The Republican party of Donald Trump is the party of leftover white resentment, period. Greg Sargent:
Donald Trump continued stomping towards the GOP nomination with a big win in Arizona last night, which will stir more anxiety among GOP elites who worry that his strategy of courting white backlash could drive away minority voters, helping unleash an electoral bloodbath up and down the ticket. Paul Ryan is set to give a speech today decrying the “tone” in our politics that will likely hint at criticism of Trump along these lines.
But what if Trump’s efforts to court white backlash constitute one of the essential ingredients of his success among Republican voters?
A new analysis of Washington Post/ABC News polling strongly suggests this may be the case. A Post/ABC national poll this month asked: “Which of these do you think is a bigger problem in this country — blacks and Hispanics losing out because of preferences for whites, or whites losing out because of preferences for blacks and Hispanics?”
A large plurality of Republican respondents nationally say that the bigger problem is whites losing out, by 45-19. I asked crack Post polling guru Scott Clement to break these numbers down among supporters of Trump and the other candidates, and it turns out that Trump supporters believe this in far larger percentages:
A majority of Trump supporters — 54 percent — believe the bigger problem is whites are losing out. Meanwhile, 37 percent of Trump’s supporters believe this strongly, again higher than among any other candidate’s supporters.
To be clear, correlation does not necessarily mean causation, and this is only one of many potential factors explaining Trump’s support. As Clement and Max Ehrenfreund write for Wonkblog, the poll also found that Trump supporters are more likely to say they are struggling economically. But as they explain, when you take these economic findings along with the above views on the racial question, it suggests that Trump supporters tend to believe their “losses are being caused by other group’s gains.”
In other words, Republicans have done such a good job of getting working-class white Americans to vote against their own self interest that the gap between whites and non-whites has narrowed to the point of it being perceived as an unfair advantage to non-white Americans.
"But at least I'm doing better than those people" isn't quite as true as it has been across America's entire history, and Trump's supporters want to put an end to that real damn fast.
Yes, it's always been about race, and yes, it will get a lot uglier going forward.