President Trump Was Elected One Year Ago — And Americans Are Feeling Aggrieved Cultural grievances were a big part of what drove Trump's election, but Americans across the racial spectrum say their group faces discrimination.
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President Trump Was Elected A Year Ago — And Americans Are Feeling Aggrieved

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President Trump Was Elected A Year Ago — And Americans Are Feeling Aggrieved

President Trump Was Elected A Year Ago — And Americans Are Feeling Aggrieved

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Donald Trump won white, working-class voters by a bigger margin than any Republican presidential candidate in modern history. Cultural and economic grievances were a big part of that. A new survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health also suggests that Americans from all walks of life, across racial and ethnic lines feel discrimination exists against their particular group. NPR lead political editor Domenico Montanaro has more on the findings and how they affect our political landscape, and he's here with me.

Good morning, Domenico.


KELLY: So we are coming up on the anniversary of Trump's election this week, and his campaign rode high on this idea of the forgotten man, the forgotten woman. Just to remind people, let me play a little bit of Trump. This is from his election night victory speech.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.


KELLY: OK, so Domenico, we're hearing the president there tap into this real moment of cultural grievance, but what does this latest poll actually tell us about why there's such an appetite, why that message resonates?

MONTANARO: Well, the survey conducted for NPR found that 55 percent of whites say they believe discrimination exists against whites generally, but only 19 percent say they personally have experienced discrimination, and that was in applying for jobs. Even fewer said they have personally experienced discrimination when it comes to promotions or college acceptance or interactions with the police or in housing. There are major political divisions here.


MONTANARO: It's pretty fascinating. Three-quarters of white Republicans say discrimination exists against whites, but when it comes to Democrats, it's less than a third. And there are big splits when it comes to how well-off you are financially, as well.

KELLY: Well, let me stop you there. What are the big splits?

MONTANARO: I mean, across the board, the more money a white person makes, the less they think discrimination against whites exists. Two-thirds of whites - or roughly two-thirds of whites without a college degree and whites who live in rural areas believe discrimination against whites exists. Working-class whites and those who live in rural areas are also most likely to say they've experienced that discrimination personally. Those are exactly the kinds of people who make up Trump's base.

KELLY: What about people from other racial and ethnic groups?

MONTANARO: You know, 92 percent of African-Americans say discrimination against blacks exists in America today. Latinos - 78 percent say so. Native Americans, 75 percent - Asian-Americans, 61 percent - and much higher percentages of nonwhites say they've personally experienced discrimination. Roughly a third of Latinos say they've experienced it when it comes to applying for jobs or getting paid equally or looking for housing.

The situation is worse for African-Americans. Half or more say they've been discriminated against personally when applying for jobs, getting paid fairly or interacting with the police. And it really does seem today that in America, with majorities across these racial lines saying discrimination exists against their group, we're living, Mary Louise, in something of a golden age of grievance.

KELLY: So you're making distinctions here between people who say discrimination exists and that they have personally experienced - what does all this mean for the political health of our nation going forward?

MONTANARO: Well, you know, it's meant that people have gone much more to their own corners, and it's been growing for a long time. We see it all around. I mean, more people live in neighborhoods where people think and vote and look like them. Facebook curates your news feed, reinforcing, really, whatever your own beliefs are.

You know, what it's going to mean for next year - I'm looking forward to those primaries. Let's see whether or not people wind up going with the candidate who goes to the most extreme or if there's some kind of change.

KELLY: NPR's Domenico Montanaro reporting there on the golden age of grievance we appear to be living through, alas. Domenico, thanks.

MONTANARO: You're welcome.

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