Monday, December 18, 2017

Yet Another Study: Racial Resentment Fueled Trump Vote

Republicans and lazy journalist continue to use the meme of economic uncertainty to explain the votes of whites who voted for Donald Trump.  However, at this point, study after study has documented that the really determining factor was racial resentment and by extension concerns about loss of white privilege and guaranteed social standing.   The current budget busting GOP tax bill shows the lie of those who claim that  it was their desire for "fiscal conservatism" that moved them to vote for Trump.  In short, these voters, if they will not admit their racial motivations, are deluding themselves and need to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror. Demographic change is a fact and despite the Trump/Pence regime's effort to allow racial discrimination and to allow Christofascists (a majority of whom, in my view are racists) to wage war on the LGBT community will not stop the changing nature of American society.  All this rear guard efforts will do long term is set the stage for an anti-white backlash at some future date.  A piece in Vox looks at the latest study on Trump voters' real motivations.  Here are excerpts:
More than a year after President Donald Trump won the election, there are still some questions about what drove him to victory: Was it genuine anxiety about the state of the economy? Or was it racism and racial resentment?
Over at the Washington Post, researchers Matthew Fowler, Vladimir Medenica, and Cathy Cohen have published the results of a new survey on these questions, with a focus on the 41 percent of white millennials who voted for Trump and the sense of “white vulnerability” that motivated them. The conclusion is very clear:
Contrary to what some have suggested, white millennial Trump voters were not in more economically precarious situations than non-Trump voters. Fully 86 percent of them reported being employed, a rate similar to non-Trump voters; and they were 14 percent less likely to be low income than white voters who did not support Trump. Employment and income were not significantly related to that sense of white vulnerability.
So what was? Racial resentment.
Even when controlling for partisanship, ideology, region and a host of other factors, white millennials fit Michael Tesler’s analysis, explored here. As he put it, economic anxiety isn’t driving racial resentment; rather, racial resentment is driving economic anxiety. We found, as he has in a larger population, that racial resentment is the biggest predictor of white vulnerability among white millennials. Economic variables like education, income and employment made a negligible difference.
To anyone who’s been following the research on this, the findings should come as little surprise. There have now been numerous studies that found support for Trump is closely linked to racial resentment, defined by Fowler, Medenica, and Cohen as “a moral feeling that blacks violate such traditional American values as individualism and self-reliance.”
This is crucial to understanding both Trump’s rise and how to overcome Trump. As a presidential candidate, Trump made all sorts of racist comments . . . . and deploying dog whistles about “law and order.”
The studies suggest that these kinds of comments and actions are not just incidental to Trump; they are at the core of his political success. If Democrats want to defeat him, they will need to overcome that racial resentment.
This is not a one-off finding. At this point, the evidence that Trump’s rise was driven by racism and racial resentment is fairly stacked.
One paper, published in January by political scientists Brian Schaffner, Matthew MacWilliams, and Tatishe Nteta, found that voters’ measures of sexism and racism correlated much more closely with support for Trump than economic dissatisfaction after controlling for factors like partisanship and political ideology.
Another study, conducted by researchers Brenda Major, Alison Blodorn, and Gregory Major Blascovich shortly before the election, found that if people who strongly identified as white were told that nonwhite groups will outnumber white people in 2042, they became more likely to support Trump.
And a study, published in November by researchers Matthew Luttig, Christopher Federico, and Howard Lavine, found that Trump supporters were much more likely to change their views on housing policy based on race. In this study, respondents were randomly assigned “a subtle image of either a black or a white man.” Then, they were asked about views on housing policy.  The researchers found that Trump supporters were much more likely to be impacted by the image of a black man.
The point, at least for me, is not to demonize Trump voters. The point is to understand them in order to better grasp what motivated them to vote for someone who ran a clearly bigoted campaign and who most voters agreed is unqualified for the nation’s highest office.
As Schaffner, MacWilliams, and Nteta wrote in their paper, there’s growing evidence that 2016 was unique — in that racism and sexism played a more powerful role than in recent presidential elections. “Specifically, we find no statistically significant relationship between either the racism or sexism scales and favorability ratings of either [previous Republican candidates] John McCain or Mitt Romney,” they wrote. “However, the pattern is quite strong for favorability ratings of Donald Trump.”

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