The far left in America loves government. Advocacy groups are always calling for new laws, new regulations, new bans and more layers of bureaucracy to put a stop to whatever they dislike. The right is increasingly suspicious of it, regarding every policy as a road to George Orwell's "1984".
That was not always the case. In the 1950s and '60s, it was the left who was on the right and the right was on the left. Government meant law and order and the right was opposed to anarchy and protests promoted by the left.
One group has not changed its stance on the benefits of government since that time: black Republicans. They trust the government more than other groups and for good reason. It was a Republican president who had been the commander of American forces in World War II (and instituted the end to desegregation in the military) and who made discrimination illegal in government jobs and during the Little Rock, Arkansas integration crisis after the , he federalized 10,000 National Guard troops and sent in the 101st Airborne to protect black children from riots and he had appointed Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which made racial desegregation possible. Voting for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 showed Democrats were against it, black Republicans are the reason so many southern states became Republican after that.
Using election data from 1958 – 2012, the new analysis details the levels of government trust for black and white Americans. While black and white groups show similar levels of political trust overall, when party lines are factored in, black Republicans are revealed to be the most faithful.
In America's two-party system, people have to take sides and be willing to side with ideas they may find unpopular, a level of compromise many nations don't require. You can't be solely focused on green issues in America, if you want to be green, you also have to be pro-abortion and high taxes and for government spying. A business owner in America has to be against abortion and for high defense spending. One party tells black people that they need big government to succeed, the other tells people they don't need government to succeed. Clearly those appeal to different mindsets and there are a lot fewer black people in the Republican party. There is a schism in the parties when it comes to amnesty for illegal aliens for the same r
"Being both black and Republican is seen by some as going against one's self interest," says sociology professor Rima Wilkes. "It's likely that in order to identify as a black Republican, albeit a very small group, one must have an unusual confidence in the political system and its fairness, irrespective of who is in charge."
Previous studies have found democracies work best when citizens trust their government. Overall, Americans trusted the government the most in the early 1960s and the least when Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were president.
"Ideally, people would trust the government no matter who is in power, but this study shows U.S. voters place a lot of faith on individual leaders," says Wilkes.
In addition to political trust, the study measured the likability of each president from the past half-century based on race and party affiliation.
The study found that black and white Democrats have liked Barack Obama more than any other president since 1958. Richard Nixon was the most liked president of black Republicans in 1974 and George W. Bush was the most liked president of white Republicans in 2002.
The study, We Trust in Government, Just not In Yours: Race, Partisanship, and Political Trust, 1958 – 2012, appears in the journal, Social Science Research, and is available online here. The print version will be published in early 2015.
The study did not measure trust or support levels of other races due to a lack of sufficient data.
The likeability of each president was determined by the data's presidential thermometer measure. Respondents were asked to rate presidents on a scale of 0 to 100 with 0 indicating feeling "cold" and 100 indicating feeling "warm."
The study also revealed:
- the number of white Democrats is on the decline, while the number of white Republicans is going up
- Black Democrats trust the government less than white Democrats when the sitting president is Republican