Combating racism is crucial to revitalizing American politics: It's not easy, but it can be done
High School students protest against President-elect Donald Trump at the Boston Commons

Days after the 2016 election, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote that “we simply don’t yet know how much racism or misogyny motivated Trump voters.” That’s not entirely true. Trump’s election provides an important case study in exploring how racism and misogyny galvanized support for an authoritarian populist — and how progressives can fight back against these attacks. Trump’s model of white exclusionary populism and explicit racism will become a more viable electoral strategy as whites begin to see themselves as a group facing discrimination and as racial resentment further sorts the public along partisan lines.

Education or Resentment?

In a new presentation (soon to be a working paper), political scientist Brian Schaffner explores how racism and misogyny predict support for Trump. The survey Schaffner used includes 2,000 respondents and was performed Oct 25-31 by YouGov. The racism questions place respondents on a six-point scale with the statements below from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”:

  • I am angry that racism exists.
  • White people in the U.S. have certain advantages because of the color of their skin.
  • Racial problems in the U.S. are rare, isolated situations

Schaffner also examined sexism, which was measured by asking respondents to agree or disagree with the statements below (on a five-point scale):

  • Many women are actually seeking special favors, such as hiring policies that favor them over men, under the guise of asking for equality.
  • Women are too easily offended.
  • Women seek to gain power by getting control over men.
  • When women lose to men in a fair competition, they typically complain about being discriminated against.

He also explored economic peril or anxiety with the question, “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your overall economic situation?” The chart below shows that racism and sexism predict support for Trump more than they…