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Which predicts Trump's support better: economic fears or racism/sexism?

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According to most research, racism and sexism.

While it is difficult and reductive to call any vote the result of a single issue, a large amount of evidence is emerging that shows that race and sex played a disproportionately large role in the 2016 election, and explain the election results better than analyses with economic anxiety at their core.

Origin and Prevalence

In between the days of Donald Trump's election win and inevitable inauguration, there were many articles stating multiple claims regarding how Trump came into office. Most Trump advocates claim that the reasons they voted for an openly xenophobic, sexist man were economically driven. Statistically, most Trump voters were white. More specifically, most Trump voters were lower-class, uneducated, and, white. In an article published by Vox, a center-left news source, it is stated that new research shows that cultural factors, such as racism and sexism, held more weight among Trump voters rather than "economic dissatisfaction." With the resources found, we can adequately state that the claim originally made by Vox that Trump supporters are influenced heavily by racism, sexism, and homophobia to be true.

Issues and Analysis

The 2016 Presidential Election itself was unique in the sense that it appeared to be about more than politics to the American people. Factors such as overt nationalism and xenophobia played a distinct role in this particular election, as well as misogyny and sexist ideals. Research as proven that all of these factors worked against the first woman presidential nominee in American history, and therefore led to Donald Trump's eventual election win. After the 2016 Presidential Election, a dissertation published through the University of Massachusetts analyzed the Election as a whole, while focusing on the factors that influenced Trump supporters to cast their vote the way that they did.

The specific demographic that was far more likely to support Donald Trump than most were uneducated white people. According to the dissertation, his advantage among non-college educated whites was nearly 40 points. There is an extreme gap between the political views of educated white people and uneducated white people. In this particular day and age, the wealth/education gap between white people of differing socio-economic statuses is massive.


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The Digital Polarization Initiative is a student-run project which allows university students to investigate questions of truth and authority on the web and publish their results. Learn more, or see our index. Photo credits here. DigiPo members can edit this page.