The most interesting non-partisan split is whites by educational level. Those with college degrees say white supremacists are the bigger threat, 55/36. Whites without a college degree? 52/31 say it’s the media. Another interesting detail: Nonwhites, the people with the most to fear from white supremacists, are less likely to say they’re more of a threat than the media than Democrats generally are. Dems split 76/12; nonwhite voters split 62/24. If you doubt that this question is being interpreted through a partisan lens, ruminate on that.
The left-wing take on the Republican split is, of course, that right-wingers are hopelessly racist and consumed with media bias, leading to a wild distortion in prioritizing threats to America. The right-wing reply is that white supremacism is, by and large, a movement of fringe kooks with no real power over anything. They’re capable of lethal violence, as was true in Charlottesville, but mostly they prance around with mosquito torches muttering about Jews. The media, meanwhile, is ubiquitous, capable of building narratives that threaten Trump’s presidency, and overwhelmingly biased against the right. If you view elite-neoliberal conventional wisdom of the sort cherished by the press as a threat to America, and both the right and some on the left do, then obviously you worry more about them than you do whatever Richard Spencer’s farting out today on Twitter.
Although racial attitudes do, of course, inform the answer to this question. Relatedly:
Democrats are rock solid in their feelings, Republicans are more equivocal. But it stands to reason that if you think minorities are favored over whites on balance, you’re not up at night worrying about white supremacists threatening the country.
Here’s an interesting point of consensus, though. When asked who Trump thinks is the bigger threat to America, the parties align:
The Trump-friendly spin on that is that the question’s really a referendum on Trump’s relationship with the press, not his views on white supremacists. As the president makes clear every day, there’s nothing he hates more than the “fake news media.” (There’s nothing he loves more than the media either, of course, except maybe Ivanka.) Give people a choice between the media and literally anything else — famine, cancer, Rosie O’Donnell — in terms of the things Trump hates the most and they’ll say “the media.” The less Trump-friendly spin is that even his own party has come to the conclusion that, while he might find white supremacists distasteful, they palpably don’t make him angry the way the media does. And why would they? Trump seems to measure political entities mainly in terms of how pro- or anti-Trump they are. The media is stridently anti-Trump; white supremacists are pretty pro. Of course he’s going to see the former as more of a threat to America than the latter. They’re a much bigger threat to him personally!
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