Why Racist White Voters Often Favor Black Republicans

Can white voters who support a black candidate still hold racial beliefs and views?

That question has come to the fore after Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial victory in the bluish state of Virginia. Conservatives were quick to too Counterclaims the victory of Youngkin represents the effectiveness of racial fear with results of Virginia’s election to lieutenant governor down – a competition in which Republican candidate Winsome Sears made history by becoming the first Black woman to be elected to state office in Virginia. The Wall Street Journal editorial staff, for example, emphatically ridiculed the idea that “voters called white supremacists elected a Black Lt. Gov”. Conservative commentators too Fox News and Twitterincluding Burns itself, also used the historic victory as an alleged protective shield against allegations of republican racism.

But supporting a black candidate does little to prevent voters from harboring racist beliefs and motivations. Republicans are always more likely than Democrats To hold biased minority views, black Republicans like Sears often get particularly strong support from white Americans with otherwise anti-black views simply because they get the most support from Republican voters.

A clear example of this was the Republican primary in 2016, when Ben Carson ran to become the GOP’s first African-American presidential candidate. Support for Carson correlated positively with the belief that black Americans have too much influence on US politics, according to data from Washington University in St. Louis’s American Panel Survey (TAPS) End of 2015:

Whites who thought African Americans had “far too little” influence disliked Carson and preferred Hillary Clinton by 60 percentage points in a hypothetical match in the general election. Carson, meanwhile, was popular with whites, who were most concerned that African Americans had “too much” influence in politics. So much so, in fact, that whites who thought African Americans had “way too much” influence preferred Carson over Clinton by 45 points.

Again, much of this relationship is partisan – Republicans are more likely to have biased views and are also more likely to support a Republican candidate. But that’s the point: for many white GOP voters, anti-black views don’t seem to stand in the way of supporting a Black Republican.

You can see a similar pattern in January 2016 American National Election Studies Pilot Study. Carson received more positive reviews from the sizable minority (40 percent) of openly prejudiced whites who agreed with the racial stereotype that “most African Americans are more violent than most whites”. This group rated Carson significantly better than white moderate Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (52 to 39 each) on a scale of 0-100. Then-candidate Donald Trump was the only politician in the poll rated higher than Carson among openly biased whites.

Why Racist White Voters Often Favor Black Republicans 2

The contrast between how biased Whites viewed Carson and Obama is also quite revealing. The sharp negative relationship between support for Obama and approval of anti-black stereotypes is consistent with several Studies demonstrate the prejudice was a unusually strong Signs the opposition to Obama from the 2008 election until the end of his presidency. These patterns also go well miscellaneous Political science research This shows that racially biased whites are more likely to be opposed to black democrats than white democrats.

To understand why racially biased white Americans are willing to support some black candidates, it is worth considering why they are so resolutely against Black Democrats in the first place. Accepted racist nature of the two-party system in the United States, most of the black political candidates are Democrats who hold liberal positions on racial and justice issues. When asked if they would support such a candidate, Research shows that racially biased white voters fear that these candidates will represent the interests of black Americans, both because of a common African-American identity and because they are Democrats perceived as the party that supports black interests more strongly. So it makes sense that racially angry white Americans would reject candidates like Obama as his racial identity and Partiality signaled to voters that it was him more support for black interests than previous presidents.

In other words, racially biased white voters are against black candidates not only because they are black, but because they believe that most black candidates fight for “these people” and not for “people like us”.

Black Republicans, on the other hand, are perceived differently by racially biased white Americans. Your support for the Republican Party and its conservative ideology helps reassure racially biased whites that, unlike Black Democrats, they are not in the business of carrying water for their own racial group. Instead, they are distinguished from other black elites. When blackness is viewed as intertwined with a kind of racial liberalism that runs counter to the interests of white Americans, Black Republicans’ partisan and ideological commitments dispel concerns that they are for “them” and not for “us”.

This argument is supported by more current scholarship in political science, which found that black candidates who advocate a “bootstrap” ideology – an ideology that focuses on individual versus structural explanations of inequality – are more favorably assessed by racially biased whites compared to their white counterparts. To explain this finding, the authors state that racially biased white voters “may find black Republicans preaching a message of individualism cheaper than other candidates delivering a similar message, precisely because of the messenger’s aesthetic character and partisan affiliation contradict racial and political expectations ”. . ”Similarly, LaFleur Stephens-Dougan, Professor of Political Science at Princeton University, shows in her book“Race down“That racially angry whites react well to black candidates who take a stand against the expected positions of their racial group – a phenomenon she mentions”racial distancing. “

Finally, the election for Black Republicans can also be especially appealing to racially biased whites, as it appeases concerns about being viewed as racist by essentially allowing them to say, “I cannot be racist! I voted for a black candidate! “Psychologists call this”moral authentication”And there are even some pointers that voters who expressed support for Obama shortly after the 2008 election felt more justified in favoring white Americans over black Americans. Choosing a black republican like Sears who railed against critical race theory in the run-up to the elections and supports voting restrictions the negatively affect racial minorities, is similarly used by the entire party as a symbolic shield against the inevitable allegations made by proponents of racist politics. As mentioned earlier, the conservative media and politicians are already arming their victory against anyone who dares to claim it.

But of course the role that race and racism play in American politics is far more nuanced than these simplistic defenses suggest. When racially biased whites oppose black candidates, it’s not just because of the candidate’s skin color. It is also because they perceive (sometimes wrong) that black candidates, especially black Democrats, have ideological obligations that run counter to the interests of white Americans. Likewise, if racially biased White Blacks support Republicans, it is hardly the case that they have become racially progressive. Racially biased whites did not choose Sears because they valued her bondage and commitment to blacks. They were ready to support them because they refused.

Race is, after all, a social construct. It matters because we give it meaning. Racially biased whites are not hostile to blackness per se. They are hostile to a particular manifestation of blackness – one that reflects a commitment to racial justice and the advancement of the group’s collective goals. Racially biased whites do not mind a manifestation of blackness that is ideologically consistent with their own identity and attitudes. Why should they be? Sears’ conservative policies do not threaten the racial hierarchy, and her candidacy offers protection for a party that is often opposed to hostile minorities. For racially biased whites, the real question is what is there not to love black politicians like Sears?

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