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The Problem of Donald Trump and the Static Spectrum Fallacy

Fri, August 31, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Marriott, Dartmouth

Abstract

Donald Trump’s transformation of Republican Party ideology has helped reveal major problems in the political science discipline’s conception of ideology. Previous political science scholarship is dominated by the view that party ideology development can best be described by movement along a static ideological, spatial spectrum running from “left” to “right.” In reality, the meaning and content of “left” and “right” constantly evolve along with the issue positions of the two major parties. Trump’s transformation of the Republican Party and conservatism is only the latest example. By understanding the dynamic character of ideology, we can reconcile the paradox of how Trump’s Republican Party can change dramatically even while continuing to be identified with “conservatism” and the “Right.”

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