Tali Mendelberg was quoted in a New York Times opinion piece that compares the infamous Willie Horton ad to today's extreme rhetoric on the campaign trail:
The Willie Horton ad did not single-handedly win the election for Mr. Bush. It simply capitalized on the fears of (mostly white) American voters at that time. In this election cycle, no candidate has taken more advantage of those types of fears than Mr. Trump, according to Tali Mendelberg, a politics professor at Princeton and author of “The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages, and the Norm of Equality.”
“Republicans win largely with support from white voters, so they have incentives to rally their base around racial fears and resentments,” she said. “The only trick to that strategy is not to run afoul of norms of racial equality that prohibit sounding explicitly racist. Trump more than anyone else in modern American history is loosening that norm.”
Tali Mendelberg is Professor of Politics and CSDP-affiliated faculty member.