Electoral Chair’s Seminar – 20 March

The United States Military in a Political Crisis: Experimental Design

Theodore McLauchlin-Université de Montréal

These are challenging times for democracy in the United States, and the armed forces are not immune from controversy. In recent years, there has been growing concern about the potential use by politicians of the military for partisan political ends and even for the purpose of subverting democratic rule. One of the most worrisome future scenarios is that a political leader would employ military force to suppress nonviolent protest. How would service members, veterans and civilians view the appropriateness of such orders? How might members of the military respond to such orders? Could such a scenario lead to a breakdown in discipline and tensions within the military? These are the animating research questions for a new survey project. We will conduct a conjoint vignette experiment with active-duty service personnel, veterans, and civilians in order to analyze their willingness to support the use of military force in protest, and how it varies with the degree of apparent violence of the protest and the proposed response; partisanship; and a reminder of the norms of an apolitical military. We will also analyze respondents’ approval or disapproval of service members refusing to deploy.

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This content has been updated on 14 March 2024 at 9 h 50 min.