Trump’s voters

Petar Arsovski

Donald Trump as a political phenomenon has been a subject to analysis from several aspects of political communication for quite some time. As president, who was elected with the lowest rating in the history of presidential elections, he was already a surprise for the classic theory of political marketing. But even more, during his term, he enjoyed exceptionally low support from the electorate, however, his constituency proved to be particularly strong and resistant to attacks in the last election. Hence, more psycho-political analyzes emerged that characterize Trump’s voters in the United States. These do not directly apply to the Macedonian political milieu, but in my opinion, they provide a serious indication of the way in which our society is currently divided.

I have long felt that the new axis around which the political spectrum will be reorganized will be the axis of progress against mythology, the EU and NATO versus national romanticism; of compromise or no on the name, if you will. The old ideological divisions of the left and right parties, ethnicities, will have a smaller role in the identification of Macedonian voters. Therefore, I think it would be interesting to make a parallel between the psychological and political characteristics of those who, conditionally speaking, are currently an opposition to the current course of the country. Their basic characteristic features allow for a serious insight into the map of these voters, as well as in how the polarization of the Macedonian political model will evolve.

Therefore, here are some of the features that might currently draw that division.

First, the authoritarian political figure syndrome. Authoritarian figures prefer enforcement of strict rules and obedience to authorities on account of personal freedoms and rights. Such a syndrome is often associated with a lack of political empathy for the needs or attitudes of others. Authoritarianism as a known phenomenon is usually exclusively related to the faith in power and obedience in a totalitarian sense. People with this syndrome often show signs of xenophobia and aggression towards those who are not members of their “group” (which can be ethnic, religious, political, etc.), and obedience to authorities. This syndrome is often associated and engages with fear and makes political leaders easily ignited by threats or by invoking external enemies.

Secondly, the social domination syndrome. This syndrome, which is related but different from authoritarianism, refers to people who think that there is a hierarchy of groups in society, specifically where higher “classes” have dominance over “lower” ones. People with this characteristic are often aggressive, unyielding, and are guided by their own interest. They are just like the previous group, extremely xenophobic, considering minorities or migrants, or marginal groups in society as members of a lower status, and therefore with less rights to influence social flows.

Third, full of prejudice. This syndrome refers to creating stereotypes for different social or ethnic groups, which become lines of divisions and constraints. “Communards”, “traitors”, and “sorosoids” are used as archetypal mental shortcuts to sharpen and characterize a negative sign, certain groups, as well as to propagate prejudices that already exist in society. This syndrome is characterized by unreliability towards external groups, with a lack of compromise capacity, for equal chances. In parallel, it binds to a conceived external enemy that needs to be perceived only through the prism of prejudice. Of course, the biggest problem in this syndrome is that it prevents the evolution of political thought because it propagates static and negative predetermined characteristics.
Fourth, exceptional xenophobia and lack of contact between different groups. This is associated with the perpetuation of prejudices – people who are prone to prejudice and divisions, most often do not interfere with others. They avoid contact outside their group, avoid or reject views that are different from their, simply, successfully vaccinated from the possibility of someone changing their minds (read prejudices).
Last, but definitely not the least, is the relative deprivation syndrome. This syndrome, which is characterized by the belief that something (which otherwise follows) is denied to it, is associated with the discontent that people feel as they should get (something) the same or more than others. This syndrome is most often associated with a distorted perception of reality, naked populism and social envy. For members of this group there are several nomenclatures, such as “anti-establishment”, anarchists, but in fact, that syndrome is intimate, not extroverted, comes from envy, not from the need for social justice.
Such psychological and political characteristics of voters belonging to, conditionally speaking, retrograde or static political figures, are interesting for analysis not only as representatives of political groups, but also as participants in political discourse.

If these syndromes are correct, then political communication with these target groups is completely wrong – there is no room for dialogue, consensus, compromise. On the contrary, such an approach makes them more compact, more exclusive. Perhaps a new political language for them will be needed in the future, because they simply do not understand the current one.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik