Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

David Kimball


David Kimball

Anita Manion

Adriano Udani

Todd Swanstrom


Overt and blatant racism of the type that was once used to justify Jim Crow laws and other forms of de facto segregation against Blacks has largely been forced into the margins of society. However, the reduction of overt racism that casts whites as biologically superior to Blacks can be easily confused with a reduction of racism in totality. The election and continued popularity of Donald Trump demonstrates that the conversation on race in the United States needs much more analysis. On multiple occasions during his campaign and presidency, Trump made inflammatory remarks on race and immigration, and yet suffered no consequences from his predominantly white voting base. In three chapters, I analyze various aspects of white voters’ feelings on minority animus, and their relationship to Trump and the GOP. In Chapter 2 I seek to observe whether Trump and non-Trump voters produce contrasting reactions to subtle environmental cues on immigrants. I find Trump voters react quite subtly to the immigrant cue, while non-Trump voters account for most of this polarizing effect. In Chapter 3 I seek to observe how voters’ feelings of resentment toward Blacks might continue to serve as a driver of support for Trump beyond the 2016 election. I also examine the degree to which animus toward immigrants from Central and South America acts as a driver to support Trump after 2016, and to vote for Republican candidates in the 2018 midterms as well. I find approval for Trump and support for GOP candidates in US House, US Senate, and gubernatorial races are strongly associated with racial and immigrant animus. In Chapter 4 I examine differences between partisan groups to see if some association with one partisan group or another exists, and if so, how it changes over time. I find feelings of racial resentment and animus toward immigrants become steadily more associated with white respondents who identify with the Republican Party, and less associated with those who identify with the Democratic Party, over time.