Here’s Actual Evidence That Racial Fear Benefits The Tea Party (And Probably Trump)

From Huffington Post
Julia Craven

Ever since the rise of the tea party, a populist, libertarian-tinged movement that has morphed into the Trump groundswell, the most controversial question about it has been whether its members are animated, at least in part, by racism.
A new paper from three academics provides some of the most robust evidence to answer it. Put simply, the researchers found that a fear of the decline of white standing in the United States lies behind at least some degree of support for the tea party.

The researchers, led by Stanford University’s Robb Willer, used five different methods to get at the same question. They found the results surprisingly strong, and surprisingly consistent.
“It’s such a controversial finding and theory that we were testing that we really wanted to be sure we had it nailed down before we wrote it up,” Willer told The Huffington Post.
The findings appeared Wednesday on the site Social Science Research Network.
In one part of the study, researchers showed participants a picture of President Barack Obama. Some of the participants were shown a photo of Obama in which his skin had been artificially lightened; others saw a version of Obama whose skin had been artificially darkened. White people who saw the darker Obama were more likely to express support for the tea party.
For another part of the study, researchers asked participants to read some information about U.S. racial demographics and then answer a few questions. Some participants were given a report emphasizing that “whites remain the largest ethnic group in the U.S.,” according to the study. Others were given a report emphasizing that “the white majority in the U.S. is steadily declining, with minorities expected to surpass whites in numbers by 2042.” White people who read the second report were more likely to express support for the tea party.
For still another part of the study, participants were asked to read the report that emphasized the declining white population in the U.S. Then, they were shown a list of positions and beliefs associated with the tea party, and were asked about their level of support for the movement. Some participants were shown a list of tea party priorities that were classically libertarian, like reducing government regulation of businesses. Others were shown a list of “positions which past research finds are often associated with racial resentment,” like “stricter policies against illegal immigration.” Once again, white people who were shown the more explicitly race-based platform expressed a higher degree of support for the tea party.
To some critics of the tea party, this probably comes as no surprise. But many tea partiers have long insisted that race plays no role in their anger at the government — just as, more recently, a lot of Trump fans say that race has nothing to do with their support of the real estate mogul.
Some observers have suggested that many white Americans find the tea party appealing because of things they notice in their daily lives — little reminders that America is growing more diverse, not less, and that white people don’t have the monopoly on economic prosperity and social capital that they used to. They look around and see, or think they see, more Muslims in their neighborhoods, or more immigrants taking jobs.
But Willer and the other researchers argue that it might not be these micro-level experiences that drive some white Americans to the tea party. Rather, they say, there’s something larger going on — an almost primal retreat into tribalism, a reaction to macro trends that many tea partiers may not even register on a conscious level.
“While our research most directly tested whether racial status threat shapes levels of Tea Party support, our results also speak indirectly to the historical roots of popular support for the movement,” the report says. “The Tea Party emerged during a period when white Americans’ political power was threatened by the election of Barack Obama, their majority status was threatened by a rising minority population that received wide media coverage, and the Great Recession increased their economic insecurity, a factor previously shown to catalyze racial threats.”  FULL ARTICLE
NOTE:  These researchers could have saved a whole lot of time and money by simply attending a Tea Party rally like I did.  They held three here in Washington and I attended all three.  You know those racist signs calling Obama an ape, or the go back to Africa placards and the signs with the lynching noose you’ve seen on the internet?  Well, they aren’t photoshopped or bogus, I saw them all in real life.  So it always amuses me when some Tea Party adherent would post a comment expressing self-righteous outrage that anyone could dare accuse them of being racist.  

But you know, sometimes I can be a judgemental asshole.  The Tea Baggers forever tell us that it's not because he's Black, it's because of his policies.  Seen in this light, maybe the "Nigger Go Back To Africa" signs I saw on the Mall were just a critique of Obama's foreign policy.

Right.  And the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Have a good, compassionate, liberal day!


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