Why did Americans vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election? Social scientists have proposed a variety of explanations, including economic dissatisfaction, sexism, racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. The current study establishes that, independent of these influences, voting for Trump was, at least for many Americans, a symbolic defense of the United States' perceived Christian heritage. Data from a national probability sample of Americans surveyed soon after the 2016 election shows that greater adherence to Christian nationalist ideology was a robust predictor of voting for 'Rump, even after controlling for economic dissatisfaction, sexism, anti-black prejudice, anti-Muslim refugee attitudes, and anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as measures of religion, sociodemographics, and political identity more generally. These findings indicate that Christian nationalist ideology-although correlated with a variety of class-based, sexist, racist, and ethnocentric views-is not synonymous with, reducible to, or strictly epiphenomenal of such views. Rather, Christian nationalism operates as a unique and independent ideology that can influence political actions by calling forth a defense of mythological narratives about America's distinctively Christian heritage and future.
Based on her analysis of published tables from US homemakers' 1924-32 week-long time use diaries collected by the US Department of Agriculture, Vanek (1974) concluded that housework time had not declined over the previous half-century-despite the diffusion of many "time-saving" home technologies. Although frequently challenged, this claim still survives in parts of the sociological literature; we use newly available evidence to refute it. Analysis of the original USDA diaries (many of which have now been recovered from the US National Archives), alongside more recent diary microdata from the American Heritage Time Use Study, reveals a pair of clear and contrary trends: a continuing decline in women's core housework (cooking and cleaning), partially offset by an increase of time in childcare and shopping. Names and addresses attached to the original diaries allow the identification of more than 93 percent of the USDA diarists in one or both of the 1920 and 1930 US Federal Censuses. Analysis (Oaxaca decomposition) of the household-and individual-level information from this source shows that most of the historical time shifts result not from changes in family demography or women's growing attachment to paid work over this period but from "behavioral" change, reflecting in part the spread of labor-saving domestic technology.
Racial inequality in economic outcomes, particularly among the college educated, persists throughout US society. Scholars debate whether this inequality stems from racial differences in human capital (e.g., college selectivity, GPA, college major) or employer discrimination against black job candidates. However, limited measures of human capital and the inherent difficulties in measuring discrimination using observational data make determining the cause of racial differences in labor-market outcomes a difficult endeavor. In this research, I examine employment opportunities for white and black graduates of elite top-ranked universities versus high-ranked but less selective institutions. Using an audit design, I create matched candidate pairs and apply for 1,008 jobs on a national job-search website. I also exploit existing birth-record data in selecting names to control for differences across social class within racialized names. The results show that although a credential from an elite university results in more employer responses for all candidates, black candidates from elite universities only do as well as white candidates from less selective universities. Moreover, race results in a double penalty: When employers respond to black candidates, it is for jobs with lower starting salaries and lower prestige than those of white peers. These racial differences suggest that a bachelor's degree, even one from an elite institution, cannot fully counteract the importance of race in the labor market. Thus, both discrimination and differences in human capital contribute to racial economic inequality.
We use data from a nationally representative survey to analyze anti-atheist sentiment in the United States in 2014, replicating analyses from a decade earlier and extending them to consider the factors that foster negative sentiment toward other non-religious persons. We find that anti-atheist sentiment is strong, persistent, and driven in part by moral concerns about atheists and in part by agreement with cultural values that affirm religiosity as a constitutive moral grounding of citizenship and national identity. Moral concerns about atheists also spill over to shape attitudes toward those who are spiritual but not religious (SBNRs) and influence evaluations of the recent decline in religious identification. Americans have more positive views of SBNRs than of atheists, but a plurality of Americans still negatively evaluate the increase in the percentage of Americans who claim no religious identification (nones). Our analyses show the continuing centrality of religiously rooted moral boundary-making in constituting cultural membership in the American context.
This paper examines populist claims-making in US presidential elections. We define populism as a discursive strategy that juxtaposes the virtuous populace with a corrupt elite and views the former as the sole legitimate source of political power. In contrast to past research, we argue that populism is best operationalized as an attribute of political claims rather than a stable ideological property of political actors. This analytical strategy allows us to systematically measure how the use of populism is affected by a variety of contextual factors. Our empirical case consists of 2,406 speeches given by American presidential candidates between 1952 and 1996, which we code using automated text analysis. Populism is shown to be a common feature of presidential politics among both Democrats and Republicans, but its prevalence varies with candidates' relative positions in the political field. In particular, we demonstrate that the probability of a candidate's reliance on populist claims is directly proportional to his distance from the center of power (in this case, the presidency). This suggests that populism is primarily a strategic tool of political challengers, and particularly those who have legitimate claims to outsider status. By examining temporal changes in populist claims-making on the political left and right, its variation across geographic regions and field positions, and the changing content of populist frames, our paper contributes to the debate on populism in modern democracies, while integrating field theory with the study of institutional politics.
Millions of families across the United States are evicted each year. Yet, we know next to nothing about the impact eviction has on their lives. Focusing on low-income urban mothers, a population at high risk of eviction, this study is among the first to examine rigorously the consequences of involuntary displacement from housing. Applying two methods of propensity score analyses to data from a national survey, we find that eviction has negative effects on mothers in multiple domains. Compared to matched mothers who were not evicted, mothers who were evicted in the previous year experienced more material hardship, were more likely to suffer from depression, reported worse health for themselves and their children, and reported more parenting stress. Some evidence suggests that at least two years after their eviction, mothers still experienced significantly higher rates of material hardship and depression than peers.
Between 1790 and 1952, naturalization was reserved primarily for "free white persons." Asian immigrants were deemed non-white and racially ineligible for citizenship by legislation and the courts. European immigrants and, importantly, Mexican immigrants were considered white by law and eligible for naturalization. Yet, few Mexicans acquired US citizenship. By 1930, only 9 percent of Mexican men had naturalized, compared to 60 percent of southern and eastern Europeans and 80 percent of northern and western Europeans. If Mexicans were legally white, why did they rarely acquire citizenship in the early decades of the 20th century? We go beyond analyses focused on formal law or individual-level determinants to underscore the importance of region and non-white social status in influencing naturalization. Using 1930 US Census microfile data, we find that while individual characteristics (e.g., length of residence and literacy) explain some of the gulf in citizenship, the context of reception mattered nearly as much. Even if Mexicans were "white by law," they were often judged non-white in practice, which significantly decreased their likelihood of naturalizing. Moreover, the more welcoming political and social climate of the Northeast and Midwest, where most European migrants lived, facilitated their acquisition of American citizenship.