Neuroscientist: Why Trumpists Will Never Abandon Trump

–Bobby Azarian, cognitive neuroscientist and blogger for Psychology Today, joins David to discuss how Donald trump continues to hold on to his base’s support

 

 

reason that this is relates to the
unwavering support so this effect is is
amplified in conservatives because
conservatives have this hypersensitivity
to threat generally speaking so by that
I mean they tend to focus on threat more
and they tend to have this exaggerated
fear response to threatening messages so
we know this from a number of different
studies for example one study took
sir motives and liberals and had them
sit in front of a computer screen where
they showed a bunch of different images
some of the images were threatening
somewhere neutrals some are positive and
they track their eye movements and what
they found is that conservatives fixated
on the threatening images longer and
they oriented toward the threatening
images more quickly then liberals so
yeah we call that being hyper-vigilant
for threat and a couple other studies
showed that conservatives tend to have a
larger amygdala and a more reactive
amygdala in response to threat yes oh
the amygdala is a brain structure that
is involved in processing threat and
it’s also associated with the fear
response
so when Donald Trump is saying these
scary messages their brains are engaged
even more strongly his messages are more
salient because they’re in a way tuned
into threat and I’m not really trying to
pick on conservatives here that’s what
the studies show also you know someone
could interpret that differently and you
could see it as Republicans or
conservatives might also be better
equipped to respond to a threat in the
case that you know something does happen
because they’re they’re hyper vigilant
absolutely fascinating stuff we’ve been
speaking with cognitive neuroscientist
Bobby Azarian who also blogs for
Psychology Today you can follow him on
twitter at bobby Azarian and check out

Why Republicans Stick With Trump

It’s all the things he hasn’t done. On key issues, the president has come around to conservative positions.

it’s instructive to examine what Mr. Trump hasn’t done. Since the campaign, Mr. Trump has abandoned many of his previous positions and embraced traditional conservative views.

Spending and taxes. During the election, Mr. Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Some Republicans feared his first initiative on taking office would be a pork-laden spending package reminiscent of Barack Obama’s stimulus bill. They also worried he would cut a deal with Democrats to raise taxes. “I am willing to pay more,” Mr. Trump said in May 2016. “And do you know what? The wealthy are willing to pay more.” Instead, the reverse happened: There’s no infrastructure plan in sight, except for the border wall, and Mr. Trump signed a sweeping bill to reduce personal and corporate taxes.

• Court nominees. In 2015 candidate Trump said his sister, a liberal federal judge, would be a “phenomenal” Supreme Court justice, though he claimed he had been joking. After Justice Antonin Scalia died, Mr. Trump decided to release a list of potential replacements. This was a central reason many conservatives voted for him. In appointing Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump made good on his promise. Since then, constitutionalists have cheered the quality and sheer quantity of his appointments to all levels of the judiciary.

• Abortion. In a successful effort to win the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Ted Cruz attacked Mr. Trump’s “New York values.” A Cruz TV ad showed Mr. Trump years earlier calling himself “pro-choice in every respect.” Yet President Trump has reinstated Reagan’s “Mexico City policy,” which prohibits federal funds from going to international groups that provide or promote abortions. Mr. Trump is also moving to require a hard division between abortion providers and clinics that take federal Title X funds, which would be a significant hit to Planned Parenthood.

• Israel. In February 2016, Mr. Trump claimed he would not take sides between Israel and the Palestinians, saying he would be “sort of a neutral guy.” Sen. Marco Rubio labeled this “an anti-Israel position.” Yet in December 2016, when the United Nations considered a resolution calling for an end to Israeli settlements, including in East Jerusalem, Mr. Trump said it was “extremely unfair to all Israelis” and pressed the Obama administration to veto it. Then this year Mr. Trump made good on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there. Time and again, he has proved to be a reliable ally for Israel.

• Guns. In a 2000 book, Mr. Trump wrote: “I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” After the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., earlier this year, President Trump did briefly suggest expanding background checks and raising the age limit to buy certain guns. But he quickly reverted to strong Second Amendment rhetoric, while saying that massacres could be prevented by fixing mental-health services and arming teachers.

 Health care. In 2015, candidate Trump told “60 Minutes” that his plan would provide universal health coverage paid for by the government. “I am going to take care of everybody,” he said. Campaigning in New Hampshire a few months later, he said Medicare could save an unrealistic $300 billion if the government negotiated with drug companies to lower prices. But as president, Mr. Trump has pursued more-conventional Republican policies, such as adding work requirements to Medicaid, expanding short-term insurance plans, and broadening association health plans.

• Defense. In a 2013 interview, Mr. Trump seemingly supported the sequestration cuts to defense spending—only complaining that, as “a very small percentage of the cuts that should be made,” sequestration wasn’t big enough. In 2015 he suggested, unworkably, that by eliminating waste he could strengthen the military while still reducing spending. Yet in his first address to Congress as president, he proposed a 10% increase to the Pentagon’s budget, which he later called “historic.”

It isn’t unusual for a politician to change positions. Unsurprisingly, voters tend to be more forgiving of flip-flops when they agree with the final result. This explains why Mr. Trump is forgiven for abandoning Republican orthodoxy on free trade and entitlement reform: those convictions were always held more by donors than voters. The same is true of support for “comprehensive immigration reform.” If he were to cross his party on issues like taxes, abortion or guns, it would be quite another story. But in the meantime, begging Republicans to ditch Mr. Trump is a waste of time.

 

 

It Took a Village to Raise Kavanaugh

Kavanaugh is the product of a community. He is the product of a conservative legal infrastructure that develops ideas, recruits talent, links rising stars, nurtures genius, molds and launches judicial nominees. It almost doesn’t matter which Republican is president. The conservative legal infrastructure is the entity driving the whole project. It almost doesn’t even matter if Kavanaugh is confirmed or shot down; there are dozens more who can fill the vacancy, just as smart and just as conservative.

This community didn’t just happen; it was self-consciously built. If you want to understand how to permanently change the political landscape, it’s a good idea to study and be inspired how it was done.

Back in the 1970s, the legal establishment was liberal. Yale Law School was the dynamic center of liberal legal thinking. Lawyers who had begun their careers during the New Deal were at the height of their power and prestige. The Ford Foundation funded a series of legal aid organizations to advance liberal causes and to dominate the law schools.

.. Business groups funded a series of conservative public interest law firms. But the business groups had no intellectual heft, they were opportunistic and they had zero moral appeal.

.. First came the critique. In 1980, Michael Horowitz wrote a seminal report for the Sarah Scaife Foundation, explaining why conservatives were impotent in the legal sphere. Horowitz suggested, for example, that conservative legal organizations pick cases in which they represented underdogs against big institutions associated with the left.

.. Then came the intellectual entrepreneurs. Aaron Director of the University of Chicago Law School inspired many of the thinkers — like Ronald Coase and Richard Posner — who would create the law and economics movement.

.. This movement was funded by groups like the John M. Olin Foundation, which was willing to invest for the long term and not worry about “metrics” or “measurable outcomes.”

.. Then came the network entrepreneurs. In 1982, a group of law students including Lee Liberman Otis, David McIntosh and Steven Calabresi founded the Federalist Society, which was fundamentally a debating society.

.. The Federalist Society spread to other law schools and beyond pretty quickly. It turned into a friendship community and a professional network, identifying conservative law students who could be promoted to fill clerkships.

.. the key features of the Federalist Society were the limits it would put on itself. It did not take stands on specific policy issues. It did not sponsor litigation on behalf of favorite causes. It did not rate judicial nominees the way the American Bar Association did.

.. Otis, McIntosh and Calabresi all went to work in the Reagan administration. They are now part of a vast army of conservative legal cadres, several generations deep, working throughout the system or at organizations like the Center for Individual Rights and the Institute for Justice.

.. Trump bucked the conservative foreign policy establishment and the conservative economic establishment, but he’s given the conservative legal establishment more power than ever before, which is why there are so few never-Trumpers in legal circles.

.. The members often break down on libertarian versus conservative lines, or, as we saw in the behind the scenes jockeying recently, between social conservatives (for Amy Coney Barrett) and establishment conservatives (for Brett Kavanaugh).