Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Election Update: Is Clinton’s Lead A Bounce Or A New Equilibrium? | FiveThirtyEight

Election Update: Is Clinton’s Lead A Bounce Or A New Equilibrium? | FiveThirtyEight

One thing I have rarely seen mentioned is the effect Trump's candidacy may have on future elections. For years, the Democratic party has relied on the solid support of union workers, but those guys have essentially been voting contrary to their own philosophy, with their ideological leanings being trumped by their self-interest as union members.

(That's not the only illustration of the phenomenon of party affiliation out-weighing ideology. It's not even the most significant. Remember when the "Solid South" used to vote for liberal Democrats in national elections? It wasn't that long ago. JFK out-polled Nixon in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Those states essentially put JFK in office, whereupon he started them on the road to integration and voting rights. Looking back on that, their support for him seems almost suicidal. Those are Republican states today. Every single one voted for Romney in 2012.)

Blue collar and non-college male voters were the backbone of the New Deal and the post-war Democratic constituency, as summarized in The Atlantic: "From 1952 through 1980, in fact, no Democratic nominee reached even 40 percent with college-educated whites, except Johnson. During that same period, no Democratic nominee failed to reach 40 percent of the vote with non-college whites, except George McGovern in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1980. Over these eight elections, every Democratic nominee except McGovern ran better, usually significantly better, among non-college-educated whites than among their college-educated peers. This was a world in which Democrats were the party of people who worked with their hands, and Republicans represented those who wore suits and worked behind desks."

The defection of the working class males to the GOP is already apparent in the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and that group really doesn't care much for President Obama, with working class whites of both genders preferring Romney 55-37. It now appears that Trump has captured that group in his tiny fists, achieving a massive increase over Romney's already substantial lead, partly because he seems to speak for them (and like them), and partly because those white non-college males tend to dislike Hillary Clinton as much or more than President Obama. From Romney to Trump, the bloc of white men with no degree has shifted to the GOP by 14 points. (Mirrored by college-educated women shifting nine points in the opposite direction.)

The big question is this: will that bloc of working class voters, especially males, continue to vote so heavily Republican post-Trump? Maybe so. These trends, once set in motion, don't usually reverse. Even if Trump loses the election, he may have transformed the electorate permanently, in ways that a Republican without Trump's baggage can capitalize on in the future. Working class whites are responding overwhelmingly to the GOP's message in general, so states like Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania could move permanently into the red camp. The only real consolation for the Dems is that this voting bloc is becoming an ever-smaller portion of the electorate.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be a bit hesitant in drawing the conclusion that Trump is drawing in White working class voters in record numbers.

    The big problem with the 14 points over Romney among uneducated Whites figure above is that it comes from the height of the Trump "Bounce" last week. I'm still convinced that this pro-Trump surge from July has nothing whatever to do with Trump or the convention and everything to do with the police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

    You also have to remember that ideology over self-interest was how the conservative "Bourbon Democrats" of the late nineteenth century in the South withheld power from Populists and the "Redneck" Democrats (the term actually originated in a flyer urging working class Democrats to vote against the elite in a Southern primary, IIRC).

    Bob Dylan wrote one of his more factually accurate protest songs on the subject: "Only a pawn in their game."

    "A South politician preaches to the poor white man
    "You got more than blacks, don't complain
    You're better than them, you been born with white skin" they explain
    And the Negro's name
    Is used it is plain
    For the politician's gain
    As he rises to fame
    And the poor white remains
    On the caboose of the train
    But it ain't him to blame
    He's only a pawn in their game."

    The New Deal Coalition was partly driven by the Bourbons and the Rednecks having precious little use for the Laizzez Faire economics of Republicans who were still the party of Black Rights through the 1930s, especially during the Great Depression, but this was, in the case of the Bourbons, more of an unthinking reaction to the policies of their rivals instead of something calculated for their own economic self-interest. One of the few good things one can say about Warren Harding was that he was much nicer to non-Whites than was politically necessary, and Jesse Owens endorsed Alf Landon in 1936.

    Once Blacks started voting for Democrats in the 1940s through the 1960s, a breakup of the New Deal Coalition was probably inevitable.

    I'd also consider whether or not Democrats have been doing a good job of appealing to working class White self-interest, and whether the Democratic working class White vote in the last two presidential elections might not already be artificially suppressed for.. other reasons. A couple years back you pointed out to me the Edison Research Presidential Exit Polls on Missisippi in 2004, 2008 and 2012. I'd suggest looking at former Democratic Governor Musgrove's 2008 Senate campaign Exit Polls and those of former Democratic Representative in his 2014 Senate bid. They are 16% and 16% of Mississippi's Whites compared to Kerry's 14% and Obama's 11% and 10%, IIRC. And Childers pulled that percentage in a midterm with a godawful overall electoral climate for Democrats. Had black turnout been on a Presidential level, there been no Ebola scare, and had there been any DSCC support for him, I think Childers could actually have won.

    Then you should Google MS Attorney General Jim Hood's election history. Ideologically moderate Democrats who emphasize bringing home the bacon for working Whites CAN win elections in 21st century Red States.