Many political observers point to America’s long, dark history of racism and bigotry to explain the rise of US president Donald Trump. However, social psychology’s theory of “othering” offers an alternative way of understanding Trump’s appeal – one that focuses on humans’ innate need to differentiate themselves from others. In this fascinating article for Foreign Affairs, political scientist Jeff Colgan stresses the need for leaders to accept these tendencies and find ways to channel them more constructively.
About the Author
Jeff D. Colgan is the Richard Holbrooke Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.