States that Trump visited in 2016 saw increase in hate crime
While President Donald Trump’s declarative tweets certainly encourage hate groups now, his presence in states while campaigning during the 2016 presidential elections had raised hate crime in those areas.
This was the discovery of a study reported by the Washington Post, wherein those counties that hosted Trump’s political rallies in 2016 saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes as compared to other counties that didn’t.
“”We examined this question, given that so many politicians and pundits accuse Trump of emboldening white nationalists,” the analysts told the Post.
Hate crime in Trump’s wake
Researchers of the University of North Texas wanted to determine whether Trump’s visit to towns on the campaign trail had encouraged white nationalists.
The study was conducted by University of North Texas professors Regina Branton and Valerie Martinez-Ebers, and PhD candidate Ayal Feinberg.
The study uses data from the Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism, Terrorism map data (HEAT map) of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) from reported incidents of hate crimes.
Using this data, the group came up with a matrix to measure Trump’s campaign rallies correlated with incidences of hate crimes.
Trump equals hate crime incidences?
While their findings noted that Trump’s rhetoric encouraged hate crimes, they cautioned that this correlation doesn’t mean causation.
“Our analysis cannot be certain it was Trump’s campaign rally rhetoric that caused people to commit more hate crimes in the host county.” the authors said.
But they further said that it is hard to discount a “Trump effect,” given that a number of the reported hate crimes referenced Trump.
They also don’t believe the accusations that the reporting of hate crimes is fake. They said: “In fact, this charge is frequently used as a political tool to dismiss concerns about hate crimes.”
According to the ADL’s 2016 data, these incidents included vandalism, intimidation and assault.
Hate crime by the numbers
In an annual FBI report published in November 2018, hate crimes in the US increased by 17 percent from 2016 to 2017.
The researchers said that they aren’t suggesting Trump directly caused of the hate crime, but the then-presidential candidate’s refusal to condemn such messages or incidents may have pushed the idea.
They further said that based on research, hate crime statistics are considerably lower because of underreporting.
“We examined this question, given that so many politicians and pundits accuse Trump of emboldening white nationalists,” the researchers told The Post.
In response to critics who said he should tone his language, Trump has said, “I think my language is very nice.”