Eduardo Porter, a Times colleague, raised the same basic issue in a column earlier this week, “Where Were Trump’s Votes? Where the Jobs Weren’t.” Porter wrote thatless-educated white voters had a solid economic rationale for voting against the status quo — nearly all the gains from the economic recovery have passed them by.
Since Nov. 7, 2007, according to Porter, Hispanics have gained nearly 5 million jobs, African-Americans and Asian-Americans have each gained over 2 million jobs, but whites have lost nearly 1 million jobs. Those job losses were heavily concentrated in those Rust Belt and, relatively speaking, more rural states where Trump racked up his Electoral College win.
The credibility of the Democratic Party generally among Trump voters is at an all-time low, as Democratic candidates discovered on Nov. 8.
This Democratic vulnerability was explored in depth by Katherine Cramer, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, in a book on voters in that state, “The Politics of Resentment,” which came out in March. In her study, Cramer described the three elements of “rural consciousness”:First, a belief that rural areas are ignored by decision makers, including policy makers, second, a perception that rural areas do not get their fair share of resources, and third a sense that rural folks have fundamentally distinct values and lifestyles, which are misunderstood and disrespected by city folks.
The result, she argues, is the creation of a rural identity “infused with a sense of distributive injustice,” much of it focused on liberal policies directing tax dollars to urban racial minorities.