Thanks, Kanye — let’s talk more about race in politics

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I’ll say this for Kanye West’s current enthusiasm for President Donald Trump: Due to him, individuals are speaking once more concerning the sensitive matter of race on this nation’s politics.

That’s vital in mild of the considerably belated consideration that we media staff and quite a few political operatives have been giving to Trump voters, particularly those that voted for the true property developer and actuality TV star after voting twice for Barack Obama.

Whereas 9 p.c of Obama’s 2012 voters swung over to Trump in 2016, in keeping with a New York Instances evaluation, 7 p.c — or greater than four million lacking voters — stayed house, contributing to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Three p.c voted for a third-party candidate.

As Democrats attempt to develop methods for the midterm and 2020 elections, they face a thorny dilemma: How do they woo these principally white swing voters again whereas additionally energizing black voters, whose turnout in 2016 fell again to 2004 ranges after surging to new file highs for Obama’s two elections?

That’s an enormous however not insurmountable problem, judging by current research and a string of Democratic victories on this 12 months’s particular elections.

Proof has emerged in some research that “financial nervousness” about modifications that had left them behind could have had much less to do with Trump voters’ decisions than nervousness about different, extra complicated social modifications that gave the impression to be slipping past the voters’ management.

As an alternative of financial hardship, College of Pennsylvania political scientist Diana Mutz writes within the Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, after analyzing knowledge from 2012 and 2016, “it was about dominant teams that felt threatened by change and a candidate who took benefit of that development.” For these voters, Trump’s “Make America Nice Once more” theme known as up visions of a comforting previous, whether or not it ever really existed or not.

In different phrases, the actual fact that Trump is so completely different — racially and in any other case — from his predecessor Obama could have had extra to do with many Trump voters’ decisions than financial issues that cross different demographic traces.

However if you wish to discuss financial nervousness, ask black of us. So says a brand new ballot performed by former Obama and Democratic Nationwide Committee pollster and strategist Cornell Belcher and his agency, Good Corners Analysis & Methods, and because of be launched by the impartial political group BlackPAC.

As reported by The Atlantic, the ballot of 1,000 black voters within the battleground states of Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, Illinois and Florida finds greater than half of these surveyed imagine the economic system is getting worse and just one in 10 imagine they’re getting forward economically.

Eighty-nine p.c of black voters mentioned they believed racism within the nation has gotten worse since 2016, and greater than half imagine that one of many key shifts in American politics has been a renewed assault on black Individuals.

With a minimum of 25 potential Democratic presidential candidates starting to hit the highway to audition their imaginative and prescient, slogans, punchlines and coverage concepts, now we have but to see who can greatest navigate these completely different views.

For a lot of voters the reply is very private, as a survey by pollster Stanley Greenberg reveals. He got here up with the label “Reagan Democrat” to explain the essential swing voters of Macomb County, Mich., whereas working for Invoice Clinton’s 1992 marketing campaign. He returned there for a current research of what they could do subsequent, after voting for Obama twice and Trump as soon as.

I used to be significantly struck by how a lot they lamented the injury at this time’s polarized politics had executed to their very own relations with family and friends.

One white working-class man mentioned he “misplaced contact with (his) personal daughter due to the election.” One other mentioned, “It’s just like the mass media is brainwashing the youthful era and it’s that critical.”

No surprise so many individuals are reluctant to speak about race, particularly in racially blended firm. Perhaps it takes an audacious grandstander like, say, Kanye West to interrupt the ice. Nevertheless it stays to be seen what number of of this 12 months’s office-seekers can wade efficiently into these treacherous waters with out being pulled underneath.

Clarence Web page, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at www.chicagotribune.com/pagespage.

cpage@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @cptime

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