April 29, 2019


A NEW STUDY CONFIRMS (AGAIN) THAT RACE, NOT ECONOMICS, DROVE FORMER DEMOCRATS TO TRUMP: Research on Iowa counties that swung from Obama to Trump indicates that GOP success was driven far more by sexism and racism than by economic anxiety. (TOM JACOBS, 4/29/19, Pacific Standard)

[A] major study published a year ago found that Trump's support among non-college-educated whites--arguably the key to his Electoral College success--was driven far more by sexism and racism than by economic anxiety.

Now, a new study that focuses on one key constituency--white people in Iowa who voted for Barack Obama, and later for Trump--comes to that same conclusion.

"Economic distress is not a significant factor in explaining the shift in Iowa voters from Democrat to Republican between 2008 and 2016," write Iowa State University sociologists Ann Oberhauser, Daniel Krier, and Abdi Kusow. "The election outcomes do not signify [a revolt] among working-class voters left behind by globalization."

Rather, in 2016, "the nativist narrative about 'taking back America' and anti-immigrant sentiment became stronger forces than economic issues," Oberhauser said in announcing the findings. [...]

"In general, the counties that swung the most [from Obama to Trump] were those that were almost entirely white," the researchers report. Rural counties were more likely to have shifted Republican than urban counties, as were counties in which fewer people had college educations.

In contrast, "median county income, adults not working, and county employment [rates]" were not predictive of a shift in political affiliation. Nor, surprisingly, was religiosity: The researchers argue that their findings suggest whiteness "plays a greater role in explaining Trump's support among white evangelicals than religion."

So the less educated you were, and the less likely you were to actually know any people of color, the more susceptible you were to Trump's fear-mongering. This suggests that these rural voters were voting to uphold "certain racialized and gendered norms," the researchers argue.

Posted by at April 29, 2019 8:00 PM