Who Put Trump in the White House?
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/01/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21522
The media story in the days following the 2016 election was that a huge defection of angry, white, blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt from their traditional Democratic voting patterns put Donald J. Trump in the White House in a grand slap at the nation's "liberal" elite. But is that the real story?
Exit polls taken during the primaries, when the Trump revolt began, showed that the whole election process was skewed toward the better-off sections of U.S. society, and that Trump did better among them than Clinton. Looking at those voters in the general election from the 26% of U.S. households earning more than $100,000, who are unlikely to be working class these days, we see that Clinton got 34% of her vote, and Trump a slightly larger 35% of his, from these well-to-do voters.
In other words, upper-income groups were overrepresented in the voting electorate as a whole, and both candidates drew a disproportionate part of their vote from the well-to-do, with Trump a bit more reliant on high-income voters. This in itself doesn't rule out a working-class shift to Trump, but the media's version of this is based on a problematic definition.
Among other problems, a large majority of those without a college degree don't vote at all. Furthermore, people who don't vote are generally to the left of those who do on economic issues and the role of government. Of the 135.5 million white Americans without degrees, about a fifth voted for Trump - a minority that doesn't represent this degreeless demographic very well.