Can’t understand why Wyoming is the only state refusing a refugee resettlement agreement with the federal government or why Wyoming is one of four states without hate-crimes laws? The answer may be in the state’s Republican majority.
The Pew Research Center asked Americans whether they believe African-Americans suffer discrimination in the United States? How about Hispanics or the LGBTQ community? Muslims? Whites? Evangelical Christians? Jews? Women? Men?
The answers depend on whether you ask a Democrat or a Republican.
Pew discovered a partisan gap on questions surrounding discrimination. For example, those identifying as Republicans or leaning Republican believe men suffer “a lot” of discrimination, more than women.
Republicans believe evangelical Christians are on the receiving end more than Muslims, gays and lesbians, Jews, blacks, Hispanics or women. Their worldview is that whites are discriminated against “a lot,” more than blacks or Hispanics; men more than women.
Among all Americans, results differ considerably from what Pew found delving into partisan identity. Among all Americans, groups suffering most discrimination are, in this order, Muslims, gays and lesbians, blacks, Hispanics, women and Jews. In the broader group of all Americans, those suffering the least are men, whites and evangelical Christians.
Democrats and those leaning Democrat see it much the same as the broader group of Americans, though the percentages are higher. While 49% of all Americans believe Muslims are receive “a lot” of discrimination, the number is 68% among Democrats, falling to 29% among Republicans.
The numbers turned when pollsters asked about evangelical Christians. Almost four times the number of Republicans believe this group suffers “a lot” of discrimination, compared to Democrats (22%-6%). Republicans are three times more likely to see “a lot” of discrimination aimed at whites than are Democrats (16%-5%). Democrats are half as likely to believe men suffer discrimination (6%-12%).
Curiously, these numbers don’t sync with hate-crime data. After reaching a 10-year low in 2014, hate crimes have steadily risen in each of the following years. Racially based crimes account for 60% of the total, religious-based crimes for 20% and sexual identity for 16%.
Statistics belie how Pew-polled Republicans see victims of discrimination. Of 7,000 hate crimes reported in 2017, blacks were the targets of 2,013, Jews by 938 and LGBTQ citizens by 1,130. The Anti-Defamation League says crimes aimed at Jews increased 57% in 2017, “the largest single-year increase on record.”
How can discrimination look so different to Republicans than to Democrats? These may be generalizations, but the thing about generalizations is that they are generally true.
With Kavanaugh’s confirmation pending, Republicans warned your sons are at risk of false allegations of sexual abuse. Democrats warned that our daughters were the ones at risk. Democrats tended to believe the accuser; Republicans, the accused.
What Democrats call discrimination, Republicans see as religious freedom.
Republicans speak of “illegal aliens,” describing human beings whom Democrats call “asylum seekers” or “un- documented workers.” Republicans acquiesced when Trump said there were “good people on both sides” when white nationalists rioted in Charlottesville. Democrats didn’t.
Republicans support “voter ID” laws and citizenship questions on the census. Democrats argue they disproportionately disenfranchise minorities. The Muslim travel ban was supported by Republicans, opposed by Democrats.
When Democrats say “black lives matter,” Republicans respond, “blue lives matter.” When Trump ditched plans to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill and instead kept Andrew Jackson, Republicans and Democrats reached different conclusions about his motive.
There’s the partisan gulf on nondiscrimination laws. Democrats believe LGBTQ citizens should be protected from discrimination. Most Republicans, including the president and Wyoming’s GOP governor, believe they should not.
These numbers explain the anger in America, and reflect a fundamental political, religious and cultural divide that won’t be lessened, much less healed, by an election.
Rodger McDaniel lives in Laramie and is the pastor at Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne. Email: email@example.com.