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  • Seema

not likely

I spoke with a 60-year-old, White, cis female who lives in a rural state in the West. She is a Democrat in her heart, but registers Republican so her vote can have an impact in her state, which is a reliably Republican stronghold.

She talked through the history of racism in her state, from the massacre of immigrant Chinese miners by immigrant White miners in the late 19th century, to the concentration camp used to intern Japanese Americans evicted from the West Coast during World War II, to oil and gas operators on Indian reservations found stealing oil from the tribes in the 1970s and 1980s, to mass deportation raids in the 1990s. She said today racism is just below the surface: name-calling and stereotyping. But because of the harshness of living in this state, people can also be kind, "If someone from a different race is stuck in a snowstorm, people will help."

The top issues for people in her state are oil and gas and mining. The White community in her state -- Trump voters -- feel judged. Racism is never flagged as an issue among the voters. The state goes up and down with the oil and gas industry. The opposition to the Federal Government has deep roots in her state, beginning with homesteading in the 19th century, to opposition to the 55 mph speed limit, to opposition to the helmet law. Opposition to mask mandates were predictable.

"Anything is possible," she said in response to the prompt, imagine a U.S. without racism. But, she believes, in her state it's "not likely."

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