❝ It’s easy to find anecdotal evidence that America has grown more reactive, coarser, and less tolerant of outsiders since the 2016 presidential election.
Last week, congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed a reporter in response to a question about health care. Then he won a special election. Everyday Trumpisms like “Sad!” and “Loser!” seep deeper into conversations. Politicians become more brazen and crass in their dismissal of facts that don’t suit their worldview. And then there are hate-fueled crimes against Muslims and other minorities, like Friday’s deadly attack on a Portland train.
Empirically, though, a shift is much harder to pin down. But some preliminary evidence is starting to emerge that suggests America is becoming a more hostile place for outsiders.
❝ The most recent: A working paper in NBER wondered if Trump’s election acted as a validation of anti-immigrant sentiment. That if you could become president while stoking xenophobia — building walls, restricting immigration, trumpeting “America first,” etc. — would that make xenophobia more socially acceptable?
And it turns out the answer is yes: More participants in the study became willing to openly donate money to an anti-immigrant organization after the election. (Before the election, too, more participants were more willing to openly donate if they were told Trump’s victory was assured in their state.)
RTFA. A preliminary study awaiting publication and peer review. Still, we’re stuck with four years of ethical corruption, fake news, agitprop substituted for fact – and bigotry ultimately used to justify suppression of rights long accepted as especially “American”.