“White, Christian and male voters, the study suggests, turned to Mr. Trump because they felt their status was at risk.”https://t.co/ggbfodyMUX
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) April 26, 2018
It’s the latest euphemism for “racism, with a grounding in sexism”. From the Atlantic, “People Voted for Trump Because They Were Anxious, Not Poor”:
… After analyzing in-depth survey data from 2012 and 2016, the University of Pennsylvania political scientist Diana C. Mutz argues that it’s the [former]. In a new article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, she added her conclusion to the growing body of evidence that the 2016 election was not about economic hardship.
“Instead,” she writes, “it was about dominant groups that felt threatened by change and a candidate who took advantage of that trend.”
“For the first time since Europeans arrived in this country,” Mutz notes, “white Americans are being told that they will soon be a minority race.” When members of a historically dominant group feel threatened, she explains, they go through some interesting psychological twists and turns to make themselves feel okay again. First, they get nostalgic and try to protect the status quo however they can. They defend their own group (“all lives matter”), they start behaving in more traditional ways, and they start to feel more negatively toward other groups…
Mutz examined voters whose incomes declined, or didn’t increase much, or who lost their jobs, or who were concerned about expenses, or who thought they had been personally hurt by trade. None of those things motivated people to switch from voting for Obama in 2012 to supporting Trump in 2016. Indeed, manufacturing employment in the United States has actually increased somewhat since 2010. And as my colleague Adam Serwer has pointed out, “Clinton defeated Trump handily among Americans making less than $50,000 a year.”
Meanwhile, a few things did correlate with support for Trump: a voter’s desire for their group to be dominant, as well as how much they disagreed with Clinton’s views on trade and China. Trump supporters were also more likely than Clinton voters to feel that “the American way of life is threatened,” and that high-status groups, like men, Christians, and whites, are discriminated against…
Study not only explains why white voters, especially men, supported Trump but why *media pundits* chose to focus on economics as the cause. https://t.co/mE62y75nqS
— Soraya Chemaly (@schemaly) April 23, 2018
I don’t think that was ever a prevailing opinion except among some all-white groups. Plenty of white people—I think especial those of us from working class roots—& most people of color thought it was bs. https://t.co/JtfzzocI4k
— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) April 24, 2018
Michael (no, not *that* guy) Cohen, at the Boston Globe, is more honest:
… Mutz found little to no evidence that a decline in income, loss of a job, or concerns over a worsening “personal financial situation” drove voter preference. Rising unemployment or a drop in manufacturing jobs in the area where someone lived wasn’t much of a factor either. In fact, “living in an area with a high median income” was a far more important predictor of a vote for Trump. This is precisely the opposite of what one might expect for an election allegedly decided by “economic anxiety.”…
Many pundits (myself included) came to believe that Trump’s racism would doom his chances. The opposite occurred. It spearheaded his victory. It’s small wonder that as president Trump has stuck to race-baiting and xenophobia on everything from immigration and terrorism to protests at NFL games. The man might not understand anything about policy or how to be president, but he does appear to grasp that his supporters share his cultural and racial resentments — and that the key to his continued political success is to keep fanning those flames.
The lesson for Democrats is that winning over Trump voters on economic issues may not be the most effective message in upcoming midterm election. The better strategy is to activate the multi-racial coalition of blacks, Hispanics, white liberals, and suburban women who supported Clinton in 2016 and who have become the engine of the so-called resistance. Of course, that also means that the racial resentments activated by Trump will not be dissipated — and if the attacks on Clinton are any indication, will be further magnified. It’s a depressing reminder that as much as we’d like to wish 2016 away, it will remain with us for some time to come.
If we can’t change their tiny minds — or, as the Media Village Idiots would prefer, pretend a more thoughtful, less prejudiced electorate into being — then we can at least be clear about who our “friends” really are.