Monday, November 02, 2020

Being an America First populist correlates with reported lifetime criminal arrests.

Here is an interesting tidbit from Levi at al.:  


Using the 2016 American National Election Study, we develop comprehensive measures of the current populist moment in the United States. Our purpose is to develop a behavioral analysis of this current socially volatile moment. Using hierarchical modeling, we find that political narratives of America First populism are connected to reported lifetime criminal arrests, and this holds when taking into account political leanings or the economic precarity facing individuals. While we make no claims of causation, our findings provide important clues about the social volatility of the current moment. We find that political beliefs of America First express and reflect economic frustrations, and that the social boundaries these narratives draw against perceived outsiders and internationalism are associated with lifetime criminal arrests.
Despite research on the causes of populism and on the narratives of populist leaders, there is little empirical work on the relationship between populist attitudes and behavior, notably including criminal behavior. Our overarching concern is the recurrent social volatility of metaphorical populist themes that are central to impactful political messaging. Drawing on a national United States survey conducted around the 2016 election, we use multilevel models to show that the politically charged exclusionary boundaries of “America First” populism are behaviorally connected to increased odds of having been arrested. We argue that the rapid redrawing of social boundaries that make up populist attitudes is closely connected with the effects of economic and political frustrations during times of rapid social change. In the process, we develop a behavioral analysis of the social volatility of the recurrent populist movement in America.

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