The Best Way To Fight ‘Divide And Conquer?’ 'Unite And Build’

Oct 15, 2019

Trump surrounded by supporters at a MAGA rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Credit Creative Commons

Why do people vote against their own economic interests? In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump won states populated by mostly white, working class voters — like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio — but his tax cuts benefit the rich.

Ian Haney López says this is a result of dog whistle politics — when politicians use racial fear-mongering to win votes. And it has been going on for more than 50 years. To fight this "divide and conquer" strategy, Haney López says we need to “unite and build” by creating a multi-racial coalition. To do that, he argues we must reframe the way we think about racism.

He lays out these ideas in his new book, "Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, And Saving America" (New Press/2019). It is the result of two years of collaboration with union activists, racial justice leaders, communications specialists and pollsters working to build a new political strategy. Haney López shares his arguments and research with host Frank Stasio. He is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California-Berkeley.