Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Yes It Was Racism, Stupid

If you're only going to read one "Yes, it was racism and not the economy that got Trump elected, stupid" piece I'd recommend this one by Adam Serwer on "The Nationalist's Delusion."  Short version:
"One hundred thirty-nine years since Reconstruction, and half a century since the tail end of the civil-rights movement, a majority of white voters backed a candidate who explicitly pledged to use the power of the state against people of color and religious minorities, and stood by him as that pledge has been among the few to survive the first year of his presidency. Their support was enough to win the White House, and has solidified a return to a politics of white identity that has been one of the most destructive forces in American history. This all occurred before the eyes of a disbelieving press and political class, who plunged into fierce denial about how and why this had happened. That is the story of the 2016 election."
Extended version:
"Trump’s support among whites decreases the higher you go on the scales of income and education. But the controlling factor seems to be not economic distress but an inclination to see nonwhites as the cause of economic problems. The poorest voters were somewhat less likely to vote for Trump than those a rung or two above them on the economic ladder. The highest-income voters actually supported Trump less than they did Mitt Romney, who in 2012 won 54 percent of voters making more than $100,000—several points more than Trump secured, although he still fared better than Clinton. It was among voters in the middle, those whose economic circumstances were precarious but not bleak, where the benefits of Du Bois’s psychic wage appeared most in danger of being devalued, and where Trump’s message resonated most strongly. They surged toward the Republican column.
Yet when social scientists control for white voters’ racial attitudes—that is, whether those voters hold 'racially resentful' views about blacks and immigrants—even the educational divide disappears. In other words, the relevant factor in support for Trump among white voters was not education, or even income, but the ideological frame with which they understood their challenges and misfortunes. It is also why voters of color—who suffered a genuine economic calamity in the decade before Trump’s election—were almost entirely immune to those same appeals."
It's really worth reading the whole thing.

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