Brown University political scientist Michael Tesler charted the results of early polling on Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist rant to illustrate a stark divide in the way Democrats and Republicans feel about the issue.
The Huffpost/YouGov poll released Thursday found 68% of Democrats believe Sterling should be forced to sell his team while just 26% of Republicans think he should have to give up the Clippers. Tesler noted similar partisan divides on other recent racially-tinged new stories including George Zimmerman’s acquittal and “Twelve Years A Slave” winning the Oscar for Best Picture.
Check out the dramatic divide below:
Tesler went on to point out the gap in how Republicans and Democrats have responded to racial issues has grown substantially over the years:
Both Tesler and New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait posit this may have something to do with President Barack Obama.
“Race has always been a central divide within American life, but in the Obama years, it has become the central prism of partisan identity,” Chait wrote.
Tesler refers to this as the “growing racialization of American politics.” In addition to current events, he noted growing correlation between membership in the GOP and opposition to both affirmative action and interracial dating.
GOP leadership has been trying to rebrand the party as more inclusive and diverse. That effort will almost certainly be complicated by the fact the Republican base is this clearly divided from the rest of the country’s views on race.
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