Did Race Play a Role in Shutdown?

Michael Tesler, Washington Post, October 22, 2013

Several liberal political commentators asserted that this month’s government shutdown was rooted in racist opposition to President Obama (see: 12 ,345). Actors Chris Noth and Robert Redford even joined the chorus, with Noth tweeting, “[The] Highest level of racism was shown yesterday when Republicans forced a shutdown of our government.  Mostly because our President is black.” Conservatives were understandably quick to dismiss such charges. Or as Mitt Romney’s chief strategist, Stuart Stevens, put it, “There’s certainly racism left in America, but liberal pundits claiming it’s driving the government shutdown make a mockery of the real thing.”

Of course, neither side provided much evidence to support their claims.  Nor is it possible to quantify how much, if at all, Obama’s race may have mattered in the budget standoff.  But we can still glean some insights into the racialized dynamics of the shutdown by examining who voted against last week’s bipartisan deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling (H.R 2775).  More specifically, we can test whether Republican members of the House who represent congressional districts where “racial resentment” is high were more likely to vote against the bill.

This analysis leverages two large surveys with almost 100,000 respondents in total—the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study and the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project—to calculate the average level of racial resentment in each congressional district. Racial resentment, as it is described in the scholarly literature, measures how much individuals think racial inequality is due to the inner failings of African Americans. {snip}

The graph below shows how likely each Republican in the House was to vote yes on the shutdown/debt ceiling deal, given their district’s estimated level of racial resentment. Republican members from districts scoring high on racial resentment were considerably more likely to vote against H.R. 2275 than other Republicans. {snip}


This result holds up once other factors are taken into account. In the graph below, the blue line shows that the relationship between district-level racial resentment and voting against the shutdown deal persisted after accounting for other attributes of congressional districts, including partisanship, ideological orientation, religiosity, and minority population. The results also were not affected by controlling for Republicans’ own individual ideologies. Notably, racial resentment in districts did not affect the House vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) earlier this year—legislation that, like the shutdown deal, passed with a minority of Republicans. It appears, then, that the relationship between district-level racial resentment and the shutdown vote was not merely politics as usual.




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  • Puggg

    Can we start hating black people in reality just half as much as they think we already do?

    • In the Dark Age of Al-Obama (the rest of your life, this never reverses) being a good Whitey means hating White privilege and telling the White community that they must hate themselves as much as the sacred blacks tell them they the should hate themselves.

      Only good Whiteys are getting more White privilege these days, which they lovingly call “being on the right side of history.”

      Racists: Join the Wrong Side of History and Save White Lives, locally, only.

    • Jefferson

      Bantus believe the majority of White people are racist (code word for racially aware). For once I wish the Bantus were right, but unfortunately they are not.

      • MBlanc46

        I think there’s a lot of ambivalence. Most whites don’t want others to see them as “racist”. They don’t want to see themselves as “racist”. “Racist” has been framed as always negative and always hateful. But people do read the paper and watch the news. They see that we are experiencing an epidemic of black violence, some of the most despicable of the incidents being against whites. At the moment, whites don’t have language to describe these events that doesn’t count as “racist” in contemporary usage. It’s up to us to help them find that language. “No, John, you’re not being racist, you’re being race realist”.

        • Jefferson

          The Bantu’s definition of “a White racist” is so broad that I have even seen some of them refer to SWPL hipsters as “racists” because in some big cities these hipsters gentrify many “vibrantly diverse” ape communities into lower crime livable communities.

  • Spartacus


    • D.B. Cooper

      An old favorite of mine was a shirt they sold in an old National Lampoon:
      “My Parents went to Hiroshima, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”.
      (The t-shirt has burn holes in several areas).

      • Alexandra1973

        A long time ago I saw a shirt that said “Welcome to Detroit–now go home.”

  • Three problems with this junk science:

    1. What is the “racial resentment index?” Other than some plastic banana scheme dreamed up by some cabal of kook leftists, such as “school to prison pipeline.”

    2. “Probability of Republican member to vote to end the shutdown.” Except the vote to end the shutdown was a binary result, either yes or no. It seems indicate that the people who hold down GA-2 and OK-2, the tail ends of the so-called racial resentment score, had about a 70% probability and a 10% probability to vote to end the fake shutdown, respectively. Except there was only one such vote, and if they voted, they could only vote once. Are we to have, say, a 1000 “shutdowns” and therefore 1000 votes to end the shutdown so we can gauge how often a given member votes to end the shutdown or not, just to be able to test this model?

    3. What about the Democrats?

    • Nathanwartooth

      The “racial resentment index” was probably just a tally of how many Whites lived there, haha.

    • MarcB1969

      What is the “racial resentment index?” Other than some plastic banana
      scheme dreamed up by some cabal of kook leftists, such as “school to
      prison pipeline.”

      That was my first thought. All they ever seem to do is quantify what is abstract, and abstract everything that can be quantified.

      • My bet is that “racial resentment index” is a measure of the percentage of white people in the district who hold to lamestream conservative ideology, as if lamestream conservatism and the K are samey same.

  • ncpride

    Oh, for heavens sake. I wish these loony liberals would just come out and say it. If a White person disagrees with, or criticizes the Messiah about anything what-so-ever, you are a Nazi, KKK, bigoted, racists scumbag!

    • Puggg

      Who do you think you are? Alan Grayson?

      • ncpride

        I had to Google ole’ Alan to see what you were talking about. What can you even say about such nonsense anymore? Comparing the Tea Party to the Klan, burning cross included. Just… wow. These people are insane.

        • Alec Smart

          What is insane is that they are serious.

        • Avalon Skye

          I maintain they are just old hippies and young junkies all too doped up to know what they are talking about. Of course I also maintain hippies ruined the world.

  • John Ulfsson

    Sorry, I don’t take soft ‘social science’ which is incredibly open to personal and political bias as evidence.

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    Doesn’t a gov’t shutdown require two obstinate parties? The Senate Dems and Obama could have passed the House bills, but failed to do so. Why did they force a gov’t shutdown?

    • Alec Smart

      Don’t question the media or the government. Nothing to see here. Back to work if you are lucky enough to have a job, or back to your TV if you are on welfare – it pays better than minimum wage now, so nothing to worry about – except what the media tells you to think…

  • bigone4u

    Libtards will sling any bull to stir up white guilt. Remember 2008 and “hope and change” for a “post-racial” America. it was bull. I view the heavy boot of the Feds on my neck as proof that I owe this government no allegiance since it clearly acts as my oppressor.

  • Did Race Play a Role in Knoxville?

    Why won’t they ask questions that really matter?

    Will Race Play a Role in Your New Al-Obamakare N’gro Doctor?

  • me

    The only “raaaycis” tactics I see are coming from the ‘progressive’/Marxist left.

  • MBlanc46

    I’ve got racial resentment all right. Not so much at the blacks, whose genetic deficits are the most significant cause of their behavioral deficits. I resent the integrationists and the multiculturalists who refuse, on ideological grounds, to allow us to take rational action to minimize, for both blacks and whites, the negative consequences of black behavior.

  • DailyKenn

    Of course it did. White racism is the cause of everything that is wrong with everything.
    On the other hand — it seems to me the left is overplaying the race card and common sense seems to be prevailing. The Trayvon Martin episode seemed to be the turning point when white folks realized their were being scammed.

  • shawnmer

    So “racial resentment” is a quality among those not willfully blind to endless easily accessible facts, and hence, a meaningless term beyond, “One who chooses not to be ignorant!”

    Thanks for the definition, WaPo!

  • WR_the_realist

    Remember the good old days when we had a white president? Whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, whether liberal or conservative, were free to criticize him, vilify him, or compare him to a chimpanzee, and never had to fear being called a racist. With Obama, all opposition to his war mongering and statism suddenly becomes racist.

    Now if one of those rare intelligent and conservative blacks like Ben Carson was elected president, the left and media pundits would vilify him mercilessly, and never be called racist.

    A racist is only a conservative or libertarian who criticizes a left wing, big government black politician.

  • leftists are delusional



    Liberal zombies are responsible for the shutdown.