Tom Edsall writes today that, contrary to popular opinion, the surge of whites into the Republican Party has been led mostly by folks without college degrees but with high incomes:
Low-income whites without college degrees have moved to the Republican Party, but because they frequently hold liberal economic views — that is, they support redistributionist measures from which they benefit — they are conflicted in their partisan allegiance.
It’s not hard to see why this is the case, especially for men:
College-educated men haven’t been doing great: their incomes have been treading water for the past 40 years. But men with only a high-school diploma have simply cratered: their incomes have dropped by nearly $20,000 since 1973. Trump appeals to the white segment of this group with his racial demagoguery because he has no real economic message for them and neither do Democrats.
The white working class may not be essential to Democrats these days, but it’s unquestionably a group that has suffered a lot in recent decades and would be receptive to a genuinely populist economic appeal—including, but not limited to, a truly full-throated commitment to unionization. It’s no wonder that Elizabeth Warren is making the inroads that she is.