions in 2018 and onward to make itemizing worthwhile.

Here are the tax-bill provisions that could change the tax benefits of owning a home, along with some strategies for this year to maximize deductions before the tax code changes:

Property taxes

Due to a last-minute change in the Senate bill, both it and the House version would allow property tax deductions up to $10,000, while eliminating other write-offs for state and local taxes.

Current law allows you to write of the full amount of property taxes paid, although other parts of the tax code — i.e., the alternative minimum tax — can reduce that break's usefulness, especially for higher-income taxpayers.

For homeowners not subject to the AMT, however, prepaying some 2018 property taxes this year could boost the value of their deduction. The Internal Revenue Service allows you to write off property taxes in the year you pay to the taxing authority.

Keep in mind, though, that money put into an escrow account isn't considered paid until it is disbursed to the taxing authority — and would have to be paid out this year to qualify.

Mortgage interest deduction

This is one of the few home-related deductions for individuals that would remain, with some modifications.

Under current law, you can take a deduction for the interest you pay on up to $1 million of mortgage debt (plus $100,000 of home equity debt), which applies to your first and second homes. Although the Senate bill retains that ceiling, it eliminates the deductibility of interest paid on a home equity loan or line of credit.

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Astronaut Images | Getty Images

The House bill, meanwhile, reduces the cap to interest paid on $500,000 of mortgage debt. Although it makes no mention of interest on home-equity loans, it would limit the deductibility of mortgage interest to primary residences. This means that the interest on loans for vacation homes — including qualifying recreational vehicles and boats — would no longer be deductible if the provision makes it into final legislation.

While part of the tax code generally disallows prepaying interest, the IRS gives you a one-month reprieve. In other words, you can prepay January's mortgage payment in December and write it off this year.

"But if you go beyond that, the interest is allocated to 2018," said Bill Smith, managing director at CBIZ MHM's National Tax Office in Bethesda, Maryland.

If you do prepay, make sure the Form 1098 sent by the lender to both you and the IRS reflects the payment. If you report a different number from the form, it will trigger a red flag at the IRS.

Selling your home

You might have to plan on staying put longer. Currently, when homeowners sell their home, they can exclude the first $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) from capital gains taxes if they have lived there for two of the five years preceding the sale. Both the Senate and House bills would change that requirement to five of the past eight years.

In other words, if you were thinking about selling your house in the next couple of years but have only lived there for a short time, you could owe taxes on any gain from the sale.

The tax code currently allows hardship exemptions to that two-year rule, and it's unclear at this point whether a similar exemption would be available under the revised five-year requirement, said Tim Gagnon, an associate teaching professor of accounting at Northeastern University's D'Amore-McKim School of Business.

"It's hard to know if the IRS will modify the current [rules] or throw it out entirely," Gagnon said.

More from Personal Finance:

6 retirement withdrawal missteps that could trigger a 50 percent tax penalty

How to make the most of your charitable donations

Tax reform could hit certain states harder than others

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

ANS -- GAMING-INSPIRED AGGRESSION SPREADS WITHIN SOCIAL GROUPS

Here is an article shared on FaceBook by Sara Robinson.  I will preface it with her comment.  
--Kim


from Sara:

After a dozen years in the computer game business, I left it in the late 90s. There were a couple of big reasons, and one of them was that the whole industry had gone gaga for building first-person shooters -- and I refused to work on them. I was a mother by then, and believed there were higher, better things in the world to contribute my talents to than building entertainments that taught kids to kill.

Everybody thought I was nuts. As I expected, when word got out that I wasn't going to work on violent games, the work dried up. I didn't care. I did what I felt was the right thing -- and still have no regrets.

At the time, the conventional wisdom was that, if anything, violent games were more cathartic than they were harmful. The companies I worked for were selling educational games into schools by touting the deep learning that happens in immersive interactive game environments -- while, at the same time, insisting that no, kids couldn't possibly be learning anything harmful from the first-person shooters they also produced. I thought this was bullshit. And I feared for my children's generation.

Those chickens have come home to roost. You cannot convince me that the aggression and hostility that are now rendering the Internet unfit for any higher human purpose isn't somehow connected to the fact that for the past 25 years, kids have spent a lot more time learning to solve conflict with virtual violence than by interacting compassionately with their fellow humans.

This article backs me up. Newer research is validating what I knew when I left the business 20 years ago. The art we create both reflects us, and creates us. And the computer game business has, on balance, brought out and reinforced the very worst in us. As we look for the roots of our larger social and political dysfunction, we'll find that the kinds of games we've been raising our kids on have more to answer for than we've been willing to admit.




GAMING-INSPIRED AGGRESSION SPREADS WITHIN SOCIAL GROUPS

You don't have to personally play violent video games to experience their negative effects.
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(Photo: Ugur Akdemir/Unsplash)

The link between violent video games and aggressive thoughts and behaviors has been firmly established. But parents who assume they merely need to keep their teenagers away from brutal amusements like Grand Theft Auto need to think again.

New research suggests the problem isn't only the games their kids play—it's also the ones that are favored by their friends.

"Violent video game play does not only have an impact on the player, but also on the player's social network," writes psychologist Tobias Greitemeyer of the University of Innsbruck. "Playing violent video games is associated with increased aggression, which then spreads among connected individuals."

Kids—and adults—tend to conform to the norms of their group. If, due to the effects of video game play, heightened aggression becomes the rule among your child's circle of friends, he or she may very well follow suit.

"Previous research has provided overwhelming evidence that psychological constructs can spread across network ties," Greitemeyer writes in the journalComputers in Human Behavior. "It is well-known that aggression and violence spread among connected individuals. A nationally representative sample of American adolescents showed that participants were more likely to engage in violent behaviorif a friend had engaged in the same behavior."

To discover if this dynamic applies to video game-related aggression, he conducted an online survey featuring 998 participants (equally divided between men and women, with a mean age of 37). Each was asked "How often do you play violent video games (where the goal is to harm other game characters)?" They answered on a scale of one (never) to seven (very often).

Their aggressive behavior was determined by their answers to 10 statements, including "I have hit another person" and "I have said nasty things about another person behind his/her back." They estimated how often they had engaged in each such behavior over the past six months.

Finally, they answered the same set of questions about "five individuals they felt closest to." Those responses were averaged to create a composite score.

The key result: "Even participants that do not play violent video games themselves reported more aggression when their social network consists of individuals who do play violent video games," Greitemeyer reports.

"As in previous research, violent video game exposure was associated with increased aggression in the player," he writes. "The friends' level of aggression, in turn, was closely related to the participant's aggression. This pattern suggests that increased aggression as a consequence of violent video game exposure may spread across individuals."

Greitemeyer concedes that these results do not prove causality. But they are certainly disturbing.

"Psychologists and the public alike have been concerned that violent video game exposure has the potential to increase aggression on a societal level," he notes. This research suggests how easily that infection can spread.

Monday, December 04, 2017

ANS -- Thai Ministry Announces Plan to Convert Gas-Powered Tuk-Tuks to Electric Vehicles

This is a very short article just to let you know what kinds of things are going on in the rest of the world -- while the US sinks farther  and farther behind the rest of the world.  
--Kim



Thai Ministry Announces Plan to Convert Gas-Powered Tuk-Tuks to Electric Vehicles

Last week, Thailand's Ministry of Energy announced some big plans for the country's humble tuk-tuks. Not only do they plan to export electric versions of the vehicles to three European countries, they also plan to convert the country's 22,000 existing LPG (liquid petroleum gas) powered tuk-tuks to electric-powered over the next five years.


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The ministry has been running a pilot project for converting the LPG vehicles to electricity and has now approved government funding to convert 100 existing vehicles, with approval for more conversations in the works, reported Thai PBS.

The purpose of the conversion project is part of the ministry's ongoing effort toward adoption of electric vehicles for public transportation.

Tuk-tuk owners that would like to have their vehicles converted for free can apply online.

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So far, THB76 million (US$2.2 million) has been allocated for the project but much more is needed to reach the lofty goal of converting 22,000 vehicles.

According to one of the ministry's directors, Thawarat Suttabutra, one of the biggest issues with the project is the price of the vehicle batteries — they cost about THB100,000 (US$2,994) each and need to be replaced every 5 years.

Currently, LPG-powered tuk-tuks are sold in France, Sweden, and Denmark. Ministry officials noted that part of their new plan includes exporting electric tuk-tuks instead of the fuel-powered models.

 

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Article was originally posted by Coconuts Bangkok on October 9, 2017.
View the original article here.

  

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Headquartered in Denver, CO eTuk USA manufactures 100% electric, eco-friendly tuk tuks to suit a variety of customer needs throughout the USA. The company's electric vehicles are well suited for a variety of applications. eTuk USA licenses the design from their partner, The Tuk Tuk Factory, and is the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of the eTuk in the United States. Check out the company's passenger eTuks for shuttle and tour operator applications or its commercial eTuks for vending, delivery, or food truck applications. 

Saturday, December 02, 2017

ANS -- A new analysis of Trump supporters has uncovered 5 key psychological traits about them

An interesting and fairly short article about traits of Trump devotees.  What do you think?  
--Kim


A new analysis of Trump supporters has uncovered 5 key psychological traits about them

The lightning-fast ascent and political invincibility of Donald Trump has left many experts baffled and wondering, "How did we get here?" Any accurate and sufficient answer to that question must not only focus on Trump himself, but also on his uniquely loyal supporters. Given their extreme devotion and unwavering admiration for their highly unpredictable and often inflammatory leader, some have turned to the field of psychology for scientific explanations based on precise quantitative data and established theoretical frameworks.

Although analyses and studies by psychologists and neuroscientists have provided many thought-provoking explanations for his enduring support, the accounts of different experts often vary greatly, sometimes overlapping and other times conflicting. However insightful these critiques may be, it is apparent that more research and examination is needed to hone in on the exact psychological and social factors underlying this peculiar human behavior.

In a recent review paper published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew argues that five major psychological phenomena can help explain this exceptional political event.

1.     Authoritarian Personality Syndrome

Authoritarianism refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom, and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others. Authoritarian personality syndrome—a well-studied and globally-prevalent condition—is a state of mind that is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to one's authority. Those with the syndrome often display aggression toward outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences, and a rigid hierarchical view of society. The syndrome is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance.

Although authoritarian personality is found among liberals, it is more common among the right-wing around the world. President Trump's speeches, which are laced with absolutist terms like "losers" and "complete disasters," are naturally appealing to those with the syndrome.

While research showed that Republican voters in the U.S. scored higher than Democrats on measures of authoritarianism before Trump emerged on the political scene, a 2016 Politico survey found that high authoritarians greatly favored then-candidate Trump, which led to a correct prediction that he would win the election, despite the polls saying otherwise.

2.     Social dominance orientation

Social dominance orientation (SDO)—which is distinct but related to authoritarian personality syndrome—refers to people who have a preference for the societal hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones. Those with SDO are typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest.

In Trump's speeches, he appeals to those with SDO by repeatedly making a clear distinction between groups that have a generally higher status in society (White), and those groups that are typically thought of as belonging to a lower status (immigrants and minorities).

2016 survey study of 406 American adults published this year in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that those who scored high on both SDO and authoritarianism were those who intended to vote for Trump in the election.

3.     Prejudice

It would be grossly unfair and inaccurate to say that every one of Trump's supporters have prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities, but it would be equally inaccurate to say that many do not. It is a well-known fact that the Republican party, going at least as far back to Richard Nixon's "southern strategy," used strategies that appealed to bigotry, such as lacing speeches with "dog whistles"—code words that signaled prejudice toward minorities that were designed to be heard by racists but no one else.

While the dog whistles of the past were more subtle, Trump's are sometimes shockingly direct. There's no denying that he routinely appeals to bigoted supporters when he calls Muslims "dangerous" and Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "murderers," often in a blanketed fashion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a new study has shown that support for Trump is correlated with a standard scale of modern racism.

4.     Intergroup contact

Intergroup contact refers to contact with members of groups that are outside one's own, which has been experimentally shown to reduce prejudice. As such, it's important to note that there is growing evidence that Trump's white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans. For example, a 2016 study found that "…the racial and ethnic isolation of Whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support." This correlation persisted while controlling for dozens of other variables. In agreement with this finding, the same researchers found that support for Trump increased with the voters' physical distance from the Mexican border.

5.     Relative deprivation

Relative deprivation refers to the experience of being deprived of something to which one believes they are entitled. It is the discontent felt when one compares their position in life to others who they feel are equal or inferior but have unfairly had more success than them.

Common explanations for Trump's popularity among non-bigoted voters involve economics. There is no doubt that some Trump supporters are simply angry that American jobs are being lost to Mexico and China, which is certainly understandable, although these loyalists often ignore the fact that some of these careers are actually being lost due to the accelerating pace of automation.

These Trump supporters are experiencing relative deprivation, and are common among the swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This kind of deprivation is specifically referred to as "relative," as opposed to "absolute," because the feeling is often based on a skewed perception of what one is entitled to. For example, an analysis conducted by FiveThirtyEight estimated that the median annual income of Trump supporters was $72,000.

If such data is accurate, the portrayal of most Trump supporters as "working class" citizens rebelling against Republican elites may be more myth than fact.

Bobby Azarian is a science writer with a PhD in neuroscience. His research has been published in journals such as Cognition & Emotion and Human Brain Mapping, and he has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, BBC Future, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and others. Follow him on twitter @BobbyAzarian.