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"The refusal by many voters to censure Trump for his transgressions has a powerful psychological basis to it in the wish to break free of authority," argues Barry Richards.

Trump the transgressor: the psychological appeal of leaders who break rules

Richards is a professor of political psychology at Bournemouth University in Dorset, England.

Many of today's politicians appear to appeal to the basic human need for safety, presenting their versions of strong leadership as the best hope for order and safety in a fearful world of growing instability and risk. Much evidence confirms that this appeal is certainly an important factor in the political landscape.

But alongside this, other psychological dynamics are currently influential in a number of Western democracies – particularly in attracting people to support populist leaders and their agendas.

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