“Certain questions haunt many of us who care about the nature and future of the Republican Party. Is the GOP as it currently appears — defined by white identity and excited by cruelty and exclusion — really the way it has always been? Does Trumpism represent a hostile takeover of Republicanism or its natural outworking?”
Mason, Wronski and Kane found that support for the Democratic Party is associated with warmer feelings toward African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims and LGBT people. This type of “in-group love” is what you’d expect. “Put simply,” said the authors, “when you like the people who make up the party, you like the party.”
The results concerning the GOP were more mixed, but similar. Warmer opinions about whites and Christians in 2011 predicted later support for the GOP — the Republican version of “in-group love.”
But hostility toward African Americans and Hispanics did not drive future Republican support (though negative feelings toward Muslims and LGBT people did have limited predictive value).
Support for Trump, in contrast, was strongly associated with “out-group hatred” of African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims and LGBT people. “In every case, the people who felt hostile towards Democratic groups in 2011 are most likely to be Trump supporters today. The same cannot be said of Republican partisans.”
What to make of these distinctions? “In-group love” of whites and Christians for other whites and Christians is hardly a noble political motivation. “Love your white neighbor as yourself” doesn’t have quite the same moral ring to it.”