Analysing the U.S. Election

Presidential Election 2016

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, assistant professor of sociology at UTM provides insight to the role of race in the recent election results:

“There were a number of national and international forces that played into the election of Donald Trump like the economic impacts of globalization and insecurity fostered by various terror threats. However, race is integral to American politics and played an important role in this election. Trump ran a campaign of hate, attacking and justifying the targeting of Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, and other "nasty" and "bad" people. I see Trump's election as part of the ongoing history of American race-relations. It can be seen as a direct response to the election of Barack Obama and also of the Black Lives Matter movement. Each time that Black Americans gain, or appear to gain social and political power, there is pushback from white Americans. We saw this after the Civil War, after the Civil Rights movement and after America's first Black presidency. Trump stoked this racial resentment, not only towards Blacks, but towards other groups too in order to gain the support of disaffected and/or disenfranchized whites.
“Although few who closely study American race relations would have agreed, the election of Barack Obama signaled to many that the US had entered into the 'post-racial era'. This was facilitated by the changing nature of racism. Overt or open expressions of racism have become less socially acceptable, giving many the sense that racism is a thing of the past. However, we still see huge racial disparities across a host of important social indicators – education, employment, health, criminal justice and housing. Racial segregation in the United States is still a very pervasive problem and white supremacist groups have been identified as a national threat. Trump has exposed America's lingering racism. He has done so in a troublesome way because he has not only condoned, but supported, racial violence.  His policies will no doubt have deleterious impacts upon racialized Americans – think support for stop and frisk. We should see this as part of an ongoing story, and hopefully as a wake-up call to those concerned, that the battle against racism is not over.”


To learn more about the 2016 U.S. election, as well as the underlying issues and implications, UTM Sociologists suggest the following analyses:



Teaching about the Trump Phenomena


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  • Jung, Moon-Kie. 2015. Beneath the Surface of White Supremacy: Denaturalizing U.S. Racisms Past and Present. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.


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