But look what’s happened since. With Obama gone, LOW plummeted 11 points. It’s now precisely where it would be if it had followed the pre-Obama trendline for another ten years.
This suggests that racial resentment among white Republicans has been on a steady downward trend for more than 20 years, interrupted only by the election of Barack Obama. But with Obama now out of the picture, racial resentment is way down from 2016, which means that Donald Trump has far less raw racial material to work with than he did four years ago. This doesn’t mean that Democrats can go hog-wild in the wokeness sweepstakes, but it does mean that Trump’s increasingly vitriolic racism is probably having less of an effect than we fear.
The most likely outcome of all this is that Trump will feel like he needs to go further and further to get the same response he did in 2016, and that will eventually force him to go too far. Maybe it already has. Even his fellow Republicans seem to understand the danger here, which is why they asked him to back down on the “Send her back!” chants. Trump’s base may love it, but there are a whole lot more people who are repulsed by it.