Let’s just make it race day

Well, in reference to my first post today, love this from Michael Tesler in the Monkey Cage, “No, Mark Meadows. Having a black friend doesn’t mean you’re not racist.”

Regardless of what you think of the racism accusations made against Trump and Meadows at Tuesday’s congressional hearing, there’s one point that simply can’t be said often enough.

Having a black friend doesn’t mean you don’t hold racist beliefs.

The data is crystal clear about this, too. In 2009, Pew asked nearly 1,500 white Americans whether words such as intelligent, law-abiding, honest, hard-working and generous described “most blacks.”

Not many whites in the survey took the overtly racist position of saying “most blacks” lacked those positive attributes. The responses ranged from 9 percent of whites who said “most blacks” aren’t intelligent to 20 percent who said most African Americans aren’t law-abiding or generous.

Source: Pew Racial Attitudes Survey (whites only), November 2009. Graph by Michael Tesler. (Michael Tesler/Michael Tesler)

Yet the vast majority of whites who expressed such explicitly racist views still said they had black friends. In fact, the graph above shows that roughly 9 out of 10 whites who think that most blacks aren’t intelligent, law-abiding, honest, hard-working and/or generous have African American friends. [bold is mine; italics in original]

Damn if that isn’t a factoid I’m going to be using a lot in the future.

Then, regarding my second post of the day on racial attitudes and partisanship, a great twitter thread from Brian Schaffner

Also, a really nice thread from Hans Noel looking at the historical relationship between racists and the party coalitions.  These are the key points:

Twitter, obviously, can be hugely problematic.  But used properly, i.e., following people/organizations like Schaffner, Noel, Kruse, Monkey Cage, etc., it is just a gold mine of knowledge.



American politics: it’s all about race

Great piece from Thomas Edsall summing up all the great recent political science research on race and putting in the context of a book Edsall himself wrote on race and politics way back in 1992:

Poll data suggests that Trump is driving Democratic liberals further left and conservative Republicans further right on a key test of racial attitudes.

Michael Tesler, a political scientist at the University of California-Irvine and the author of the 2016 book “Post Racial or Most Racial,” writes in “Racial Attitudes and American Politics,” a chapter in a forthcoming book:

Democratic and Republican voters do not simply disagree about what the government should do on racially charged issues like immigration and affirmative action, they now inhabit increasingly separate realities about race in America.

The growing alignment between racial attitudes and public opinion, Tesler continues, “has polarized the electorate and helped make American politics increasingly vitriolic.”

Racial attitudes have, in turn, become indelibly linked to partisan identification and “party identification influences just about everything in contemporary American society,” Tesler writes:

Partisanship is not only the most important determinant of our vote choices and policy preferences, but it shapes countless other beliefs and behaviors. Party identification has even been linked to who we find attractive and who we decide to marry, how we perceive objective conditions like the unemployment rate and federal budget deficit, which neighborhoods we want to live in, and the type of TV shows and cars we like.

Because of this, Tesler argues, “the racialization of party identification is by itself the racialization of American politics and society.”

Ryan Enos, a Harvard political scientist notes that

The pull of racial attitudes seems to be moving both directions — so that racial conservatives are being drawn into the GOP and racial liberals are being drawn into the Democratic Party…

Tesler and many other academics use a set of polling questions to determine the intensity of what they call “racial resentment.” Whites who score high in racial resentment have consistently voted in higher percentages for Republican presidential candidates.

“From 1988 to 2012 average white resentment scores were very stable, but in 2016 something quite notable happened,” Tesler explained by email. Referring to data from American National Election Studies, Tesler pointed out that

White resentment was significantly lower in 2016 than had ever been recorded in the ANES. It’s not just the ANES or resentment, either. Across several surveys and attitudes, the country has grown significantly more liberal on several questions related to race, immigration, Islam and gender since Trump’s campaign.

The shift to the left was not, however, across the board. It was driven by one group: Democrats and voters who lean toward the Democratic Party. [emphasis mine]

“This growing tolerance is largely confined to Democrats and Democratic leaning Independents,” Tesler wrote, adding that

Democrats have grown more tolerant as a backlash against Trumpism. It also means that while the country is growing more tolerant, they’re also more polarized over race and ethnicity…

In “The Distorting Effects of Racial Animus on Proximity Voting in the 2016 Elections,” Carlos Algara and Isaac Haley, political scientists at the University of California at Davis, show how powerful race has become in mobilizing support for Republicans: “Not only did Trump’s frequent invocations of race in the 2016 campaign prime voters with high levels of racial animus to evaluate the presidential contest in racial terms,” they write, but the increased salience of race in the 2016 campaign “percolated to relatively low-information congressional contests as well.”

The result, Algara and Haley show, is that voters liberal on issues other than race defect “to Republican candidates up and down the ticket when they harbor racial animus.” Racial animosity, they write, hurts both black and white Democratic candidates: “Racial animus (at least when salient) harms Democratic candidates across the board.”

Let’s end like this.  Not all Republicans are racists.  But a disturbing amount of Republician electoral support and an increasing amount of Republican electoral support is motivated by white racial resentment.

I’ve got Black friends, how can I be a racist?!

Or Black employees!  This basically sums up the review of much of the Republican Party on racism and it utterly sad and pathetic.  Tracy Jan’s WP piece asks, “Why did a GOP congressman invite this HUD official to stand behind him at the Michael Cohen hearing?”  Because, if you are a Republican, you are clueless enough on race to actually think such cheap theatrics inure you/Trump to charges of racism.

Something curious happened about 90 minutes into the Michael Cohen testimony which transfixed much of Washington on Wednesday: A woman rose behind Rep. Mark Meadows as the North Carolina Republican grilled President Trump’s former fixer on his characterization of the president as a racist.

The woman — sunglasses affixed to her head, white cape draped over her shoulders — was Lynne Patton, longtime Trump family aide and an official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Most important, for the cameras, she is African American.

“I asked Lynne to come today in her personal capacity to actually shed some light,” Meadows said.

Cohen acknowledged his longtime friendship with Patton, saying that he was responsible for her joining the Trump Organization as well as for her current job as the HUD official overseeing New York and New Jersey.

Meadows got to his point: “You made some very demeaning comments about the president that Ms. Patton doesn’t agree with. In fact, it has to do with your claim of racism. She says that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist. How do you reconcile the two of those?”

Mark Meadows is a truly and utterly deplorable human being.  And I’m quite sure that people like Patton allow him to convince himself that he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.  I’m also quite sure that’s a delusion.

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