Studies Conclude: Majority of Trump Voters Motivated By Racism—Not Just Economic Concerns
Trump voters are hypocrites
A recent study published by American National Election Studies (ANES) confirms what many of us already suspected: That most voters who supported Trump weren’t doing so because of his economic policies. They were doing it because they liked and supported his racist policies instead.
According to Philip Klinkner, a political scientist at Hamilton College:
“Whether it’s good politics to say so or not, the evidence from the 2016 election is very clear that attitudes about blacks, immigrants and Muslims were a key component of Trump’s appeal,”
There are countless reports of voters who regret supporting Trump, now that he’s placed programs they rely on in the guillotine. And despite that, some still support him. But their disdain for illegal immigrants and the changing demographics within the U.S. remains constant, like veins of fool’s gold running through a shuttered mine.
Betty Harris, a widow from Oklahoma, voted for Barack Obama when he ran in 2008. But she viewed him as too sympathetic to Muslims and voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. In 2016, she voted for Trump, The Washington Post reports.
She’s heartened by Trump’s promises to crack down on illegal immigration. She thinks it has harmed the job market, and she’s also glad Trump is pressuring manufacturers into staying in the U.S. Harris began feeling this way when her daughters were out of work for months because the companies that employed them moved overseas.
Then there’s Tamara Estes, who’s divorced and works as a bus driver. Every day she’s reminded how much the U.S. is changing. The Post reports:
“White enrollment in Texas schools recently dipped 30 percent. Hispanics are the new majority: Pew estimates that more than 13 percent of Texas students are the children of undocumented parents. Estes wants a better-paying job but says it’s hard to get one these days if you speak only English. Increasingly, the first question in any job interview is, ‘Habla Español?'”
Another Oklahoma resident, Judy Banks, 70, said she voted for Trump because “he was talking about getting rid of those illegals. Now, however, she’s afraid that the president’s proposed budget cuts may result in the loss of her job through the Labor Department’s Senior Community Service Employment Program.
“If I lose this job, I’ll sit home and die,”
Incredibly, she said she may still vote for Trump in 2020. What kind of insane logic is that?
Related: New Analysis Shows GOP Health Plan Hits Trump Voters Hardest by Taking Away Thousands of Dollars
For Klinkner, an expert on race relations, the new data provided by the ANES study didn’t come as a huge surprise. The study supported an earlier one that found white voters who believed President Obama was a Muslim were 89 percent more likely to support Trump over Hillary Clinton.
According to The Intercept, Klinkner also noted that people’s attitudes regarding blacks, immigrants, and Muslims were a key part of Trump’s appeal. A good example of this was the fact that “in 2016 Trump did worse than Mitt Romney among voters with low and moderate levels of racial resentment, but much better among those with high level resentment.”
And this recent data compiled by ANES confirms what scores of other studies have illustrated since the beginning of the campaign for president, Hasan notes.
“The race was about race.”
Surprisingly, progressives like sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and filmmaker Michael Moore also blamed income inequality — not racism or xenophobia — for the rise of Trump. And as you might guess, some political analysts are skeptical.
“Income predicted support for (John)McCain and (Mitt) Romney, but not Trump,” wrote analysts Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel for The Nation.
They found that Trump won a majority of votes among white adults who didn’t have college educations, but he also won a majority of votes among college-educated white adults. He also did better among young white adults than Clinton and drew plenty of support from white women. Overall, white voters supported Trump regardless of their age, gender, income and education.
“Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics,” McDaniel and McElwee wrote.
So now the rest of us are being punished because of the racist and Islamophobic voters who supported Trump over their fake claims of being concerned about economic inequality. He gave these people a voice, but that voice has grown harsh with self-recrimination because these people now realize they goofed. But it’s an expensive goof for progressives and the country as Trump guts the programs all of us, including his supporters, rely on.
Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
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Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.
Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.