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GOP Goes Full Blue-Collar, Or Do They…

The Wall Street Journal has an extensive report on the changing demographics and dynamics in America…

The Republican Party has become the party of blue-collar America.

After the 1992 election, 15 of the 20 most manufacturing-intensive Congressional districts in America were represented by Democrats. Today, all 20 are held by Republicans.

The shift of manufacturing from a Democratic stronghold to a Republican one is a major force remaking the two parties. It helps explain Donald Trump’s political success, the rise of Republican protectionism and the nation’s polarized politics. It will help shape this year’s midterm elections. https://on.wsj.com/2zVvd2H

The Journal piece goes on to mention the media loving belief that Trump voters are less affluent and have been left behind in the new economy…

The new manufacturing heartland runs through areas outside suburbs along interstate highways south from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin through Ohio and into the Carolinas and the deep South.

There, whites without a college education, who identified with the Republican Party’s focus on social issues and abortion restrictions, took up many of the factory jobs. The Trump administration’s tough stance on trade deepened the bonds with workers who believed they were hurt by free-trade deals.

While it is true that blue-collar works may have tipped the scale for Trump in rust belt states like Ohio and Michigan.  The reality is Trump voters are the same Republicans that have made up the party for quite some time according to a study in June 2017…

To look at it another way, among white people without college degrees who voted for Trump, nearly 60 percent were in the top half of the income distribution. In fact, one in five white Trump voters without a college degree had a household income over $100,000.

Observers have often used the education gap to conjure images of poor people flocking to Trump, but the truth is, many of the people without college degrees who voted for Trump were from middle- and high-income households. That’s the basic problem with using education to measure the working class. https://wapo.st/2uNqOJm

With so much evidence to the contrary, why does this myth persist?  Just because someone isn’t currently being left behind doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned they won’t sometime soon.  A study in April found that economic anxiety, and not there current economic situation, that led voters to Trump…

A study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences questions that explanation, the latest to suggest that Trump voters weren’t driven by anger over the past, but rather fear of what may come. White, Christian and male voters, the study suggests, turned to Mr. Trump because they felt their status was at risk.

“It’s much more of a symbolic threat that people feel,’’ said Diana C. Mutz, the author of the study and a political science and communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics. “It’s not a threat to their own economic well-being; it’s a threat to their group’s dominance in our country over all.” https://nyti.ms/2O2UL0E

As FDR once said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  The fear of something can be worse than it actually happening.  While it is true that blue-collar works probably swung the election for President Trump by helping him break the blue wall in the rust-belt.  It, however, is not true that white working-class voters make up the majority of the GOP.  There is no doubt they have a big voice.  Union workers opinions have reached the mainstream as now fewer Republicans believe in immigration and free trade than ever before.  That, however, is not because of what they’ve done but what they could do.  The GOP is the same GOP it has always been.  They just have a different guy with different opinions leading the pack.

 

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