WVU Study Finds that "Modern" Racism Was the Most Important Factor in Trump's 2016 Victory
As we have noted before, there has been quite a bit of academic research into the underlying reasons for the election of Donald Trump in 2016. What motivated Americans to elect a scandal-ridden, reality show host and real estate developer as their President? Numerous studies have identified three prominent factors that influenced Trump voters, racism, sexism, and nationalist attitudes. However, the three are interrelated so it has not always been easy to identify the unique contribution of each. Researchers at the West Virginia University [WVU] set out to do that in a study that was published earlier this year.
Their peer-reviewed study titled "Sexism, racism, and nationalism: Factors associated with the 2016 U.S. presidential election results" found that of the three factors "modern" racism was the most significant indicator of a Trump voter. The authors explain what they mean by "modern" racism, noting that racism has changed a bit since the civil rights era.
Journals.plos.org: ..."Since the Equal Rights Movement in the U.S., there has been a significant shift in social norms regarding the open expression of racism. In contemporary times, traditional, overt forms of racism and discrimination are generally not socially acceptable. As such, racism has become more subtle and covert, and old-fashioned measures of racism are generally not valid (i.e., most respondents provide socially desirable answers). Modern Racism is a more subtle form of prejudice that is conceptualized as anti-Black feelings and beliefs that are expressed in such a way that they can easily be concealed or explained away. That is, rather than endorsing overt forms of discrimination and prejudice (e.g., segregation), individuals high in Modern Racism are more likely to support policies that indirectly disadvantage African Americans (e.g., ending affirmative action)."
The study found that this "modern" form of racism was a significant factor in Donald Trump's election.
Journals.plos.org: "Of the three narratives proposed to explain the election outcome, the role of Modern Racism received the most consistent support in the current sample... That is, Modern Racism was uniquely related to evaluations of and intentions to vote for [either] Clinton [or] .. Trump."
In their literature review, the WVU authors discuss earlier research on the results of the 2016 election and examine the relationship between racist views and a vote for Donald Trump.
Journals.plos.org: "Some political analysts have argued that the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election demonstrated the continued presence of racism in the U.S. During the Obama presidency and with the growing diversity of the U.S. population, a portion of White Americans may have felt that their status as the majority was being threatened."
That analysis is supported by the growing body of research that has been conducted about Trump voters and the 2016 election.
Illuminate: "What has become clear as the result of all this research is that his supporters fear and resent the changing demographics of America, our growing diversity, much more than they are driven by specific economic concerns.'...
... "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."
The WVU study was conducted by Natalie J. Shook , Holly N. Fitzgerald, Shelby T. Boggs, Cameron G. Ford, Patricia D. Hopkins, and Nicole M. Silva. It's a fascinating read and you can access it in its entirety here.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content