Sean McElwee Jason McDaniel
Recently the online Magazine Vox published a piece entitled “There’s Powerful Evidence that Racial Attitudes Drive Tea Party Support” (http://www.vox.com/2016/2/10/10943196/trump-racial-resentment-vs-economic-anxiety) that would lead a reader to believe that (1) there is significant and reliable data about the motives (thought processes of various voters) and (2) that journalists (English Majors) actually understand math and statistics...MOST DON’T! Neither do most Poli Sci professors...sorry.
The primary problem with the piece in question is that there’s NO reliable MATH, which means there’s NO “reliable evidence” that much Tea Party support is driven by racial animus, at least no more so than that of most “paternalistic white Leftists.”
There are no studies, nor even enough anecdotal evidence to support the view that, “The Tea Party is racist," or, in any way, motivated by race. I made a similar mistake a few years ago writing about various signage at some Tea Party rallies. Various Tea Party groups claimed that those signs were "plants" from outside groups...and well, in the end, that simply couldn't be proven otherwise.
Worse yet, in a number of cases, well-meaning Left-of-Center advocates DID admit to bringing nazi signs, etc. to such rallies...an epically DUMB idea. It would've been far better to focus on what I did (I'm an engineer, NOT an English Lit major) and that was on the numerous absurdities and incongruities of many of the real Tea Partiers, people with slogans like, "Get the government out of my Social Security," etc.
Moreover, it turns out that the majority of those who support Trump are NOT Tea Party people, NOT even Conservative, they are mostly Independents and disaffected Democrats, more angry at the innate unfairness of today's Corporatism, also called "Crony Capitalism" (when government seeks to help certain favored, "socially conscious" companies. Yes, an increasing amount of the American people are angered by that. This refusal to acknowledge what's really going on by largely unqualified "journalists" is a huge problem today. You really need a heavy math background to write effectively about politics and economics, because those subjects always come down to quadratic equations with multiple variables.
Without a strong math background it’s impossible to determine what motivates people who are viscerally opposed to affirmative action’s race/gender preferences. The math tells us that the vast majority of those people oppose it because they DO NOT want to see various ethnic groups marginalized and handicapped by such preferences and many argue that our standards across the board are already too low. The math seems to agree, but it is not as yet conclusive on that last point. Certain fields of endeavor have maintained standards better than others.
The problem with pieces like this is that they cheer up ONLY those already in the choir, while they not only further anger the swelling opposition, but alienate Independents as well.
WHY do that?
I believe it comes down, once again, to NOT understanding the math involved.