During a fundraising event in New York City, Hillary Clinton proposed that Donald Trump supporters fall into two types of baskets. She stated first that, “To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”
She added, “And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”
The other half of Trump supporters, Clinton claimed, fit into a second basket of people who have “economic anxieties” and feel that Trump is most likely to improve their financial plight.
Clinton talked about this trend, this racist so-called “alt-right” (more commonly known as “white nationalism”) earlier in the campaign during a talk in Reno, Nevada. “He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.”
Though Clinton walked back her remarks somewhat the following day, claiming again that the number of “half” Trump’s followers being “racist” followers was, again, “grossly generalistic,” recent polls actually confirm her assertions.
For example, the new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that while not all Republicans are racist, racists tend more to be Republicans, and the most extremist among them are Donald Trump supporters.
According to the poll, Trump supporters are more likely to label African Americans as “criminal,” “unintelligent,” “lazy,” and “violent” than are Republicans who voted for other Republican candidates during the recent primaries or who support Hillary Clinton.
Of course not every Trump supporter expressed negative attitudes about black people in the survey. However, approximately 50% did rate black people adversely, relative to whites, on any of the six character traits in the poll.
Another research poll, the 2016 American National Election Study, conducted by Hamilton College political scientist Philip Klinkner, compared and contrasted feelings and attitudes toward Trump and Clinton. The study investigated how economic opinions, racial attitudes, and demographics affected participants’ feelings and opinions about these two presidential candidates.
Klinkner found that economic opinions or anxieties did not significantly determine individuals’ preferences for Trump, though racial attitudes did.
Said Klinkner, “My analysis indicates that economic status and attitudes do little to explain support for Trump. Those who express more resentment toward African Americans, those who think the word ‘violent’ describes Muslims well, and those who believe President Obama is a Muslim have much more positive views of Trump compared with Clinton.”