Lowenstein Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan
April 19, 2018
4:15pm - 6:00pm
Lower Level Conference Room, Adolphus Busch Hall
Support for xenophobic populist authoritarian parties and leaders such
as Donald Trump, the National Front, the Alternative for Germany, and
Brexit has expanded greatly. This talk will analyze extensive empirical
evidence including a survey of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election,
seeking to answer two questions:
1. What motivates people in
high-income countries to support xenophobic authoritarian movements?
2. Why is the xenophobic vote much higher now than it was several
The evidence indicates that support for xenophobic
populist authoritarian movements is mainly motivated by a backlash
against cultural change. But during the past three decades, strong
period effects linked with the coming of an artificial intelligence society
have been working to increase support for xenophobic parties: a large
share of the population has experienced declining real income and job
security, along with a massive influx of immigrants and refugees.
Cultural backlash explains why given individuals support xenophobic
populist authoritarian movements – but declining existential security
explains why support for these movements is greater now than it was
thirty years ago.