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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Racism and Donald Trump election

Racism motivated Trump voters more than authoritarianism
(Graphs referenced int his WP article are on the website link)

Image result for racism graphic design
Racism outweighed other surveyed factors among those analyzed in this article

People who voted for Donald Trump are flat out telling lies if they deny they voted with a racist point of view in the 2016 election.   I would speculate even further that the Russians were infused by racism when they so visibly interfered with the presidential election.  My family is half Ukranian - Russian, so I know what deep ethnic feelings are harbored against people of color.

Here is the report from The Monkey Cage analysis by Thomas Wood in The Washington Post:

During the 2016 presidential campaign, many observers wondered exactly what motivated voters most: Was it income? Authoritarianism? Racial attitudes?

Let the analyses begin. Last week, the widely respected 2016 American National Election Study was released, sending political scientists into a flurry of data modeling and chart making.

The ANES- American National Election Study- has been conducted since 1948, at first through in-person surveys, and now also online, with about 1,200 nationally representative respondents answering some questions for about 80 minutes. This incredibly rich, publicly funded data source allows us to put elections into historical perspective, examining how much each factor affected the vote in 2016 compared with other recent elections.

The first narrative was about how income affected vote choice. Trump was said to be unusually appealing to low-income voters, especially in the Midwest, compared with recent Republican presidential nominees. 

The ANES provides us data on income and presidential vote choice going back to 1948. To remove the effects of inflation and rising prosperity, I plot the percentage voting for the Republican presidential candidate relative to the overall sample, by where they rank in U.S. income, from the top to the bottom fifth. The dashed horizontal line shows the average likelihood of voting for the GOP presidential candidate that year; a point above that means an income cohort was more likely than the other groups to vote for the Republican. To most directly test the Donald Trump income hypothesis, I’ve restricted this analysis to white voters.

2016 was plainly an anomaly. While the wealthy are usually most likely to vote for the Republican, they didn’t this time; and while the poor are usually less likely to vote for the Republican, they were unusually supportive of Trump. And the degree to which the wealthy disdained the 2016 Republican candidate was without recent historical precedent.

Authoritarians or not?

Many commentators and social scientists wrote about how much authoritarianism influenced voters. Authoritarianism, as used by political scientists, isn’t the same as fascism; it’s a psychological disposition in which voters have an aversion to social change and threats to social order. Since respondents might not want to say they fear chaos or are drawn to strong leadership, this disposition is measured by asking voters about the right way to rear children.
The idea is that voters anxious about change and disorder will say it’s best to encourage children to follow rules. For instance, respondents are asked whether it’s better when children are considerate (likely more liberal) or well-behaved (likely more authoritarian), or whether they should be self-reliant (likely more liberal) or obedient (likely more authoritarian).

Trump’s voters appear a little less authoritarian than recent white Republican voters. In other words, open to change.




Did racism affect the voting?

Many observers debated how important Trump’s racial appeals were to his voters. During the campaign, Trump made overt racial comments, with seemingly little electoral penalty. Could the unusual 2016 race have further affected Americans’ racial attitudes?

To test this, I use what is called the “symbolic racism scale” to compare whites who voted for the Democratic presidential candidate with those who voted for the Republican. This scale measures racial attitudes among respondents who know that it’s socially unacceptable to say things perceived as racially prejudiced. Rather than asking overtly prejudiced questions — “do you believe blacks are lazy” — we ask whether racial inequalities today are a result of social bias or personal lack of effort and irresponsibility.
Since 1988, we’ve never seen such a clear correspondence between vote choice and racial perceptions. The biggest movement was among those who voted for the Democrat, who were far less likely to agree with attitudes coded as more racially biased.

In other words, race was a big motivator for those who chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton (you can see this evidenced in the selection of who is sitting in the administrative leadership positions).

So which of these had the biggest influence?
Finally, the statistical tool of regression can tease apart which had more influence on the 2016 vote: authoritarianism or symbolic racism, after controlling for education, race, ideology, and age. Moving from the 50th to the 75th percentile in the authoritarian scale made someone about 3 percent more likely to vote for Trump. The same jump on the SRS scale made someone 20 percent more likely to vote for Trump.


Racial attitudes made a bigger difference in electing Trump than authoritarianism.

Thomas Wood is an assistant professor of political science at Ohio State University. He studies public opinion and elections. Follow him on Twitter @thomasjwood.

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