We Studied Who’s Most Susceptible To Racial Dog Whistles. It’s Not Who You’d

Racial dog whistling has long been a tactic of Republican political messaging. However, our research suggests that in the current political environment, these messages appear to be most effective in swaying the political opinions of liberals — specifically white liberals who harbor higher than average levels of racial resentment.


Well obviously if you’re already a racist conservative who is determined to vote for a racist candidate then a racist dog whistle isn’t going to change your decision, just reinforce it.


Not that surprising.


“It’s not who you’d expect.”

It’s exactly who I’d expect. That’s the whole point of using dog whistles instead of using outright racist language. Trump has gotten huge support from the base by being unapologetically racist, but has alienated the moderates who the soft-pedaling strategy was targeted at.


Real talk; dog whistles aren’t meant for the people who already ‘loudly and proudly’ agree with someone’s offensive sentiment; they are meant for the people who need to have their antisocial bigotry sugar-coated and cut up into easily digestible, bite-sized pieces.


I guess it’s the term “dog whistle” that’s confusing. The metaphor was supposed to be there were coded racist messages that racists could hear but non-racists couldn’t. But I think it turned out that racists weren’t actually that sophisticated. It’s hard to signal your support of racism to loud and proud racists without being overt. Instead what we call a “dog whistle” is really something that we all hear because it’s obvious as hell, but that gives deniability (even if implausible).

It’s less “dog whistle” and more “fog horn accompanied by a claim that you weren’t the one who blew the fog horn” which doesn’t roll of the tongue.



That’s a great point, maybe “Subliminal Racist Messaging” is what they’re looking for here. I think the conflation of the two — Reagan talking about “States Rights” in Neshoba) as a dog whistle versus Willie Horton as subliminally conflating race with violent crime — might be blinding us when it comes to battling each.



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