Trump won on “white fright”: Why identity politics win elections


David Masciotra in Salon:

Christopher Parker, a political scientist at the University of Washington, not only predicted the nomination and presidential victory of Donald Trump. He also accurately forecasted the flatulent rise of the white reactionary constituency when the Tea Party was in its embryonic stage.

Parker and his research partner Matt Barreto wrote “Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America,” which won the American Political Science Association’s award for the best book in race, ethnicity and politics, and are currently working on a book examining how “white fright” led to the Trump victory. Racial resentment and terror at the prospect of social change is what animated the Tea Party and now energizes Trump supporters, according to their research, not perceptions of economic interest.

The meticulous research and masterful argumentation of Parker and Barreto is difficult to dispute, especially considering that they have correctly predicted the outcome of American politics for several years. Yet, they are largely invisible, far from mainstays on television and radio and anything but viral. The mediocre punditry, while scrambling to dissect and decipher Trump’s ascension, has ignored the two men who consistently called it.

Parker suspects that the reason for his own obscurity bears hideous resemblance to the impetus for the rightward shift in American politics. It is the purloined letter left out in the open that no one wants to see, much less read. It is racism.

More here. The intro to Parker and Barreto's book can be found here.