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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Upstairs Democrats

Thomas Edsall writes at The New York Times:
Democrats now depend as much on affluent voters as on low-income voters. Democrats represent a majority of the richest congressional districts, and the party’s elected officials are more responsive to the policy agenda of the well-to-do than to average voters. The party and its candidates have come to rely on the elite 0.01 percent of the voting age population for a quarter of their financial backing and on large donors for another quarter.
Even Bernie Sanders is a creature of the affluent:
Sanders is running on an explicitly left-populist platform. It includes taxation of overseas corporate profits, a progressive estate tax, an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, the investment of $1 trillion in infrastructure, withdrawal from Nafta and other trade agreements, free tuition at public colleges, a single-payer health care system, and more.

The problem is that the core of Sanders’s support, according to an October 2 Pew Research Center survey, is more concentrated among the college-educated than among those without degrees, and stronger among middle-class and affluent Democrats than among low-income Democrats. For now his messages appear to have caught on primarily among ideologically liberal voters, although there is an argument that it will resonate with others as they learn more about it.