Thursday, February 17, 2022

People support Trump because they are afraid of being replaced.

Barton Gellman's article, "January Was Just Practice" in the Fan/Feb 2022 of The Atlantic should be required reading. Gellman describes many important ideas for America's future as a democracy.

The first question addressed is what lead to so many people voting for Donald Trump and his supporters in the Republican party. Many demographic characteristics have been proposed as predictive. Robert A. Pape, a political scientitist, has found based on his research, that one of the most predictive factors of voting for Trump was the fear of losing white privilege. In communities that experienced the greatest loss in white residents to people of color, the whites were more likely to vote for Trump and favor his policies. Pape refers to the theory called the Great Replacement.

Milošević, Pape said, inspired bloodshed by appealing to fears that Serbs were losing their dominant place to upstart minorities. “What he is arguing” in the 1989 speech “is that Muslims in Kosovo and generally throughout the former Yugoslavia are essentially waging genocide on the Serbs,” Pape said. “And really, he doesn’t use the word replaced. But this is what the modern term would be.”

Pape was alluding to a theory called the “Great Replacement.” The term itself has its origins in Europe. But the theory is the latest incarnation of a racist trope that dates back to Reconstruction in the United States. Replacement ideology holds that a hidden hand (often imagined as Jewish) is encouraging the invasion of nonwhite immigrants, and the rise of nonwhite citizens, to take power from white Christian people of European stock. When white supremacists marched with torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, they chanted, “Jews will not replace us!”p.30

Gellman writes a little further on in the article: 

Only one meaningful correlation emerged. Other things being equal, insurgents were much more likely to come from a county where the white share of the population was in decline. For every one-point drop in a county’s percentage of non-Hispanic whites from 2015 to 2019, the likelihood of an insurgent hailing from that county increased by 25 percent. This was a strong link, and it held up in every state.

Trump and some of his most vocal allies, Tucker Carlson of Fox News notably among them, had taught supporters to fear that Black and brown people were coming to replace them. According to the latest census projections, white Americans will become a minority, nationally, in 2045. The insurgents could see their majority status slipping before their eyes.

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