On CNN's New Day Saturday, the show devoted a six-minute segment to the book, Dying of Whiteness, giving author and Vanderbilt University Professor Jonathan Metzl a forum to argue that poor white Republicans "vote in a way that may be killing them" because they are allegedly fixated on voting for race-based reasons.
The segment even invoked poor whites in the late 19th century who refused to ally with recently freed slaves on common interests because of racial resentment.
At 7:43 a.m. Eastern, during a plug in which the words "Author: 'Trump is a health hazard to his supporters'" were displayed on screen, co-host Victor Blackwell teased: "As white working class lives are getting a little more difficult, some would say, one author says they are dying of whiteness. Why he says policies leading to those problems are backed by the very people they hurt the most."
After a commercial break, co-host Christi Paul recalled that Republican voters have supported conservative positions on issues like ObamaCare and gun control, and then claimed that GOP voters are more likely to suffer harm when their views on those issues win out:
But one researcher says the people who send those candidates to Washington are actually hurting themselves. They're more likely to die from inadequate health care, from guns or opioid addiction. 'So why do they continue to vote in a way that may be killing them?' he says. Professor Jonathan Metzl says it boils down to the core of so many things in American politics. He says that is race.
She then introduced Professor Metzl as a guest and read the title of his book: Dying from Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America's Heartland.
After Professor Metzl spent time recalling the results of focus groups in which more conservative members tended to talk more moderate members out of taking liberal views on issues like gun control or ObamaCare, co-host Paul brought up racial tenstions that existed in the past between poor whites and blacks. Paul:
History tells us that years ago white workers helped keep black workers down -- they also hurt their own wages in the process. But scholars back then understood that those white workers got a payoff. They were higher on the social totum pole. What do you identify as the payoff now?
Metzl recalled the history of poor white Southerners being unwilling to ally with poor blacks after the Civil War because of racism, noting that it made whites "feel like you were someone who was better than someone below the totum pole." He then added:
And I think the same issues are at play right now, in a way. I feel like the political arena right now for white working-class Southerners -- and I should say I'm a Southerner myself -- but the notion is, even though things are tough for you, you're still better off than the people below you. And that's an incredibly powerful message, particularly in this moment in time.