This was based on reverse reasoning: overt racists flocked to Trump. They are the experts on who is a racist.
After the votes were in, there were plenty of attempts to show that racism was not the main driver. among the more interesting were comparisons of counties that voted for Obama twice and Trump.
Now The Washington Post has publicized a social science approach using a long secular series of interview data.
Finally, the statistical tool of regression can tease apart which had more influence on the 2016 vote: authoritarianism or symbolic racism, after controlling for education, race, ideology, and age. Moving from the 50th to the 75th percentile in the authoritarian scale made someone about 3 percent more likely to vote for Trump. The same jump on the SRS scale made someone 20 percent more likely to vote for Trump.So political scientist Thomas Wood concludes: "Racial attitudes made a bigger difference in electing Trump than authoritarianism."
Sounds right to me.
I am less impressed by the finding that, for the second time since the interviews began in 1948, rich Republicans were less supportive of their party's candidate. The reason is that I doubt whether the sample (1,400) included any people that Trump would class as rich.
In this respect, four years ago, I heard assertions that Romney, with only a few hundred million, was not regarded as au fait among the billionairate. Who was the only other Republican candidate not to get his party's wealthy on board?
Truly, Fitzgerald was right.