Mark Oprea in the Los Angeles Review of Books:
ON JULY 21, 2016, the Republican National Convention was in full swing and delegates in ruddy Americana and cowboy attire packed the Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. Although it’s hard for most of us to recall, this was a time where even staunch Republicans were doubting Trump’s ascendency to the United States’s highest office. I was there, and remember it fondly, and was intrigued as to why those who did want Trump were willing to vote for a man who had called Mexicans rapists and had made fun of a handicapped New York Times journalist. A 52-year-old delegate from Vermont stressed the usual three prongs: the border, anti-terrorism, the military. Trump’s insensitivity mattered not. “To me,” the delegate said, “if you’re not safe, then you’ve got nothing.”
The same search for the soul of the average Trump diehard is found in John Hibbing’s The Securitarian Personality, a 304-page-long petri dish observation of the brain matter that lies tucked in the belts of MAGA hats. Using Theodor Adorno’s The Authoritarian Personality as its theoretical base, Hibbing delves into the various facets of personality, demographics, behavior, and mindset that compose both devoted and on-the-fence Trump supporters and their conservative cousins, while tip-toeing across the tightrope strung between right-leaning sympathy and “racist” accusation.