Racializing a policy issue is counterproductive in U.S. politics


    here's the rest of the thread from Micah English, one of the authors of the study:


    Running across this tweet reminded me about how on Dag we don't focus on what's going on with primary education and CRT, but it is clearly a topic that is huge, huge, enormously divisive and passionately turning a lot or normally liberal people against other liberal people like no other topic could. When it comes down to your kids and their future, that's everything for many people:


    An ultimate example of counter-productivity is not denouncing people like this in attempting to create a coalition, they are turning off many more people to the policy cause than they bring

    Thomas B. Edsall reports on the real world results of THE ABOVE research paper in the NYTimes - makes clear it's hit the world of Dem strategists and analysts and PoliSci like a bomb thrown in the middle of a hand-to-hand combat battle:

    Should Biden Emphasize Race or Class or Both or None of the Above?

    April 28, 2021

    Should the Democratic Party focus on race or class when trying to build support for new initiatives and — perhaps equally important — when seeking to achieve a durable Election Day majority?

    The publication on April 26 of a scholarly paper, “Racial Equality Frames and Public Policy Support,” has stirred up a hornet’s nest among Democratic strategists and analysts.

    The authors, Micah English and Joshua L. Kalla, who are both political scientists at Yale, warned proponents of liberal legislative proposals that

    Despite increasing awareness of racial inequities and a greater use of progressive race framing by Democratic elites, linking public policies to race is detrimental for support of those policies.

    The English-Kalla paper infuriated critics who are involved in the Race-Class Narrative Project.

    The founder of the project, Ian Haney López, a law professor at Berkeley and one of the chairmen of the AFL-CIO’s Advisory Council on Racial and Economic Justice, vigorously disputes the English-Kalla thesis. In his view, “Powerful elites exploit social divisions, so no matter what our race, color or ethnicity, our best future requires building cross-racial solidarity.”

    In an email, López wrote me that the English and Kalla study

    seems to confirm a conclusion common among Democratic strategists since at least 1970: Democrats can maximize support among whites, without losing too much enthusiasm from voters of color, by running silent on racial justice while emphasizing class issues of concern to all racial groups. Since at least 2017, this conclusion is demonstrably wrong.

    English and Kalla, for their part, surveyed 5,081 adults and asked them about six policies: increasing the minimum wage to $15; forgiving $50,000 in student loan debt; affordable housing; the Green New Deal; Medicare for All; decriminalizing marijuana and erasing prior convictions.

    Participants in the survey were randomly assigned to read about these policies in a “race, class, or a class plus race frame,” English and Kalla write.

    Those given information about housing policy in a “race frame” read:

    A century of housing and land use policies denied Black households access to homeownership and neighborhood opportunities offered to white households. These racially discriminatory housing policies have combined to profoundly disadvantage Black households, with lasting, intergenerational impact. These intergenerational impacts go a long way toward explaining the racial disparities we see today in wealth, income and educational outcomes for Black Americans.

    Those assigned to read about housing policy in a “class frame” were shown this:

    Housing is the largest single expense for the average American, accounting for a third of their income. Many working-class, middle-class, and working poor Americans spend over half their pay on shelter. Twenty-one million American families — over a sixth of the United States — are considered cost-burdened, paying more for rent than they can afford. These families are paying so much in rent that they are considered at elevated risk of homelessness.

    The “race and class group” read a version combining both race and class themes.

    English and Kalla found that

    While among Democrats both the class and the class plus race frames cause statistically significant increases in policy support, statistically indistinguishable from each other — among Republicans the class plus race frame causes a statistically significant decrease in policy support. While the race frame also has a negative effect among Republicans, it is not statistically significant.

    Among independents — a key swing group both in elections and in determining the levels of support for public policies — English and Kalla found “positive effects from the class frame and negative effects from both the race and class plus race frames.”

    A late February survey of 1,551 likely voters by Vox and Data for Progress produced similar results. Half the sample was asked whether it would support or oppose zoning for multiple-family housing based on the argument that [....]

    hmmm, after reading this review of his speech, combined with remembering Joe's "uniter vs. divider" desires, these clips suggest the class framing is gonna dominate for the foreseeable future

    then there was this to wrap up my bias confirmation with a bow:

    Makes me wonder if Bernie backers might have gotten more of what they wanted earlier w/o the strange 4-year interlude by supporting Hillary stronger in 2016. Guess we'll never know 

    this columnist at the LATimes visits Trump-to-Biden swing town of Pueblo, CO and finds idiosyncratic voters who are pleased with the "pleasantly boring" nature of Biden and specifically mentions: as opposed to the polarizing nature of not just Trump but also Hillary:

    Great ⁦@markzbarabak⁩ dispatch from Pueblo, CO, an old western steel town that went for Trump in ‘16 and Biden in ‘20 — and, so far, seems pleased with the new “pleasantly boring” era. https://t.co/jmn50TqMuu

    — Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) April 29, 2021

    Meanwhile Susan Glasser at the New Yorker is definitely seeing a 'class not race' thing shape up as she says it is starting to seem like, not Bernie, but Elizabeth Warren of the primaries won the presidency and not the Joe Biden of the primaries:

    “To anyone who remembered last year’s Democratic primaries, the President’s first address to a joint session of Congress sounded as if Elizabeth Warren, and not Biden, had won.” https://t.co/0HbIic4jr6

    — Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) April 29, 2021


    It makes me think of what we discussed about the results ot the Louisiana special House election results the other day. We were definitely thinking of people choosing "boring" instead of passionate activism; there was also the "calm" thing, a word which the LATimes guy also uses as well as "pleasantly boring".

    But that's personality, not policy! The opposite of what this thread is about.

    A reminder: the Democrats LOST seats in the House this last election, purportedly, according to post-election "family meetings" with moderates and activists arguing about it, because of framing policy along the lines of "defund police" activism and "socialism"

    Which begs the question: how do you get the idiosyncratic voters on board with strong policy changes that might be framed as radical culture wars by the other side?

    I intuit a clue., and am inspired here from the LATimes piece, not from the independent types at the beginning, but from this guy quoted at the end of it. He looks like a Trump fan but calls himself a "Republican conservative"

    Eric Yoxey is a conservative Republican who gives Biden a B, mostly for his handling of the COVID pandemic.

    (Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times)

    excerpt from end, throwing in the comment from an Independent as well

    Eric Yoxey, 58, is a conservative Republican who owns a pharmacy in Pueblo’s Mesa Junction neighborhood, on the hillside overlooking the Arkansas River. He echoed concerns about Biden’s gusher of spending — “too much money being pushed too fast” — and criticized the president’s handling of the immigration crisis on the border with Mexico. “He’s made a bad thing worse,” Yoxey said.

    But overall, he gives Biden a B for his performance so far.

    “He’s done a great job” handling the COVID-19 pandemic and listening to medical and scientific experts rather than winging it or, worse, downplaying the disease the way Trump did, Yoxey said. “He’s also on the right track trying to pull people together, to bring us together as a nation.”

    Elkins, the third-party-voting independent, voiced a similar sentiment.

    Trump was willing to tear the country apart to win a second term, he said. Elkins’ hope is that Biden lowers the political heat and lessens the unease many Americans felt — about economic displacement, about the country’s role in the world, about exactly whose interests Washington is serving — which all played large parts in Trump’s election and in the unrelenting turmoil that followed.

    “Decisions made out of panic or fear are rarely good ones,” Elkins said, “as we saw.”

    Back to Hillary, then. I sense you think of her as unfairly tarred as a divisive personality. But I for one, always saw her that way, I think it was an obvious Achilles heel she always had. Althoiugh actually moderate about policy, she was always passionately feisty, a fighter, going back to "well I suppose I could have just stayed home and baked cookies", and even as a Goldwater kid. Which made it easy to paint her as a lefty activist. There was no calm, no boring. I've seen you suggest more than once that this is a prejudice towards powerful women.

    I think it is more about feistiness, the passionate fighter persona. Joe doesn't do that, and he's not female. Clearly the new Rep. from Louisana doesn't do that either and he's male.

     Neither did FDR as I see him. I just think passionate fighter personalities can't sell radical policy change. On the world stage, I think of Angela Merkel, not often seen as angry.

     I think Liz Warren straddles the line ot both, I think she seems too angry too often, when her policies are actually quite moderate.

    I think it's not about feminism, it's about having a more feminine, moderate approach to your public persona as a  politician It's the "leader" thing, it's about being the calming safe parent that's not going to turn on you and scream at you.  Bernie's biggest downside was his "angry old man shaking fist" persona. Bernie's "more socialist" policies can often sell to Vermont independent types and Reagan Dem types if you tamp down his "angry old man" thing.

    It's about having a stereotypically strident male personality, not actually about being male of female. Keeping in mind male chauvinist pig Trump never had a majority with his selling of politics of resentment and anger, won through other means...

    p.s. is also the "catch more flies with honey than vinegar" thing. and the Ben Franklin version is even more accurate Tart Words make no Friends: spoonful of honey will catch more flies than Gallon of Vinegar.

    You can even do that with left activist types, contrast members of "the squad", AOC vs. Tlaib or Omar, friendly and fun vs.seeming angry all the time. I think one of the most useful effective attacks by right wingers is to say the lefties are trying to "shove" this or that policy "down our throats." That only really sticks if the people being attacked are strident types. It's not going to stick to Joe, he doesn't talk vinegar. And tart words make for enemies, not friends. Think Bill vs. Hillary, he was famously always trying to make everyone a friend since he was a little kid, would go up to people and say "would you be my friend?"

    Moderate personality is just more able to push radical policy change. "Sunny" Ronnie = same thing. Look at the famous debate quip against Mondale for a good example: . I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience  Not an attack dog of rivals in public.

    tweet from Krugman thread on how GOP really ain't got nothing to offer in policy, all they have is to "be afraid" of the passionate strident personalities you suspect because of their personality;you're right to be suspicious they don't like you, they won't leave you alone, and they are going to end up taking your job and your hamburger

    Josh Kraushaar quoting Peter Baker's NYTimes' report on the speech confirms class framing:

    On the peculiar dangers of making policy all about fighting one powerful narcissist:


    Our evidence suggests that the Floyd protests served to further racialize and politicize attitudes within the domain of race and law enforcement in the U.S.

    (found retweeted by colleague Omar Wasow Asst Prof, Princeton Politics. I study protests, statistics & race.)


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