Search This Blog

Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Working-Class Vote

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.  The Democratic Party is a coalition of minorities and college-educated whites.  They have problems with rural and white working-class voters.

Ruy Teixeria:
As Timothy Noah has remarked:
For the past 100 years, no Democrat—with one exception—has ever entered the White House without winning a majority of the working-class vote, defined conventionally as those voters who possess a high school degree but no college degree. The exception was Joe Biden in 2020, under highly unusual circumstances (a badly-mismanaged Covid pandemic, an economy going haywire). It’s unlikely in the extreme that Biden can manage that trick a second time. He must win the working-class vote in 2024.
As the Times data (and much other data) show, that objective seems quite far away for Biden at this point. And that’s a problem: you can’t hit the target unless you’re aiming at it. That’s why I think that the Biden campaign’s notorious “polling denialism” might well be viewed as “working class denialism.” The Biden campaign would rather think about this election as “the democracy election” and/or “the abortion rights election”; advocates tell the campaign it should be “the climate election” or “the student loans election” or “the Palestinian rights election” or the “racial justice election.” But in the end, the outcome will be determined by how the working class assesses the choice between Trump and Biden and casts their vote. That fact should not be denied—and the fact should be faced that none of the above issues provides the key for turning the election in Democrats’ favor.

What would? The answer may be quite mundane if challenging to implement, not least because it goes against the grain of the Democrats’ shadow party and their amen corner in the media and academia. A recent memo from the Blueprint strategy notes:
We tested messages that Biden could use to expose Trump’s vulnerabilities, and the ones that voters found most compelling focused on economic fairness and how that should be reflected in public policy—not on Biden and Trump’s respective characters, biographies, and backgrounds….

Blueprint’s latest survey, conducted in partnership with The Liberal Patriot, showed that many of the policies that are most popular with voters can be used to make the case that Biden is the candidate for average Americans while Trump is the candidate who advocates for the interests of the very rich. Among the 40 policies we tested, the most popular ones are those that crack down on corporations, lower the prices of health care and other things, and protect Medicare and Social Security.