The Resonance of Repression: Moral Intuitions, Skepticism toward Racial Injustice, and Public Support for Trump’s “Law and Order” Response to the 2020 Racial Justice Protests

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Abstract

The limited research on support for state repression of protests points to protest violence, ideological opposition, and racial/ethnic resentment, but few have examined how moral intuitions influence support for repression and racialized opposition to protest claims. The authors use a national survey of 1,030 respondents, fielded in June 2020 at the height of the post-Floyd Black Lives Matter protests, to investigate the moral motivations for supporting Trump’s “law and order” response. Drawing on moral foundations theory, the authors hypothesize that individualizing moral intuitions that prioritize care and protection of the vulnerable (a social justice orientation) influences opposition to Trump, whereas binding moral intuitions that prioritize social stability (a social order orientation) influence support for “law and order.” The authors find strong support for these hypotheses, and skepticism toward racial injustice claims mediates much of these effects. This research thus expands the limited literature on public support for protest repression by illuminating the moral dimension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocius
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences

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