The psychology of Trump’s popularity

May 25, 2016

Professor David Mayer, writing in Fast Company, says people sometimes secretly want leaders who will be unethical on their behalf.

There’s no end to the theories explaining Donald Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican presidential ticket. But Michigan Ross Professor David Mayer, in his Fast Company column, says the answer lies not in politics but in human psychology.

“Why? Because two powerful impulses that virtually all of us share sometimes converge — so we reconcile them, occasionally in strange ways: We want to feel like good people, and we also want self-interested outcomes,” he writes.

Mayer says this is sometimes resolved by moral “outsourcing.” Nobody wants to be seen as unethical, so they pass that responsibility off to somebody else, such as a leader.

Reprinted from Ross Thought in Action.