May 04, 2016
Again with the class thing
But the definition of “working class” and similar terms is fuzzy, and narratives like [Donald Trump’s candidacy being a “working-class” rebellion against Republican elites] risk obscuring an important and perhaps counterintuitive fact about Trump’s voters: As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off. The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.I suspect he may be right but, without wishing to get all Marxian on you, absent any demographic breakdown of actual class, rather than income level, the claim that the working-class support of Trump is a myth (as the FiveThirtyEight post's title states) remains un-demonstrated, at least conclusively. Are Trump's supporters more likely to be self-employed, or small business types, than wage-earners (however better paid)? Do they represent labour, or capital? Because, historically speaking, it's true Trump's kind of nativist pitch does tend to play best with the petit bourgeois (in the Marxian sense). A person's class is often (yeah, yeah, not always) related to their sense of self, who they consider the In group and who the Other, and whether they have a tendency to punch downwards when feeling threatened. Confirmation that this is about the "local notables" yet again, and again giving the lie to the usual anti-worker prejudices of decent liberals, would be nice to see, but I fear we will never know. The surveys analysed do not ask the class question, of course, because the US media does not believe such a thing exists, hence the educated guessing Mr Silver must engage in based on income levels.