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Of Course Obama-to-Trump Voters Can Be Motivated By Racial Resentments

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This is a trip to Trump Country that is actually useful:

Bob Bolus, a 76-year-old local businessman in the trucking industry who owns semitrailers covered with pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton paraphernalia, said Mr. Trump was a champion for white interests. Mr. Bolus voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but said he became enraged when Mr. Obama weighed in on issues of racial bias among law enforcement.

Mr. Obama “was prejudiced against white people,” Mr. Bolus said. “Trump has put the reins on the horse.”

Like others, he mentioned a 2009 incident in which Mr. Obama took issue with the police conduct in the arrest of the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, who is black. Mr. Bolus said it was a turning point in his personal politics.

The statements reflect the continuing push-and-pull among national Republicans, who have wrestled with how to deal with such overt appeals to white identity, particularly in the era of Mr. Trump.

The fact that a significant percentage of the voters that put Trump over the top in the three critical Rust Belt states voted for Obama is often cited by the class-not-race crowd as evidence that their 2016 vote must have been motivated by ECONOMIC ANXIETY. But this is of course silly. Racism is a continuum, not a dichotomy. That a white guy could vote for Obama and then support Trump because Obama’s radical argument that the police should not arrest African-Americans doing nothing on their own property proved he was out to get white people is about as hard to explain as a racist Steelers fan owning a Lynn Swann jersey.

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