Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Democracy Works: What Really Motivates Trump Supporters

John Hibbing
University of Nebraska

Many, many articles, books, documentaries — and even podcasts — have been produced over the past four years to try and explain who Donald Trump's base is and what motivates people to vote for and otherwise support him. Our guest this week offers answers to these questions that are grounded in social science and political psychology.

John Hibbing is the Foundation Regent University Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska. He studies the manner in which these biological variations mitigate the way in which individuals respond to politically relevant environmental occurrences. His latest book is "The Securitarian Personality: What Really Motivates Trump's Base and Why It Matters for the Post-Trump Era."

The book draws from an original national survey that includes over 1,000 strong Trump supporters and Hibbing's own experience at a Trump rally in the Midwest. Hibbing argues Trump's base is driven by the desire for security, not fear or authoritarianism as others claim. In the book, and in this interview, Hibbing also provides insight into the approaches likely to increase levels of political civility in the future.    

Jenna Spinelle is the Communications Specialist for the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State. She is responsible for shaping all of the institute's external communication, including website content, social media, multimedia, and media outreach.