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Ian Haney Lopez

Ian Haney López is a law professor and commentator on coded racism in American politics. His most recent book is Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America (New Press, Fall 2019).

Merge Left builds on his previous book, Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class (2014). That book anticipated the political tactics of Donald Trump by tracking the fifty-year history of politicians helping the new oligarchs through a strategy of racial divide-and-conquer.

Merge Left explains how the political exploitation of coded racism has evolved under Trump—and outlines an evidence-based approach on how to beat it. The evidence comes from the two-year race-class narrative research project involving focus groups and national polling. The main takeaway from the extensive research is that naming racism as a weapon of the rich and calling for coming together across racial lines proved to be the most effective way to defang the Right’s racial fear narratives and to build broad cross-racial support for racial justice as well as for economic populism.

Ian holds an endowed chair as the Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches in the areas of race and constitutional law. He co-founded the Race-Class Narrative Project, exploring how to defeat dog whistle politics. He also co-chaired the AFL-CIO’s recent Advisory Council on Racial and Economic Justice. In addition to Merge Left and Dog Whistle Politics, Ian is also the author of White by Law as well as Racism on Trial, books that critique the legal construction of race.

Ian has been a visiting law professor at Yale, New York University, and Harvard, and holds a master’s degree in history from Washington University, a master’s in public policy from Princeton, and a law degree from Harvard. He lives in Richmond, California.

Merge Left


Race, Class, and Politics