President Trump began the week by railing against the immigration policies of both the United States and the European Union:
These kinds of claims are nothing new for Trump. As a result, white racial identity and grievances have become a more potent political force in the United States. But perhaps even more striking is that this connection between white identity and support for Trump is apparent in Europe as well.
White identity in the 2016 presidential campaign
Trump’s tweets about Germany resembled things he had said before. During the campaign, he retweeted the claim of an American white nationalist that African Americans killed 81 percent of white homicide victims (the actual number was just 15 percent). Last November, he retweeted a video from a British white nationalist group titled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” (The perpetrator was born and raised in the Netherlands.)
Emphasizing threats from racial and ethnic minorities can make white Americans’ racial identity and grievances more strongly related to political attitudes. For example, in our forthcoming book with Lynn Vavreck, “Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America,” we show that whites who believed that whites were experiencing discrimination were more likely to support Trump in both the primary and general elections. These perceptions of discrimination against whites were more strongly linked to support for Trump than support for prior Republican presidential candidates.
White identity politics across the Atlantic
White identity can be potent in European politics as well. As we show in “Identity Crisis,” perceptions of discrimination against whites were strongly related…