The “I’m Not a Racist!” Vote….

As of today, the presidential primaries are over. Our choice in November is between Hillary Clinton and the unthinkable. So it may be instructive to look closely at those who are thinking the unthinkable.

Trump’s recent attack on Judge Curiel is doing more than simply underlining The Donald’s utter ignorance of separation of powers–the bedrock of America’s constitutional architecture. It is driving a wedge between the unapologetic racists who back him–the KKK and white supremacists whose support he has pointedly refused to reject–and the much larger number of voters who deny racist attitudes and tell pollsters they like Trump because “he tells it like it is.”

These are the people who harbor “racial resentments” but are unwilling to admit (probably even to themselves) that they are responding to Trump’s way-beyond-dog-whistle rhetoric.

Recent data is bringing the drivers of Trumpism into sharper focus, and what we’re seeing is striking: Racial attitudes may play a larger role in opinions toward Trump than once thought. Economic concerns, on the other hand, don’t seem to have as much of an impact on support for Trump.

Two recent studies bear this out. In the first, Hamilton College political scientist Philip Klinkner analyzed data from the 2016 American National Election Study (ANES) survey (a representative sample of 1,200 Americans) to compare feelings and attitudes toward Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. He explored how economic opinions, racial attitudes and demographic variables predicted an individual’s feelings toward Trump and Clinton. He found that one factor was much stronger than the other:

“My analysis indicates that economic status and attitudes do little to explain support for Donald Trump,” he wrote for Vox last week. More to the point, “those who express more resentment toward African Americans, those who think the word ‘violent’ describes Muslims well, and those who believe President Obama is a Muslim have much more positive views of Trump compared with Clinton,” Klinkner found.

In March, The Washington Post and ABC News conducted a similar survey, using data from a national poll, and came to similar conclusions. So did the Pew Research Center–pretty much the gold standard for survey research.

Those of us who have been watching Trump’s electoral successes with disbelief–who have been appalled by his boorishness, astonished by his ignorance of governance and both foreign and domestic policy, and repulsed by his consistent willingness to “go there”–to utter the sorts of racist, sexist, xenophobic invective generally considered inconsistent with civil society–apparently have an answer to the question “who could possibly vote to put this narcissistic buffoon in the Oval Office?”

Racists, sexists and xenophobes.

As Trump initially doubled down on his insistence that being Latino, Muslim or female is an “inherent conflict of interest” that should disqualify judges from ruling on cases that involve him, it was interesting to see the reaction of his supporters in the second category–those in denial about their racial attitudes.

We expected the KKK to applaud, but as these “second-category” voters experience discomfort in confronting the real reason Trump appeals to them, defense of the indefensible may come at a cost.


  1. Paul Ryan was fast to condemn Trump’s racist statements; even Mitch McConnell condemned it and, in an interview w Judy Woodruff, said it’s time for Trump to cease his racist commentary and talk about other issues. However, the Indiana republicans were a little slower to react. One has to wonder about them.

  2. It is what it is and always has been, especially in Indiana.
    Thanks Sheila for continuing to point it out, it is the false statement: ‘I am not a racist!’ that always surprises me.

  3. Contempt for authority. Lack of compassion. Ruthlessly vindictive. Questionable integrity and ethics. Willingness to lie, forget, and deny when convenient. Unscrupulous in search for profit. How can anyone vote for such a candidate, and yet you do exactly that when you vote for Hillary or Trump.

  4. Finally, we are beginning to realize that it’s worse to be a racist than to point out someone’s racist behavior. One of the first things that struck me when I moved to Indianapolis in 1979 was the prevalence of overt and subversive racism. Just like addiction, admitting it is the first step to solving the problem.

  5. daleb; major headline on front page of the Indianapolis Star today – “INDIANA GOP LEADERS REBUKE TRUMP”. Too bad they, and other Republican leaders, didn’t begin their rebukes last year, before he got a foothold on the presidency with support from the NRA, KKK and white supremacists. There would probably be fewer “Trump” yard signs throughout this state and others, not only those in my very small neighborhood. He would not – and SHOULD NOT – have been allowed to reach his current level of power and control. He should have been stopped when he was the leading clown in that GOP clown car. Which reminds me of a very old limerick (pardon the language, but it fits):

    There was a young fellow from Boston
    Who drove around in an Austin.
    There was room for his ass
    And a tankful of gas
    But his balls hung out and he lost ’em.

    No other explanation for the loss of the other clowns in that GOP clown car – and remember too – they say they are not racists.

  6. The Republican party has been stirring up the racists and the haters for my entire life. They do it because it WORKS for them. I think they are a little stunned that it worked this well. Now they have to decide if they really want to own what they have created. God help us all.

  7. Trump has made it painfully clear to the sane people in our country that he will say and do anything he wants to and can get away with it. The people in our country that I believe are even worse than he is are the people who support him, especially those who already hold office. They are willing to put the Devil in office if that is what it takes to maintain Republican power, even if it might destroy our country.

    Did anyone else read about the absolutely lame statement that Pence finally made about Trump’s condemnation of the judge in his Trump Univ case? When you read it you can tell that he felt forced to say something. He called Trump’s words “innapropriate” ( wow – such strong language) and then proceeded to say that he didn’t feel he should have to respond to every development in the presidential race.

    In other words, he saw nothing wrong with what Trump said and doesn’t want to offend the idiots in our state that will be voting for him in November. My what a good Christian he is. cough cough

  8. Many of Trumps voters could care less about his views. They see an oligarchy unresponsive to the voter benefiting only the rich. With cameras on every street corner and taps on every phone call they simply want to blow up the system and start over.

  9. I suspect that the Donald is feeling much like the dog who caught the car . . . What do I do now? As the race progress and he is held up to the ridicule he deserves he is going to want less and less to be in the spotlight. I don’t know whether he will simply crumble or go out in fits of rage and animus (I suspect the latter), but I believe he knows he cannot win and will not win. That is a big blow to one who is used to having his way. I don’t think he can take it. I just love it when the bully gets his fanny kicked. Go Hillary! (And thank you, Bernie, for focusing on what really counts!)

  10. Well we all now know that the media have misconstrued the Donald’s words about the judge. It’s not he who is racist, but the judge. The Donald has no faults, according to the Donald. I still wonder if we’re not in for some sort of surprise in Cleveland, and I’m not talking about the NBA.

  11. Ken Glass, that false equivalency is the current GOP talking point of choice. Are you part of some sort of organized attempt to disrupt websites like this, or are you a just a parrot, repeating what you heard most recently from GOP propaganda sources?

  12. Data are hard to argue with and there’s no doubt of rampant racism as an unregistered undercurrent.

    However there are other ways to portray it.

    One way is to examine white male Christian middle class heterosexual fossil fueled privilege in America. Being one of those my life has been made much easier – though I chose none of them – to live successfully as a result. Good for what I was born with and into.

    But the days of that privilege are numbered by demographic reality. For instance black or women Presidents, Muslim or Jewish neighbors, black “thugs” hanging on the street corners, transgenders in the bathroom, terrorists behind every Bush, middle classism in jeopardy from foreigners over there and sneaking across the border.

    People like me are losing the traction of being majority. I could end up living like “them” while they live like me! Horrors. Someone lead us to victory Donald!

    Of course Donald sees this as financial and celebrity opportunity so he’s more than willing to say follow me. So say all Republicans and all conservatives stinging from the failure of everything that they’ve been taught to believe in by their media entertainers like Rush and Fox. Failure seems to relentlessly follow them.

    Political entertainment induced panic.

    Of course things are changing inevitably and pervasively and massively. I really think that many people like me will compete well in the new world if we don’t panic and look to the opportunity rather than the threats.

    My shorts are not in a twist by either Obama or Hillary because they are on our side if not our race or gender.

    Donald is not. He wants us on his side.

  13. Ken is right. There’s plenty of empirical history of such. The soma is strong in the U.S. To ignore the empirical history of such is nothing shy of denial. We are a country in denial of a lot of things. Denial has won. The choices for the upcoming election is indicative of that. The suits have won again.

  14. For people who want to call out Hillary Clinton as a “liar”, in today’s, we see that 60% of Mr. Trump’s public statements are classified as “false” or “pants on fire”, and 13% of Mrs. Clinton’s public statements are “false” or “pants on fire”. This is a pretty objective organization which, in fact, has been criticized more by “liberal” groups than “conservative” ones.

  15. Any comparison of Hillary and Donald in terms of their qualifications to be President that concludes that they’re equal, or even in the same zip code is either grossly misinformed or specious or completely self serving. Even the GOP is saying that.

    It has become the mantra of those who’ve been called out for saying I couldn’t possibly vote for Hillary but can’t tell you why.

  16. Judging by my admittedly small collection of pro-Trump acquaintances I’d say the big attraction is his promotion of White Male Privilege. They are furious at being marginalized by ‘PC’ culture. They are not going to take it anymore from women (Hillary), blacks (BLM), Muslims, climate scientists or anyone else who disturbs their station and way of life. They want their place in the sun back. Fox News and Mr Trump are going to deliver it for them.

  17. Major players in the national Republican Party urged Trump to walk back his statements – the Republican leaders in both Houses of Congress among others and even the man who would like to be Trump’s VP – Newt Gingrich – a longtime bad boy himself.

    Neither did Trump listen to his staff nor likely to his attorneys on the Trump Univ. case who must be thinking – if this case isn’t already lost, Trump just did his best to lose it.

    The Judge did Trump a HUGE favor by delaying the case from this summer during the election campaign until after the November election. Trump is upset that he has to be accountable at all or at any time.

    He made no apology to the Judge or to Mexican Americans or Muslims for his comments and not to any of the nearly total population of the USA who are descendents of immigrants.

    He told his political party he would ‘never ever let you down’. Unless he refuses to comment on anything ever again, he’s temperamentally unsuited to keeping that promise. As his life shows on various levels, he could use some help in the self-discipline department.

  18. Nancy Papas; they can’t un-ring those bells. Nor can they call off those dogs their dog whistles lured into their ranks.

    I have stated that I live in fear; of course some of my fears are for my Social Security and Medicare continuing. But, I have biracial, Mexican, Mexican-American, Lesbians and Gays in my family and and among my friends I fear the most for. When our school children live in fear and/or are bulling other children across this country and teachers do not know what, how or IF to teach their students due to this one man – the orange elephant in the room – telling him to “walk back some of his statements” is like pulling down your pants after you finish defecating. We will still be sitting in smelly brown stuff. Of course he will not back down because he is The Donald.

  19. Quote from Obama:

    “I tease Joe sometimes, but he has been at my side for seven years, I love that man,” Obama said during the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday. “He’s not just a great vice president, he is a great friend.

    “We’ve gotten so close that in some places in Indiana, they won’t serve us pizza anymore,” Obama joked.

  20. Pete; thanks for this reminder…and lightening the situation even briefly.

  21. Just saw a video on Facebook of Paul Ryan who is apparently thinking about reopening Congress. I think that he and they have already given up on the Presidency.

    Of course his main theme is creating jobs by making the poor poorer thus inspiring them to create jobs somehow. Apparently he’s of the opinion that our biggest problems are government and poor people who choose to be poor so his remedy is to make them poorer and therefore inspired to become model citizens.

    Of course he also wants to address the overreach of people in government doing their jobs. If more people like him strove instead for underreach our problems would be solved.

    All in all an inspiring talk without substance, solutions or plans. Working harder to do less seems to be the theme. Those of us wondering how it would be possible for Congressional Republicans to do less I guess are going to be surprised.

    Perhaps his plan is to do less for people with problems in order to devote more time to help successful people so they can afford to contribute more to his business, politics. The Congressional millionaires are struggling.

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