United States President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on the grievances of white voters helped him win the 2016 election.
But a Reuters analysis of public opinion over the last four years suggests that Trump’s brand of white identity politics may be less effective in the 2020 election campaign. The analysis comes amid widespread criticism of Trump’s racially charged comments about four minority women lawmakers and the fallout from a mass shooting of Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, that many Democratic presidential candidates swiftly blamed on the president’s rhetoric.
Reuters/Ipsos polling of 4,436 U.S. adults in July showed that people who rejected racial stereotypes were more interested in voting in the 2020 general election than those who expressed stronger levels of anti-black or anti-Hispanic biases.
In 2016, it was the reverse. The Reuters analysis shows that Trump’s narrow win came at a time when Americans with strong anti-black opinions were the more politically engaged group. While Reuters did not measure anti-Hispanic biases in 2016, political scientists say that people who express them closely overlap with those who are biased against other racial minorities.
This year’s poll found that among Americans who feel that blacks and whites are equal, or that blacks are superior to whites, 82% expressed a strong interest in voting in 2020. That was 7 percentage points higher than people who feel strongly that whites are superior to blacks.
“There is some indication that racial liberals are more energized than the racially intolerant,” said University of Michigan political scientist Vincent Hutchings, who reviewed Reuters’ findings. “That would seem to be good news for the Democrats and bad news for the Republicans.”