Chart of the Day: Democrats and the White Working Class #2

Yesterday I challenged you to figure out why working-class white voters identified themselves with the Democratic Party quite stably for nearly two decades—including 2008, when about half of them voted for Obama—but then suddenly abandoned the party in big numbers starting a year after Obama was elected. The most common guess had to do with the tanking of the economy, but that doesn’t really work. There have have been good times and bad times ever since World War II, and the bad times don’t routinely cause working class whites to abandon the Democratic Party. Besides, if that were the case, you’d expect this group to steadily return to the party after about 2012, when the economy recovered. They didn’t.

No, it’s something else. To help you out, here’s another chart. It’s from the Wall Street Journal, and it shows gun sales suddenly rising starting in 2009 and then suddenly slumping after 2016. Sales were high during the Obama era, and only during the Obama era.

What could be the cause of this? Whatever could be the cause?

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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