Authoritarian Nightmare

The Ongoing Threat of Trump's Followers

Donald Trump may be gone from the White House, but the 75 million people who voted for him are still out there . . .

Updated to reflect election results, this is a look at the entirety of the Trump phenomenon, using psychological and social science studies, as well as polling analyses, to understand Donald Trump’s followers, and what they will do now that he’s gone.

To find out, John Dean, of Watergate fame, joined with Bob Altemeyer, a professor of psychology with a unique area of expertise: Authoritarianism.

Relying on social science findings and psychological diagnostic tools (such as the “Power Mad Scale” and the “Con Man Scale”), and including exclusive research and analysis from the Monmouth University Polling Institute (one of America’s most respected public opinion research foundations), the authors provide us with an eye-opening understanding of the Trump phenomenon — and how it may not go away, whatever becomes of Trump.


Read additional materials from the Authoritarian Nightmare index and appendices.

John W. Dean served as White House counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1970 to 1973. During the Watergate scandal, his Senate testimony helped lead to Nixon’s resignation. Dean has written about Watergate in his New York Times bestsellers Blind Ambition and The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It. Among his other books are the national bestsellers Worse Than Watergate and Conservatives Without Conscience. A retired investment banker, Dean is now a columnist, commentator, and teacher in a continuing legal education program for attorneys, the Watergate CLE. He is a regular political and legal commentator on CNN News.

Bob Altemeyer‘s research on the psychological makeup of authoritarian leaders and followers has established him as the recognized expert in the field. He is the author of The Authoritarians and many other titles. Altemeyer taught psychology at the University of Manitoba and was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Behavioral Science Research in 1986.

“Those who want to try to understand Trump’s followers and what motivates them will find it important and alarming.” Linda Killian, The Washington Post

”One of the most intriguing of the Trump books … It’s incendiary.” —Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post

”The book minces no words . . . Dean gives the kind of context that only someone in the inner circle of Presidential politics for so many decades can provide.” —Sara Au, Psychology Today

”Marshals data from a previously unpublished nationwide survey showing a striking desire for strong authoritarian leadership among Republican voters.” —Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

”A book that won’t change minds but that will give anti-Trumpers plenty of grist for the mill.” Kirkus Reviews


Praise for John W. Dean’s previous title, Blind Ambition …

“Before you know it, you are turning the pages of Mr. Dean’s book as if you are reading about Watergate for the first time. And by the time you have finished, you are convinced that no previous book about the scandal—not even those by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein—has begun to tell the inside story as this one does.” —The New York Times

“A lively chronicle of megalomania and deception . . . Eminently readable . . . Dean is particularly good at reading the intricate network of White House power relationships, which he once climbed so surely.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The best and most enduring book written from inside the Nixon White House . . . A classic of lost illusions.” —Sidney Blumenthal, New York Times–bestselling author of The Clinton Wars

“Rare indeed is a memoir so utterly lacking in self-righteousness, false piety, and special pleading. It is a sobering reminder of the perils of ambition.” —Stanley Kutler, author of The Wars of Watergate