Democratic politicians that want to win will need to start paying at least some attention to working-class whites. Data analysis indicates that working-class whites are still one of the largest components of the Democratic base.
Studies of the exit polls concluded that working-class white voters are more important and influential in the Democratic Party than college-educated whites, The New York Times’ Thomas B. Edsall concluded. Edsall has uncovered surveys that show Democrats will need to win the support of a substantial percentage of whites without college degrees to win.
The most interesting conclusions from Edsall’s research include:
- Whites without college degrees make up around 33% or one-third of the likely Democratic voters, a March 20 Pew Research Center Poll concluded.
- Whites with college degrees make up around 26% or slightly more than one fourth of the probable Democratic voters.
- The majority of the likely Democratic voters 59% are “white.”
- Around 41% of the probable Democrat voters are “nonwhite.”
- Around 28% of probable Democratic voters are nonwhites without college degrees.
- Whites without college degrees made the largest group of voters 44%.
- Whites without college degrees made up around 30% of the electorate.
- Exit polls overestimated the number of whites without college degrees at 37%. This was probably because some whites without college degrees lied about having one.
That means persons without college degrees, who are presumably working class made up a majority of probable Democratic voters around 53%. This might explain why Hillary Clinton’s campaign; which was directed almost entirely at white-college educated women, failed so miserably.
Clinton received just 28% of white working-class votes, compared to Barrack Obama’s 36% in 2012. That means around 8% of working-class whites who voted for Obama did not vote or voted for somebody other than Clinton.
Note: this does not mean they voted for Trump, there were two prominent third-party candidates; Libertarian Gary Johnson (New Mexico), and the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein (Massachusetts) in the race. Johnson picked up around 4.489 million votes or 3.27% of the total; more than enough to swing close states like Wisconsin, according to the US Election Atlas.
How Hillary Lost the Working Class
Democrats are going to have to find ways to appeal to working-class whites. The most obvious method is to promote a radical expansion of the welfare state. This would include increasing existing benefits like Social Security and promoting new ones like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) free college scheme, single-payer healthcare, and Basic Income.
One conclusion that Democrats should not draw here is that working-class whites are automatically conservative. After reviewing polling data, University of Massachusetts-Amherst Professor Brian F. Schaffner estimated that around 12% of Trump voters were leftists voicing opposition to Hillary R. Clinton’s moderate business-friendly campaign.
An obvious conclusion we can make is that left-leaning working-class whites might not have voted, or voted for somebody other than Hillary. An intriguing possibility is that some of them voted for Trump as a method of “socking it to the man.” Not surprisingly, Clinton, and her apologists in the big media do not seem to have received that memo yet.
Fortunately, a few Democrats like U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) and Andrew Yang have. Harris has come out in favor of Medicare for All, and Yang is aggressively promoting a $1,000 a month basic income scheme. It looks as if working-class whites will decide who the next president of the United States will be and neither conservatives nor moderate Democrats will like their choice.