The myth of the reactionary white working class
Publisher: World Socialist Website
Date Written: 12/11/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20125
Following the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, the Democratic Party and media have attributed the results to the ignorance, backwardness and inherent racism and sexism of the "white working class." This identity-based presentation is a false narrative exploded by the most basic analysis of the data from the election.
As a percentage of votes cast, all racial groups swung toward the Republican candidate in 2016 compared to 2012. However, white voters showed the lowest swing to the Republicans (1 percentage point), compared with African-Americans (7 percentage points), Latinos (8 percentage points), and Asian-Americans (11 percentage points).
These shifts, which occurred within the broader framework of abstention, were driven largely by economic issues. Fifty-two percent of voters said that the economy was the most important issue in the election, far above the second most important issue at 18 percent. Racial and gender issues did not register, while sixty-eight percent of voters said their financial situation was the same or worse than it was four years ago. Thirty-nine percent said they were looking for a candidate who "can bring change," and of these, 83 percent voted for Trump. This equals roughly 40 million votes, or two thirds of Trump's total.
Clinton's electoral defeat is bound up with the nature of the Democratic Party, an alliance of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus with privileged sections of the upper-middle class based on the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation. Over the course of the last forty years, the Democratic Party has abandoned all pretenses of social reform, a process escalated under Obama. Working with the Republican Party and the trade unions, it is responsible for enacting social policies that have impoverished vast sections of the working class, regardless of race or gender.