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The Republicans least committed to democratic principles are those most worried about White US

Rogue Valley

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The Republicans least committed to democratic principles are those most worried about White America

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9/1/20
There are certain elements that are central to the American democratic experiment. Rule of law. Equal opportunity. A government determined by free, open, democratic elections. These values are at times strained — or intentionally constrained — but they are precepts that are central to the way in which the country governs itself. They are also ideas that Americans seem increasingly willing to abandon. That’s particularly true among one subset of the population: Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who hold views centered on concern about the growing non-White minority. Research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences articulates the link between what author Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt University describes as “ethnic antagonism” and views that run contrary to core democratic principles. Bartels’s research involved asking respondents whether they agreed with each of four statements:

  • “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it."
  • “A time will come when patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands.”
  • “Strong leaders sometimes have to bend the rules in order to get things done."
  • “It is hard to trust the results of elections when so many people will vote for anyone who offers a handout.”

Most Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agreed with the first statement, that it might be necessary to use force to save the “traditional American way of life.” Nearly three-quarters agreed that election results should be treated with skepticism, given the amount of “handouts” people receive. Respondents were significantly more likely to say they agreed with the other two statements than that they disagreed. Positions like thinking that Black Americans or immigrants get more than their share of government resources or seeing discrimination against Whites as a problem matching discrimination against Blacks were categorized as contributing to a respondent’s “ethnic antagonism” value. In an email to The Washington Post, Bartels described anti-democratic sentiment in the Republican Party as “grounded” in this sort of skepticism about or hostility to non-White Americans. “For those who view demographic change as a significant threat to ‘the traditional American way of life,’ ” he adds, “the political stakes could hardly be higher.”

Trump and FOX etc drive this point home on a daily basis: People of color are the "other" and will destroy the "traditional American way of life".

It seems the "traditional American way of life" to Republicans translates as America between the third manifestation of the KKK in 1950 and the assassination of MLK in April of 1968.

Related: George Wallace Tapped Into Racial Fear. Decades Later, Its Force Remains Potent | The New York Times
 
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