New book reveals why MAGA cult adores Trump: he's "openly corrupt, a liar, racist, and sadistic"

Why do MAGA cultists vote for candidates whose policies will make them poorer, sicker, and less safe? According to political psychology professor Stephen J. Ducat, it's because their tribe demands a corrupt authoritarian leader.

In a recent interview on The Daily Beast's The New Abnormal podcast, Ducat discusses his new book, Hatreds We Love: The Psychology of Political Tribalism in Post-Truth America. Mystified by Donald Trump's 2016 victory, Ducat set out to understand why people would vote for a "charmless moron who didn't understand the world and who was kind of a treasonous con man. Yet that's not how half the country saw him," Ducat says.

As he researched the book, he learned that right-wing tribalism is deeply intertwined with autocratic leadership. "Understanding the tribe and understanding right-wing tribes means understanding an autocratic leader because right-wing tribalism is so much tied in with the role of an authoritarian or autocratic leader," he says in the interview. "So the very things that you and I might find repellent his corruption, for example, is part of what his followers adore about him, because his brand is impunity. You know, the fact that he's been openly corrupt, he's a liar, racist, sadistic, and has never until relatively recently been held to account or pay a significant price and it still remains to be determined if that is actually gonna happen. Those qualities of impunity, his followers find powerfully seductive and admirable."

The key to understanding this phenomenon, Ducat says, is group identification. "There is this drive that is in some ways so powerful that people will kill and die for it, which is to preserve our status in the group." This tribal mentality operates in what Ducat calls a "post-truth moment," where facts and fiction blur, and the leader's word becomes the sole arbiter of reality.President

I think Lyndon B. Johnson was onto something when he said, "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."