Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Fool's Gold of Calling Trump a Racist

Certainly Trump has done and said a lot of things that could be reasonably be characterized as reflecting racist beliefs or assumptions. Therefore, many assume, it is their moral duty to call him a racist in the most direct and unqualified terms possible.
I disagree. If you don't like what Trump does and says on race--and for that matter on many other things--it is your moral duty to defeat him and get him out of office. It has nothing to do with calling him a racist, however righteous that might make you feel.
And the fact of the matter is that calling him a racist--and calling the people who support him racists--is actually counterproductive to the moral goal of ejecting him from the White House. There has been substantial research along these lines previously and now there is new research that confirms this:
"[P]olling done by an alliance of progressive groups last month studying possible Democratic responses to Trump’s immigration rhetoric...found that a response calling Trump racist decreased overall support for Democrats relative to Trump. A response saying Trump uses fear to divide by race worked substantially better. The competing messages produced no major differences among Democrats and independents, but the racism response played much worse among white, non-college-educated voters and soft partisans. The racism response was especially damaging to Democrats after voters were shown an anti-immigration video with Trumpian themes."
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Research shows the term could hurt the chances of defeating him in 2020.

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