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Lecture examines racism, sexism, class in Trump-era elections

Brian Schaffner

Elections since the rise of Donald Trump, including the midterms, have galvanized voters’ attitudes toward racial and gender equality and opened a large divide in voting patterns between whites with and without college degrees.

In “Racism, Sexism and Class in Trump-Era Politics: 2016, 2018 and the Future,” political scientist Brian Schaffner will examine the divisions widened by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and presidency and their impact on American politics, as well as what the midterm results might mean. The talk will be held Monday, Nov. 12, at 4:30 pm in Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall.

“Brian Schaffner’s revealing research on Donald Trump’s election has already significantly advanced discussion of the forces now shaping American politics,” said Richard Miller, director of the Cornell Program on Ethics and Public Life (EPL) and the Wyn and William Y. Hutchinson Professor in Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. “His response to the midterms and assessment of future prospects and dangers should enrich urgent discussions throughout Cornell.”

Schaffner is the Newhouse Professor of Civic Studies at Tufts University. His publications on American politics include “Campaign Finance and Political Polarization”(with Raymond La Raja), “Politics, Parties, and Elections in America,” and “Understanding White Polarization in the 2016 Vote for President: The Sobering Role of Racism and Sexism” (with Matthew MacWilliams and Tatishe Nteta).

The lecture is the third in the EPL series “Politics and Justice in the Era of Donald Trump,” which will continue with a Feb. 14 lecture by political scientist Sheri Berman (Barnard College) on parallels between U.S. politics in the Donald Trump era and the rise of right-wing populist parties and the decline of center-left parties in Europe.

The lecture series is funded by the Riger-Potash Family Fund. For more information, email

Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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