Politics of Fear and Attention-Based Politics Promote Donald Trump and Other Right-Wing Autocrats

Palabras clave

Comunicación Política
Políticas del miedo
políticas del shock
Donald Trump political communications
politics of fear
Attention-based politics
Autocratic politicians
Donald Trump


Any society runs on fundamental assumptions about rights, liberty, justice, and routine social processes that are implicitly and explicitly communicated. While these have often been problematic for minority group members, they are now less certain for many Americans and citizens in numerous democratic countries since Donald Trump refused to accept losing the 2020 presidential election and then incited an insurrection against the Congress of the United States on January 6, 2021, just weeks before his term ended. This shift is mainly due to policy changes, such as abolishing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Fairness Doctrine in 1987 that facilitated right-wing news organizations like Fox News (Honig, 2019), along with the rise of digital media that altered the communications ecology and promoted disinformation for profit (Benkler; Faris and Roberts, 2018; Benkler et al, 2017; Bennett and Livingston, 2018). These changes were the foundation for President Trump’s weaponizing of fear, especially his rhetoric about murderous illegal immigrants and the pursuit of a multi-billion border wall to keep Americans safe and keep his supporters fearful. Propaganda and false claims about immigrant criminality contribute to Republican supporters’ anger, but most anger is based on deep-seated fears and misinformation.