Polls show sour views of race re­la­tions in Trump’s Amer­ica

The Saline Courier - - NEWS -

Even be­fore Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s racist tweets to­ward four Demo­cratic con­gress­women of color, Amer­i­cans con­sid­ered race re­la­tions in the United States to be gen­er­ally bad — and said that Trump has been mak­ing them worse.

On Sun­day, Trump tweeted that the con­gress­women should go back to the “bro­ken and crime in­fested” countries they came from, de­spite the fact that all are Amer­i­can ci­ti­zens and three were born in the U.S.

Since his elec­tion, polling has shown Amer­i­cans wary of Trump when it comes to race. But views of the pres­i­dent, racism in the U.S. and what de­fines Amer­i­can cul­ture vary sig­nif­i­cantly based on po­lit­i­cal align­ment.

What polls show:

RACE RE­LA­TIONS IN THE TRUMP ERA

In Jan­uary, a CBS News poll found nearly 6 in 10 Amer­i­cans say­ing race re­la­tions in the coun­try are gen­er­ally bad.

It wasn’t al­ways that way. Pos­i­tive views of the state of race re­la­tions in the coun­try peaked with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, af­ter which 66% of Amer­i­cans said race re­la­tions were gen­er­ally good in an April 2009 CBS News/new York Times poll. But views started to sour in 2014 fol­low­ing a num­ber of high-pro­file shoot­ings of black men by po­lice of­fi­cers and have con­tin­ued to be more neg­a­tive than pos­i­tive in the Trump era.

And Amer­i­cans think Trump is con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem. A Pew Re­search Cen­ter poll ear­lier this year showed 56% of Amer­i­cans say­ing Trump has made race re­la­tions worse.

Amer­i­cans gave sim­i­larly poor as­sess­ments of the pres­i­dent’s im­pact on spe­cific racial, eth­nic and re­li­gious mi­nori­ties. Nearly 6 in 10 con­sid­ered Trump’s ac­tions to be bad for His­pan­ics and Mus­lims, and about half said they were bad for African Amer­i­cans, ac­cord­ing to a Fe­bru­ary 2018 poll from The As­so­ci­ated PRESSNORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search .

That poll also found that

57% of Amer­i­cans con­sid­ered Trump to be racist.

RACE AS A PO­LIT­I­CAL FAULT LINE

Polls show stark dif­fer­ences in as­sess­ments of the state of race re­la­tions and Trump’s im­pact by party iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, along with racial and eth­nic iden­tity and ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment.

In Pew’s poll, fully 84% of Democrats said Trump has wors­ened race re­la­tions, while only about 2 in 10 Repub­li­cans agreed. About a third of Repub­li­cans said Trump has made progress to­ward im­prov­ing race re­la­tions, while a quar­ter said he has tried but failed.

Ma­jori­ties of Amer­i­cans who are black, His­panic and Asian said Trump has made race re­la­tions worse, com­pared with about half of white Amer­i­cans. Among white Amer­i­cans, views di­verged by ed­u­ca­tion — 64% of whites with a col­lege de­gree think Trump has wors­ened race re­la­tions, com­pared with 41% of those with­out.

RACIST LAN­GUAGE

Democrats in Congress im­me­di­ately called out the pres­i­dent’s com­ments on Sun­day as racist and di­vi­sive, while many Repub­li­cans have re­mained si­lent.

Polling shows Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can Amer­i­cans fun­da­men­tally dis­agree on the way peo­ple should ap­proach of­fen­sive lan­guage in the coun­try.

Eighty-two per­cent of Repub­li­cans feel that too many peo­ple are eas­ily of­fended over lan­guage to­day, ac­cord­ing to a poll con­ducted in May by

Pew Re­search Cen­ter , com­pared with about half as many Democrats who said the same. A ma­jor­ity of Democrats said peo­ple need to be more care­ful with their lan­guage.

Since Trump’s elec­tion, most Amer­i­cans think it has be­come more com­mon for peo­ple to ex­press racist views, and 45% said it has be­come more ac­cept­able as well, ac­cord­ing to Pew’s Fe­bru­ary poll.

Ma­jori­ties of Democrats said it has be­come both more com­mon and more ac­cept­able. Among Repub­li­cans, 42% said it has be­come more com­mon and 22% said it has be­come more ac­cept­able.

DIVERGING VIEWS OF AMER­ICA’S IDEN­TITY

Through­out his pres­i­dency, Trump has stoked racial and eth­nic di­vi­sion build­ing on his cam­paign prom­ise to se­cure the bor­der and coun­try. In 2017, Trump in­sti­tuted a travel ban re­strict­ing en­try into the U.S. for peo­ple from five pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim countries. Ear­lier this year, the pres­i­dent de­clared a na­tional emer­gency to ap­pro­pri­ate bil­lions of dol­lars in funds from government agen­cies to ex­pand the U.s.mexico bor­der wall. And most re­cently, Trump moved on Mon­day to halt pro­tec­tions for most Cen­tral Amer­i­can asy­lum seek­ers.

Trump’s re­sponse to the firestorm sig­naled that he thinks it’s a win­ning stance for him.

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