Sam Smith – Philip Bump last month presented some poll figures that tell a lot about where America is but which have gotten little attention. Examining the average of recent surveys, he found that the only groups that supported Trump by a significant margin were Republicans and whites without a college degree. Whites as a whole were right on the cusp.
It is whites without a college degree that have been grandly ignored by contemporary liberals, unlike their predecessors in the New Deal and Great Society. As liberals became more of an upper class demographic and the labor unions that once played an important role in liberalism became weaker, the indifference towards lower income whites increased.
This played right into the conservative’s game plan. With little reason for loyalty to the Democrats, poorer whites became an easy target for the right.
While comparable black unemployment is considerably higher than for whites, it is still worth noting, for example, that in 2010, the unemployment rates for whites without a high school education was 17%
Further, this has been going on for a long time. For my 1997 book, The Great American Political Repair Manual, I analyzed changes in earnings over a decade and a half based on education, gender and ethnicity. If you were a white guy with only a high school education, that income would have dropped 16%.
Liberal politics in recent decades has ignored such issues, for which the Democrats have paid mightily. It is a reason why the efforts of Bernie Sanders are so hopeful and for Democrats to rediscover their roots at the party of economic as well as civil rights.
|Why some people feel they’ve been screwed
Change in real hourly earnings 1979-93
|1. White women college grads||Up 16%|
|2. Black women with two years of grad school||Up 13%|
|3. All white women||Up 12%|
|4. Black women college grads||Up 10%|
|5. White men with two years of grad school||Up 8%|
|6. All black women||Up 7%|
|7. White women with some college||Up 7%|
|8. Black women with some college||Down 1%|
|9. White women high school grads||Down 2%|
|10. White men college grads||Down 3%|
|11. Black men college grads||Down 3%|
|12. All white men||Down 6%|
|13. Black men with two years of grad school||Down 6%|
|14. Black women with high school diploma or less||Down 7%|
|15. All black men||Down 10%|
|16. White men with some college||Down 10%|
|17. White women with less than high school||Down 11%|
|18. Black men with some college||Down 16%|
|19. White men with high school||Down 16%|
|20. Black men with less than high school||Down 19%|
|21. Black men with high school||Down 20%|
|22. White men with less than high school||Down 23%|