Speaking on NPR on December 22, the president blamed the rise of Donald Trump on “economic stresses that people have been going through because of the financial crisis.” This point was re-iterated in the State of the Union, where the new politics of xenophobia was attributed to “economic disruptions that strain working families.”
In focusing on economic disruption, the president is very much coming down on one side of an argument. But there are some liberals, including Matthew Yglesias of Vox and the New Republic’s Brian Beutler, who disagree. They see racism as not just a byproduct of economic difficulties, but something that in and of itself appeals to Trump voters.
Or as Beutler tweeted, economic insecurity hardly explains the xenophobia of wealthy Fox News contributors like Megyn Fox: