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A swing vote from the ethnic backstage: The role of German American isolationist tradition for Trump's 2016 victory

  • We question the growing consensus in the literature that European Americans behave as a homogenous pan-ethnic coalition of voters. Seemingly below the radar of scholarship on voting groups in American politics, we identify a group of white voters that behaves differently from others: German Americans, the largest ethnic group, regionally concentrated in the ‘Swinging Midwest’. Using county level voting returns, ancestry group information from the American Community Survey (ACS), current survey data and historical census data going back as early as 1910, we provide evidence for a partisan and a non-partisan pathway that motivated German Americans to vote for Trump in 2016: a historically grown association with the Republican Party and an acquired taste for isolationist attitudes that mobilizes non-partisan German Americans to support isolationist candidates. Our findings indicate that European American experiences of migration and integration still echo into the political arena of today.

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Author:Klara DentlerORCiDGND, Thomas GschwendORCiDGND, David HünlichGND
Parent Title (English):Electoral Studies
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2021
Date of Publication (online):2021/03/09
Publicationstate:Ahead of Print
Tag:American politics; European Americans; German Americans; ancestry; swing vote
GND Keyword:Assimilation <Soziologie>; Ethnische Gruppe; Internationale Migration; Isolationismus; Präsidentenwahl; Republican Party (USA); Trump, Donald
Issue:Article 102309
DDC classes:300 Sozialwissenschaften
Open Access?:ja
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International