While the blue-collar worker is not the key to Trump’s popularity,
the blue-collar voter is
how Clinton lost.
She lost rust belt states that went to Obama twice. She assumed she had them and barely campaigned there. Because media and outlets like 538
print stories with “hard numbers” that are significantly massaged, I went through state counties and counted which flipped between ’12 and ’16—and they are not making $70,000/yr per household. (No, this isn’t final vote raw data. They aren’t available yet. And, yes, I could be wrong.) For example, why compare Trump supporters’ incomes
to Clintons’, and then compare Trump supporters’ education
to “the average American” rather than Clinton supporters? Because Clinton supporters have higher educations. Why hide that? (And if both Clinton and Trump supporters have higher educations than the average American, can we conclude that a large number of the not-college educated don’t vote?) Because it dislocates the liberal narrative that higher education means higher income and “self-improvement.” It doesn’t. We are a population with more education and lower pay
than has ever existed. These “hard number” reports also conflate January polls, primary exit polls and general polls to support what they want to support, and it’s misleading.
The well-off, educated Trump supporters are the same Republicans in the same states that always
vote Republican, and Democrats were shocked that they didn’t come over to Clinton as they expected.
This is what happened. But the Republicans don’t want to pay higher taxes and they’re religious and they don’t care if others will be harmed. This has been true for decades. It didn’t begin in 2016. If anyone was paying attention this year, they would have understood this, but liberals were so high in their bubble that they pretended that life-long Republicans
would vote for Clinton. They didn’t.
In West Virginia, which is hardly characteristic of this well-off, educated Trump supporter, the median household income is $42,019 (per capita income $23,539). They voted Republican in 2008 (though 7 counties went blue), in 2012 (0 counties went blue), and 2016 (again, 0 counties went blue). Observing West Virginia now doesn’t explain why they didn’t vote for a Democrat. They rarely do.
Why did people who voted twice for Obama switch to Trump this time? Why did Democrats lose across all levels of government? This is where we need to work. If we push former Democrats farther right, it could be disastrous. The liberal media narrative that it wasn’t the working class dislocates their culpability in the loss. Too many traditionally blue states went red, and that is where Clinton lost this election. It’s important that we face that rather than pretend, really, Democratic neoliberal policies do help the poor. See? They voted for us!
I am also a little bit shocked by how many comfortable, well-educated people seem to have so little understanding that others’ realities may be very, very different than one’s own.