Here’s What The Data Reveal About Trump, The 2016 Elections, And Modern Racism

Studies reveal the truth about Trump, his rise to power, and the entrenchment of racism.

Multiple events of oppression and deaths of black Americans have fueled the on-going Floyd and Black Lives Matter Protests, placing on full display the long-standing issue of racism which some have vehemently denied the presence of in modern-day America.

President Trump has clearly chosen to side against these demonstrations, as evidenced by his statements and actions in response to the rising movement.

Even during his 2016 campaign, modern racism — a more subtle yet equally sinister form of this distorted perception — has played a significant role in his rise to power. Some, of course, would deny this proposition. Nevertheless, there is evidence to back this up.

Compelling evidence

Several studies have explored the factors which have influenced the voting behaviour of the Americans during the 2016 elections.

In an article from the journal, Criminology, Kevin Drakulich and his peers examined the role of race and policing in the 2016 presidential elections. Using the American National Election Studies (ANES) Time Series Study, they have found two key insights:

  • Concern about racially-biased policing and support of the civil rights movement is associated with an increased voter turnout among the Democrats as well as higher votes for Hilary Clinton.
  • High levels of racial resentment and support of the police, on the other hand, is associated with higher votes for Trump.

Meanwhile, a separate study from Cambridge found that apart from racial resentment, anti-immigrant sentiment was also a huge determinant in explaining the Trump vote.

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A research published in PLOS ONE also explored the connections of modern racism, nationalism, and sexism and how these factors came into play during the 2016 elections. They have found the following associations:

  • Positive evaluations and intentions to vote for Trump are associated with greater levels of sexism, U.S. nationalism, and modern racism.
  • Across all the variables considered, modern racism is the most consistent predictor —high levels entail higher likelihood of voting for Trump and a lower likelihood of voting for Clinton.

The sinister truth

In the PLOS ONE article, modern racism was defined as  “a more subtle form of prejudice that is conceptualized as anti-Black feelings and beliefs that are expressed in such a way that they can easily be concealed or explained away”

In media outlets, we have seen the atrocities committed towards black Americans. Without a question, it is important to be aware and to be enraged by these. However, equally important is to see what has permitted the long history of racism in the country to continue thriving up to this day: silence.

The sinister truth about silence is that it is in no way remaining neutral. It is silence which has permitted the policies, the hate crime, and other acts of cruelty committed against the black people to be repeated over and over. Silence is effectively the acceptance of the existing state of society. With all the evidence and all that has been happening in the world, silence is a deliberate choice to go against the change which the country badly needs.

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Drakulich K., Wozniak K.H., Hagan J., Johnson D. Race and policing in the 2016 presidential election: Black lives matter, the police, and dog whistle politics. Criminology. 2020;1–33.

Hooghe, Marc, and Dassonneville, Ruth. “Explaining the Trump Vote: The Effect of Racist Resentment and Anti-Immigrant Sentiments.” Ps-Political Science & Politics. 2018, pp. 528–534.

Shook N.J., Fitzgerald H.N., Boggs S.T., Ford C.G., Hopkins P.D., Silva N.M. Sexism, racism, and nationalism: Factors associated with the 2016 U.S. presidential election results?. PLoS ONE. 2020; 2-19..


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