Is there any more room for high school educated whites to move to the right

In 2008 Obama lost high school educated whites (the white working class, the WWC) by 14 points. That was about a 27 point loss in 2012, and then Clinton lost them by 39 points in 2016.

Demographically, things look good for the democrats. Groups that lean democrat are growing as a % of the electorate. Minorities, millennials, single people (especially single women), etc.

However the movement of the WWC to the right seems to have negated all these demographic trends.

The WWC made up about 34% of the electorate in 2016, had they only voted for the GOP candidate by 14% margin in 2016 rather than 39%, then wouldn’t the popular vote margin between Clinton v. Trump have been 52% vs 42%, rather than the 48% vs 46% seen in 2016?

WWC men supported Trump about 3:1, about 75-25. WWC women were more like 2:1 for Trump, about 65-35.

So can the WWC move any more to the right, is there still potential for them to move? Could they become like whites in the deep south, voting GOP 90% of the time? WWC men are already as politically partisan for the GOP as LGBTQ voters are for the dems (both prefer one party over the other by a 3-1 margin). However the gap given by WWC men to the GOP is about as large as the gap given by unmarried women for the democrats, about 3-1 also.

Was 2016 the peak of WWC republicanism, or are they still moving to the right? Back in the 90s, I think the WWC was evenly split between the 2 parties. I’m not sure how they voted in 2000 and 2004, but as of 2008 they only mildly preferred the GOP. The WWC have gone from being evenly split, to mild preferences, to extreme preferences of one party over another in 20 years. Will the trend continue?

My understanding is that traditionally pocket book issues and wars were the major factors in how people voted. So I find it quite incomprehensible of the massive support of the white working class for the Republicans–as the Republican top priority is getting the rich richer–and throwing the rest of the population under the bus. It was only a few years since there was a major recession. The Democrats then in control extended unemployment insurance, food stamps, did a big public works construction program…all of substantial help to the white working class. The Republicans were negative to these type programs. The result: the white working class threw the Democrats out of office and installed Republicans instead.

Perhaps the Democratic campaigns should start emphasizing pocketbook programs and spend less time on minority rights, abortion and similar social issues.

This. “Social Justice” and SJW issues are what gave this election to Trump. I know people don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. As long as the WWC - and eventually, the White Hispanic working class - hear from the Democrats that their problems are less valid because they happen to have less Melanin, the more they will vote Republican. And the longer Democrats cling on to “demographic inevitability” and continue to take African American and Asian American voters for granted, the more they will be met with muted turnout. The Republicans care for the rich, yes, but at least they stand for that as an ideal rather than just virtue signalling. What does the Democratic Party stand for anymore?

And I say that as a registered Democrat. The Democrats became so obsessed with the idea that because of changing demographics would make them be the majority forever that they stopped having any real resounding message or program.

Hillary’s loss is blamed on the WWC solely, as a matter of racism. But she failed to capture 29% of the Asian American vote. She failed to capture 29% of the Latino vote. She lost almost 25% of the Jewish vote. She lost 26% of the Atheist vote. She lost 49% of the 30-39 year old Democratic. She failed to capture 44% of the 18-24 year old vote.

Even among White College graduates, she lost 45-49. A solid 4% of White College graduates voted for a third party.

People can say all they want that this was the result of racism. But the fact is she was a horrible candidate. The racism in this country is very overestimated. Obama was able to win the popular vote by 7% in 2008. Obama in 2008 captured 63% of non-high school graduates. He captured 62% of high school graduates. He captured 54% of the Catholic vote; Hillary was only able to capture 45% of it.

There was a lot more going on though than just Democratic focus on social justice issues. Although relying on a base that doesn’t vote reliably is Bad Strategy 101, to be sure. It’s also unhealthy to have a party that represents minorities and a party that represents whites. That’s a recipe for a revival of sectionalism, and we know where that can lead.

But there was also the fact that Barack Obama wasn’t the change he promised. He was just another typical politician. If Republicans were just mad at Democrats in general or angry about their focus on social issues, then any Republican suffiicently right wing would have been fine. But the Republican base didn’t just reject the Democrats, they rejected establishment Republicans too.

Trump’s election is as much about rejection of politics as usual as it is about anything else. It was also a rejection of elitism, another problem Democrats have had lately. A party that can’t relate to the working class can’t win the working class, no matter how much they promise.

As for how far the white working class can move to the right, that depends on how much like a minority they feel. Minority groups tend to vote as blocs, and the working white class is speeding down that slope. I would not at all be surprised if they voted 90% for a Republican in our lifetimes. They do it in Alabama and Mississippi. According to Democratic demographics theory, Alabama and Mississippi should already be deep blue due to the high minority populations. The reason they are deep red instead is that whites there vote as a bloc. I think you’ll find that will end up being true in most historically red states where demographics are changing. Some states will be exceptions, like Virginia, because Virginia has a highly educated population in Northern Virginia that rely on government jobs. But I can definitely see a future where Democrats can only win the Northeast and the West Coast, even when they win more votes than Republicans nationally.

No, Obama remained quite popular up to the end. If he’d been allowed to run for a third term he would easily have beaten either Clinton or Turmp (both of whom were very unpopular).

One of the problems is that one has to either move ‘to the right’ or ‘to none of the above’ if they don’t agree with the Democratic candidate because there are two major parties. A person might not be especially ‘right wing’ (in the sense of supporting racist policies) but if they don’t like a lot of what the Democrats are pushing, then they’re going to end up moving more ‘right wing’ because that’s the opposition. Plus a number of positions that used to be right-wing are now adopted by both parties - in the past Democrats were generally anti-war, but Obama did a lot of bombing and Hillary is a full-on hawk who voted for the Iraq war, there really isn’t a party to vote for if you think the military-industrial complex and foreign ventures should be cut back even a bit.

Also there’s the whole SJW thing that’s been mentioned. In addition to what Reddy said, if you’re going to say that someone is racist because they sing along to a rap song or think it’s OK for a white guy to wear an afro, or that they’re sexist because they oppose a particular politician who happens to be female, then the accusations stop having any power. If you’re going to be called a racist anyway, supporting a guy who’s racist but also supports your policies suddenly doesn’t look so bad - you get the label either way, but at least you also get your way on some issues.

So you say. My sense is that it was anti-establishment sentiment that won him the election, and how successfully he played to it. ‘Working man’s billionaire’ my ass. How anyone bought that patent contradiction in terms, especially about president Dilbert, is beyond me.

Trump had no specific policies, just empty (and plainly impossible) promises. We’re going to have health care that’s so much better and cheaper, right? Clinton had them in spades, spelled out for anyone who could be bothered to read them. He fed people the lie that the economy was in awful shape, and they bought it hook, line, and sinker because they wanted to. Trump won the messaging. That’s all.

Interesting the way you present the exit poll numbers. Let’s show the fuller story:

African American 88%-8% for Hillary. (Going back to 1936: Obama twice, Gore, Mondale, and LBJ won a greater proportion among all presidential candidates.)
Asian American 65%-29% for Hillary. (Back to 1992: only Obama in 2012 won a greater proportion among all presidential candidates.)
Hispanic 65%-29% for Hillary. (Back to 1980: only Obama and Bubba, twice each, got a greater proportion among all presidential candidates.)
Jewish 71%-24% for Hillary. (Back to 2000: better than Obama in 2012, worse than the three other presidential elections.)
Religiously unaffiliated (not actually all atheist, as you posit) 68%-26% for Hillary. (Back to 2000: worse than Obama, twice, better than Gore and Kerry.)

White 58%-37% for Trump.
Catholic 52% (not 54%)-45% for Trump:
*White Catholic 60%-37% (Back to 2000: best among all presidential candidates.)
*Hispanic Catholic 26%-67% (Back to 2000: better than Romney and McCain, worse than all others. Hillary actually did better among Hispanic Catholics than she did among all Hispanics.)

Note: the years listed are as far back as the data goes in the sources I found. I’m tired of hunting for sources, so I leave it to someone else to pick up the slack on voting history by age.

If you don’t see a color divide there, though, you need some new glasses. Your assertion that racism is overestimated is entirely unsupported.

You’re using the polls taken the day after the election.

I’m using information taken from an aggregate. The data you’re using is also more generalized and not broken down into specific groups. You’re using it to present the narrative that 88% of whites are racist, which is what SJWs tend to do.

There is a belief out there that people tend to be more liberal when they’re young and grow more conservative as they get older. But I think it’s more generational. For example, in 2000, voters 18-24 were split evenly.

We all know that younger voters went for Hillary by a lopsided margin and older voters for Trump by a lopsided margin. I haven’t found detailed demographic data that breaks things down by age within specific groups, but I am pretty sure it holds consistently across most groups that Hillary performed better among the younger set than she did with the older set. I don’t think non-college whites are an exception. Trump is pretty unpopular, and I don’t see that changing, so he’s not winning many new people over to his side. So, barring some major political shakeup in the near future, I’d expect non-college whites as a group to move more towards the center as older voters die off and younger people come of age. That’s assuming that voters aged 14-17 in 2016 are similar to their slightly-older peers, which I think is a pretty good assumption.

Then feel free to cite it any time you want, since you haven’t done it yet, and every single one of my numbers agreed EXACTLY with yours except for the overall Catholic percentage voting for Trump, by 2%. (Btw, of course my data was broken into groups. Hence, you know, the term demographic.)

Interesting again, how you immediately imply that I’m a SJW. I’m curious what calculation you used to come up with that 88% white racist number, since I didn’t, nor did I mention a single thing WRT to any number in relation to white racism.

But please, continue your unsupported assertions, like that white racism is overestimated, or that I’m a SJW.

To some extent, Obama himself was immune, at least when it came to winning elections himself. Yes, he would have been the favorite to win a third term. But that’s because he had incentives markedly different from his party’s:

  1. The voters loyal to him turned out for him and never really cared if he was authentic.
  2. He had a crack team that knew how to win close races with expert strategic allocation of funds and manpower. 2012 should have been a lot closer in terms of the EV than it was, but Obama won the key states he needed by small margins, and in 2008 he did the same to Clinton, winning delegates in caucuses and being willing to settle for reasonable delegate hauls in big states.
  3. Voters did actually punish Obama in many ways. Young voters failed to turn out as much after 2008, and he was not all that popular, hanging around the mid-40s for the bulk of his Presidency.

However, the Democratic Party suffered in part from his sins and in part from their inability to duplicate his feats:

  1. While Obama voters were loyal to him and would turn out for him, they wouldn’t turn out for anyone else. While voters who did not like Obama were extra motivated. At first this was thought to be primarily a midterm phenomenon, but turnout for the Democrats ended up being weak in the 2016 general election as well.
  2. Clinton did NOT have a crack team that could win a close race. They failed to anticipate Obama’s delegate strategy in 2008 and failed to lock down key states in 2016.
  3. While many voters resolutely refuse to hold Obama accountable for being a typical politician, frustration and anger with politics as usual only increased during his term, culminating in a non-politician becoming President. Just becuase voters refused to hold him personally accountable doesn’t mean that his actions didn’t have consequences for others(namely, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and a couple thousand Democratic incumbents nationwide).

To sum up, I wonder just how much more damage Obama would have done to the Democratic brand had he won a third term. The Republicans are already close to controlling enough states to amend the Constitution without Congress. Trump’s election and the backlash against him probably prevents that. It probably also keeps the GOP away from a filibuster-proof majority in 2018 and a possible veto-proof majority by 2022. With Obama as President, these goals become in reach for the GOP, thus leaving Obama personally popular with a motivated base, but also quite irrelevant.

Instructive post, adaher – thanks.

The Republicans won’t deliver for the white working class. They can’t. This leaves the WWC in the position of voting for the Republicans solely as pushback on social issues. Satisfying a couple of times, perhaps, but not really conducive to their long term interests.


They won’t deliver completely, but here’s what they will deliver:

  1. less competition from cheap immigrant labor
  2. at least under Trump, less foreign competition due to trade deals
  3. less environmental regulation that kills fossil fuel jobs
  4. lower taxes, more money in your paycheck

What do the Democrats promise?

  1. right to join a union
  2. more government benefits
  3. protection from the depredations of corporations

I can’t really objectively say that either of these agendas is superior to the other, but I can say that Democrats have done more to legitimately piss off the working class in the last eight years.

The Democrats can also work for other tings the working class might favor:

Cleaner environment
Better access to courts for people harmed by others. (Less tort “reform”)
Healthier economy (on part due to trade agreements)
Less budget deficit
Rational foreign policy
Universal health care
Assistance with the cost of higher education.

Cleaner environment- working class people favor it as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. If it costs actual jobs, they turn against it viciously.

Better access to courts- covered in “protection from corporate depredations”

Healthier economy- the Democrats do have a better economic record at the national level, but Republicans seem to be doing better at the state level in recent years.

Budget deficit- again, Democrats better nationally, Republicans better in the states, and nationally we do best of all with a Democratic President and Republican Congress.

Rational foreign policy- weak-ass foreign policy.

The last two are covered under “government benefits”.

Now I did not say that the Democrats’ agenda was inferior for the working class, only that what they chose to do in the Obama years was actively provocative to their interests.

To me these are the sort of assumptions and attitudes which lead to bad messaging by the democrats. Working class is not poor, and they do not have the same policy interest as poor people. Working class generally want to be able to work and earn a living; so when food stamps and unemployment insurance are just assumed to be what they need it is not going to appeal to them. Basically this kind of messaging is a huge turn off and shows no actual understanding of their situation.

The generational shift really only exists among white people. Also as far as minorities, Hillary did better among the older crowd because the older crowd was less likely to vote 3rd party.

Blacks & latinos are roughly as likely to vote Trump at age 18-29 as they are when they are 65+. The younger blacks and latinos are more likely to vote 3rd party, but not really more likely to vote Trump than the older blacks and latinos. At least not compared to whites.

whites age 18-29 are to the left of older whites. Whites age 18-29 preferred Trump 47-43%, but whites age 45-64 preferred Trump by 62-34%. That is going from a 4 point margin for millennials to a 28 point margin for baby boomers. For blacks and latinos, the gap in favor of Hillary was smaller for the 18-29 crowd, but mostly/only because the 18-29 crowd was more likely to vote 3rd party, not because they voted Trump (9% support among blacks both 18-29 and 65+, 26% among Latinos 18-29 vs 25% for Trump among Latinos 65+).

Overall, the generation gap of liberal vs conservative is mostly a white phenomena if you assume Trump vs. Hillary is a reliable proxy for voting liberal vs conservative. Probably due to the fact that younger whites have more experience with multiculturalism and are not afraid of and intimidated by it the way older whites are.

Still waiting to see your ‘papers,’ Mr. McCarthy.