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

Trump supporters hold signs and cheer as Trump looks at the crowd.
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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.

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.