Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level



Political Science


Andrew Dowdle

Committee Member

Janine Parry

Second Committee Member

Shirin Saeidi


Authoritarian Dynamic, Authoritarianism, Cultural Politics, Ethnocentrism, Polarization, Political Sorting, Social Sorting


In the American bipartisan system, ideologies and beliefs create political views that sort voters between two groups. Political sorting increases polarization based on cultural preferences for an in-group that become ethnocentric views, which develop into ethnocentric cultural politics. I present an augmented concept of authoritarianism in America that encompasses sorting based on aspects of political belief, encapsulating sources of polarization and cultural attachments to political associations.

I develop the argument that authoritarianism is the result of political attachment to identities that feed off one another as individuals identify with an in-group, such as a party platform. My central theory is based around the political preferences for cultural “oneness and sameness”, found to be a driving force of social sorting leading to polarization based on similar political preferences. I convey the maximum likelihood of authoritarian based sorting as a deciding factor for presidential vote, using by logit regression and frequency tables.

The findings reveal a higher likelihood that the Republican Party has become increasingly Authoritarian due to cultural sorting reliant on aspects of world view preferences. The findings particularly raise concern regarding what it means to be American between sorted groups. Applying an ethnocentric perspective to the theory of political sorting a culturally cohesive method of studying authoritarian behavior can be further developed.