I don’t know who first made the point that the demand for racism today exceeds the supply, which is why we see things like the Jussie Smollette hoax and countless other campus racism hoaxes. And now Trump has the left’s Default Dog Whistle Racism Detector turned up to 11 with his attacks on cities and districts run chiefly by African-American and Democratic Party machines, because for the left criticism of any non-white politician is off limits.
I have a simple theory: Trump knows what he’s doing. This is the political equivalent of “Crazy Eddie,” the frenetic TV ad pitchman constantly hawking his “insane” sales on electronic goods. In Trump’s case, he’s forcing the left to max out its race card, such that the left’s bankruptcy after Trump’s re-election next year will be epic.
For one thing, Trump’s instincts on this are likely to be vindicated once again. Guess what? While the left is agitated about a supposed revival of “white nationalism” and racist nativism among the American people, empirical evidence finds that racism is at an all-time low, and has actually declined since the 2016 election. That’s the finding of a recent paper posted on SSRN by Prof. Daniel Hopkins and Samantha Washington of the University of Pennsylvania entitled “The Rise of Trump, the Fall of Prejudice? Tracking White Americans’ Racial Attitudes 2008-2018 via a Panel Survey.”
That title is a mouthful, but here’s the relevant part of the abstract:
We find that via most measures, white Americans’ expressed anti-Black and anti-Hispanic prejudice declined after the 2016 campaign and election, and we can rule out even small increases in the expression of prejudice. These results suggest the limits of racially charged rhetoric’s capacity to heighten prejudice among white Americans overall. [Emphasis in original.]
That sound you hear is the hydrogen exploding in the left’s Hindenberg racism balloon. Oh, the humanity!
The complete study makes for interesting reading (if you have the stomach for this kind of social science writing), as it is clear the authors do not like Trump and go along with the clichés that he deliberately employs “racist” rhetoric. Their review of an extensive panel survey refutes two common hypotheses popular with the left—that Trump is “normalizing” racism or that his “opinion leadership” is causing followers to become racist. Instead, the authors hypothesize that declines in racist views are in reaction to Trump, or as they describe it, “the public responds thermostatically by shifting away from the positions advanced by those in power.”
The cunning of history indeed. The authors don’t ponder, however, that “the position advanced by those in power” isn’t limited to Trump, and perhaps ought to include the dominant left control of the powerful media and universities that scream “racism” non-stop at white Americans. Maybe Americans are recoiling from that as much as from Trump’s polarizing comments? Which means that if Democrats want to run on an identity-politics platform next year whose explicit premise is that America is a hotbed of seething nativist racism, guess who a lot of swing voters are likely to vote for? That guy on TV who seems crazy is actually offering some attractive deals.
UPDATE/chaser—News story breaking this morning out of Washington:
The executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) resigned Monday after Democratic lawmakers and DCCC staffers lashed out publicly at the organization’s leadership over their failure to prioritize racial diversity.
Keep it up, Dems.