Eric Uslaner Presented New Research Project within the Framework of the 8th LCSR International Workshop
On April, 13th, the last day of the XIXth April International Academic Conference on Social and Economic Development in HSE, Professor Eric M. Uslaner gave a key lecture on “National Identity and Political Polarization”. It was held within the framework of the 8th LSCR International Workshop “Quantitative Research of Social Changes across the World”.
The lecture presented a new project by Professor Uslaner. Its main idea is to reveal the connection between national self-identification and the goals of big politics by the example of the pre-election company and the inauguration project of Donald Trump. Political polarization means resolving issues in the political programs of the left or right parties. Professor Uslaner believes that Trump was in a winning position due to his slogans about “true Americans”, which means that he gave promises to protect the interests of the majority.
Over the years, national, religious and other minorities in the US have fought so successfully for their rights, that at some point the balance has been violated and the share of their votes has become more weighty for adopting different-level political decisions. Minorities received privileges, but they haven’t started to work harder for the American nation, and, on the contrary, caused national heterogeneity. The percentage of votes of typical Americans with an average level of education living in the central states has decreased, and they have experienced the lack of governmental support. This circumstance forced Trump to direct the vector of his pre-election slogans to national identity, departing from the widespread notions that “anyone can become an American.”
According to the results of many surveys (for example, the 2016 American National Election Study, the 1991 ANES Pilot, the General Social Survey in 1996 and 2014, the Associated Press / NORC study (2017) and others), to be a typical representative of the United States, one has to: be born in the US (and have ancestors from the United States), live there most of his life, be a Christian, posess white skin and American citizenship, feel a commitment to American culture, respect the political institutions of the United States. Over the past 20 years, the proportion of Americans who consider their living standards to be lower than their parents’, has risen from 13% to 21%. Among the respondents, there was a dominating opinion that one of the features of a «true American» is «being hardworking for pursuing success (93% of respondents), whereas as soon as 26% of African-Americans were hardworking. They have legal privileges, and they use it, since they are formally a minority.
Similar surveys were conducted in many European countries, as well as in Canada, Japan, India, Russia, and Mexico. In some European countries (France, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Greece, etc.), immigration and national identity issues have recently taken on a significant position in the programs of advanced political parties (the result is more common in countries where left parties are in power), in some countries (Ireland, Portugal, Belgium) – these questions do not play a significant political role. According to the received data, there are no counties all over the world, in which these issues are as closely connected to the programs of political parties as they are in the USA.
Klavdiya Chernilevskaya & Jovana Zafirović