Partisanship and Race
Here is another column (American Anger: It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Other Party) in the long list of trying to figure out what is going on in American politics these days. The thesis is that the problem is partisan sorting and that that sorting strongly correlates to view on race:
The increasing alignment between party and racial attitudes goes back to the early 1990s. The Pew Values Survey asks people whether they agree that “we should make every effort to improve the position of minorities, even if it means giving them preferential treatment.”
Over time, Americans’ party identification has become more closely aligned with answers to this question and others like it. Pew reports that, “since 1987, the gap on this question between the two parties has doubled — from 18 points to 40 points.” Democrats are now much more supportive (52 percent) of efforts to improve racial equality than they were a few decades ago, while the views of Republicans have been largely unchanged (12 percent agree).
While I think we are a ways from a coherent explanation for the current state of our politics, the evidence does seem to frequently circle back to race (and, certainly, the support for, and rhetoric of, Donald Trump adds evidence to that notion).