Academic Study With North Dakota Connection Concludes That Republicans Promote Violence and Reject Democratic Norms


Gale MCCray, 74, of Fort Worth, Texas, holds his sign protesting President Trump on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, at the intersection of Main Avenue and 2nd Street, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MINOT, N.D. — I wish it were less true, but the reality of politics is that most people are fine with authoritarianism as long as it’s the right kind of authoritarianism.

I was thinking about that truth while reading this Washington Post article about a study from an international team of academics (including North Dakota State University political scientist Daniel Pemstein) purporting to show that Republicans have shifted toward ugly authoritarianism while Democrats have remained pure as the driven snow.

That last is not much of a hyperbole on my part. This from the summary of the study’s findings: “V-Party’s Illiberalism Index shows that the Republican party in the US has retreated from upholding democratic norms in recent years. Its rhetoric is closer to authoritarian parties, such as AKPin Turkey and Fidesz in Hungary. Conversely, the Democratic party has retained a commitment to longstanding democratic standards.”

Republicans bad; Democrats good.

A ludicrous and deeply unhelpful conclusion.

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