Empathy’s Role in the 2016 Presidential Election

The 2016 presidential election was shaping up to be historic almost no matter who won. Some of the Republicans running were Latino, one of the Democrats was Jewish, and there were women who were real contenders to be president. Despite all this diversity, and despite running on a platform that included racism, sexism, and xenophobia, Donald Trump won the presidential election. This topic is relevant to this class because it involves empathy. What role did empathy play in creating this outcome? Do conservatives lack empathy towards minorities, do liberals lack empathy for conservatives, or is it both? Answering this will give better insight into how people in our country as a whole (not just those on the liberal coasts) think, what influences them, and what led them to vote for a candidate with no experience in politics.


Scholarly Sources

Courtwright, David T. Book Details Table of Contents Tab Currently Selected Annotations Search within Book Additional Resources Table Of Content Section NO RIGHT TURN : Conservative Politics in a Liberal America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U, 2010. Print.

Disalvo, Daniel, and Jeffrey Stonecash, eds. The Forum A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Gardner, Deborah B. “The 2016 Presidential Election: Reality vs. Myths.” Nursing Academics (2016): n. pag. Health Reference Center – Academic [Gale]. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
Karol, David. US Presidential Election 2016. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Wiley Online Library. 21 Aug. 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
Major, Brenda, Alison Blodorn, and Gregory Major Blascovich. “The Threat of Increasing Diversity: Why Many White Americans Support Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.” Sage Journals(2016): n. pag. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

7 thoughts on “Empathy’s Role in the 2016 Presidential Election

  1. I really like your research topic! Question: What role did empathy play in creating this outcome? Some key terms will be Democrat, Republican, xenophobia, sexism, racism, conservatives, liberals, white America, silent majority and victim. It is not super clear what your overall argument is. Even if it is that liberals and conservatives lack empathy now, what is your overall stance on what empathy is or is doing in America?

    Maybe talk about what we can learn from this election and the impacts of empathy in politics. You can look at the political demographics within states. Overall, this topic seems like a good amount for an 8-12 page paper. You could probably write many pages on this topic but I like that you are focusing on conservatives and liberals and their tension. In addition to talking about Trump’s platform and his (lack of) empathy for others, are you going to talk about other candidates? Are you going to talk about empathy leading up to the election or empathy now that Trump has been elected? I think talking about all of this is a lot to do in one paper. Maybe focus on the people as a whole and their empathy (or lack thereof) for Trump since he has been elected and what that can mean for future candidates.

  2. Your topic is so interesting! I think the only issue with your topic will be finding enough sources. Given that this is a very recent topic, it might be challenging to find a collection of scholarly sources that covers your topics well. That said, you can probably find a lot of information using past history of the two parties. You could use both of the candidate’s past to formulate an argument. I think that this is definitely specific enough that it could be completely covered within the length requirement. Empathy is definitely one of your key terms, which I think will really help relate your argument back to our studies in this class.

  3. Your topic is so interesting! I cannot wait to read it!

    Your question is clear: “How did empathy play a role in the 2016 precedential election?” and the supplementary questions you listed above are great and will take this topic to the appropriate length for this assignment.

    I think it would be beneficial to find scholarly sources containing research on the empathic abilities depending on political party. Here are some interesting articles I found that may link to scholarly sources:



    Just a simple google search “empathy in conservatives” led to a bunch of information, including a link to scholarly sources, so give it a shot!

    Your topic is definitely debatable and it is hard to see your position now because I think it will take some more in-depth research to do so, but as of now I like the explorative attitude you are taking and I think this will lead you to some great sources. It may be interesting to argue for or against empathy in making political decisions. This is hard because it is hard to say that there is a “correct” political position, so taking the position “empathy leads to the best decision making in politics” would be a difficult thing to argue… Maybe argue for the correct use of empathy in politics or even argue that it knows no bounds or that it should be limited? Arguing that empathy simply played role in the 2016 political decision is not debatable enough, but arguing for empathy playing a specific, causal role may be different.

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