Moral Foundations, System Justification, and Support for Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election

Aaron C. Weinschenk, Christopher Dawes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    We examine the role of moral foundations and system justification in explaining support for Donald Trump in the 2016 general election using data from the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey. A number of important findings emerge. First, we find that there are important partisan and ideological differences when it comes to moral foundations and system justification. Second, we find that moral foundations predict support for Trump above and beyond traditional determinants of vote choice such as ideology, partisanship, religiosity, and demographic characteristics. Third, we find that a measure of political system justification is not related to vote choice in our sample. This casts doubt on the idea that support for Trump was mostly about protesting the political system. This paper adds to the growing body of research showing that psychological concepts and theories are important in understanding voter decision-making in the 2016 presidential election and in elections more generally.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)195-208
    Number of pages14
    JournalForum (Germany)
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Social Sciences(all)

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