BALTIMORE — Hillary Clinton may have been unwise to say half of Donald Trump’s supporters are racists and other “deplorables.” But she wasn’t wrong.
If anything, when it comes to Trump’s racist support, she might have low-balled the number.
Trump, speaking to the National Guard Association of the United States’ annual conference here Monday afternoon, proclaimed himself “deeply shocked and alarmed” about Clinton putting half of his supporters in the “basket of deplorables”— as if anybody, especially Trump, could be shocked by anything this late in the campaign. How dare she, Trump said, “attack, slander, smear, demean these wonderful, amazing people.”
But this isn’t a matter of gratuitous name-calling. This election has proved that there is much more racism in America than many believed. It came out of hiding in opposition to the first African American president, and it has been welcomed into the open by Trump.
The American National Election Studies, the long-running, extensive poll of American voters, asked voters in 2012 a basic test of prejudice: to rank black and white people on a scale from hardworking to lazy and from intelligent to unintelligent. The researchers found that 62 percent of white people gave black people a lower score in at least one of the attributes. This was a jump in prejudicial attitudes from 2008, when 45 percent of white people expressed negative stereotypes.
This question is a good indicator of how one votes: Republican Mitt Romney won 61 percent of those who expressed negative stereotypes. And, when the question was asked during the 2008 primaries, those with negative racial stereotypes consistently favored Republican candidates — any of them — over any Democratic candidate in hypothetical matchups.
“There is plenty of overt white prejudice,” observes Simon Jackman, who directed the ANES until earlier this year and now runs the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. “Whites who reported prejudicial beliefs about blacks skewed heavily Republican in 2008 and 2012 — and they will in 2016.”
Finish reading the story at The Washington Post.