A Targeted Experience: How Presidential Rhetoric Influences Relations Between Police and People of Color
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The current political administration has been deemed one of the most racially charged administrations in history. President Trump has been accused of “pushing an anti-immigrant hate into the mainstream” and using rhetoric to “fuel white supremacism” (Beirich 2019). He has been criticized for using Twitter as a “bully pulpit,” which is used to emphasize the national salience a president puts on an issue to shift attitudes of the public (Tedin, Rottinghaus, and Rodgers 2011). The bully pulpit, in turn has shaped the attitudes of certain groups, and may have elevated negative attitudes towards people of color (Hopkins 2010). The question is whether the attitudes of people of color are also changing. The key is whether the use of the bully pulpit is affecting attitudes, not just toward the president, but toward other government officials. Through the use of a survey experiment, this project aims to measure the effect presidential rhetoric can have on attitudes of people of color towards police in particular. I argue that presidential rhetoric can have a negative effect on relations between people of color and police and in turn bring tension into future encounters between the two parties.
Hinojosa, Valeria Rubi (2020). A Targeted Experience: How Presidential Rhetoric Influences Relations Between Police and People of Color. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from