More Evidence of the Xenophobia That Has Infected Trump's Republican Party
Republicans have a much harder time than Democrats with the increasing diversity of America and it's one of the defining political issues of the 21st century. Republicans tend to identify this growing diversity with illegal immigration and argue that they only seek to protect our "culture" and exclude drug dealers, rapists and terrorists. However, studies demonstrate that a significant number of Republicans simply don't feel comfortable in a nation where more and more folks don't look and sound exactly like them. Many are, simply put, xenophobes who fear these newcomers and their loss of social prestige and influence as the percentage of non-whites grows in the United States.
Illuminate: "Unsurprisingly, Robert Wuthnow ["The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America"] found that much of rural America's anger at Washington and their support for populist agendas like President Trump's has little to do with Free Trade and other macro-level economic policies, but is based instead on cultural anxiety and a fear of the changing demographics of America...."
"Wuthnow's investigation joins a growing body of research that demonstrates that the popular narrative that economic angst in rural America drove white rural voters to Trump is, at most, a small part of the story. Polling results such as these published in the Atlantic last year show that "fear of societal change, not economic pressure, motivated votes for the president among non-salaried workers without college degrees."
Illuminate: "In her new study of 1200 American voters from 2012 and 2016, University of Pennsylvania professor Diana C. Mutz came to many of the same conclusions as Wuthnow. "She found that traditionally high-status Americans, namely whites, feel their status in America and the world is threatened by America's growing racial diversity and a perceived loss of U.S. global dominance." Trump capitalized on this anxiety during the 2016 campaign."
And, new Pew Research Center polling provides further evidence; in their recent study, 47 % of white Republicans say it would bother them “some” or “a lot” to “hear people speak a language other than English in a public place.” Only 18 % of white Democrats said they would be similarly bothered. This vast gulf in tolerance is driven by the changing age and educational characteristics of our political parties. 46% of high school grads would be upset if they heard people speaking a foreign language, while only 22 % of college grads would be put off. And similarly, 82% of young people wouldn't mind the foreign speakers, but 45% of those over 65 would be offended. So, its no coincidence that the Republican Party under Trump is quickly becoming older, whiter and less educated.
Another question within the Pew survey drives home the point. 71% of Democrats say racial and ethnic diversity is very good for the country, while only 39% of Republicans agree. That is a significant gulf to overcome, but doing so would go a long way toward overcoming the hyper-partisan nature of our politics today, so much of which has a racial element lurking below the surface.