You would have thought the Great Recession would have completely discredited the Republican Party, but for good reason, that didn't happen. According to researcher Robert Altmeyer:
Conservatives tend to be drawn to authoritarianism when public opinion is fractious and there is a loss of confidence in public institutions.
Republicans feel even more desperate now, despite the fact that their own policies caused a loss of confidence in public institutions, which is addressed (highlighted) below.
Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, and Sulloway (2003) have proposed that Authoritarianism, RWA and other similar constructs of political conservatism has similar characteristics as to authoritarianism, with resistance to change, and justification for inequality as the core components. In addition, conservative individuals have needs to manage uncertainty and threat with both situational motives (for example, striving for security and dominance in social hierarchies) and dispositional motives (for example, terror management and self-esteem).This is the most jaw dropping finding:
Right-wing authoritarians are people who have a high degree of willingness to submit to authorities they perceive as established and legitimate, who adhere to societal conventions and norms, and who are hostile and punitive in their attitudes towards people who don't adhere to them. They value uniformity and are in favor of using group authority, including coercion, to achieve it.
Right-wing authoritarians want society and social interactions structured in ways that increase uniformity and minimize diversity. In order to achieve that, they tend to be in favor of social control, coercion, and the use of group authority to place constraints on the behaviors of people such as gays and lesbians, political dissidents, ethnic minorities, immigrants, feminists and atheists. These constraints might include restrictions on immigration, limits on free speech and association and laws regulating moral behavior. It is the willingness to support or take action that leads to increased social uniformity that makes right-wing authoritarianism more than just a personal distaste for difference. Right-wing authoritarianism is characterized by obedience to authority, moral absolutism, racial and ethnic prejudice, and intolerance and punitiveness towards dissidents and deviants. 
According to research by Robert Altemeyer, right-wing authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning. Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence. They are also more likely to uncritically accept insufficient evidence that supports their beliefs, and they are less likely to acknowledge their own limitations. In roleplaying situations, authoritarians tend to seek dominance over others by being competitive and destructive instead of cooperative.
In a study by Altemeyer, 68 authoritarians played a three hour simulation of the Earth's future entitled the Global change game. Unlike a comparison game played by individuals with low RWA scores, which resulted in world peace and widespread international cooperation, the simulation by authoritarians became highly militarized and eventually entered the stage of nuclear war. By the end of the high RWA game, the entire population of the earth was declared dead.