Saturday, October 10, 2020

If Biden Wins, To Whom Will He Owe His Victory?

It may not make the more woke among us comfortable, but it's likely, particularly if Biden wins big, that he will owe a huge debt to white noncollege voters. Yes, those of "deplorable" fame from the 2016 election, the very same demographic which was widely--and rightly--credited with handing Trump his upset victory. And yes, yes, I know that the Democrats can't win without their base support among nonwhites, young voters, liberal educated whites and so on. But in terms of being the "difference-makers"--the voters who put Biden over the top and finally sink the Orange One are likely to be white noncollege voters who swing in Biden's direction this election.
Consider these data (and there are other examples) from Pew's comparison of validated voter data from their 2016 American Trends panel to voters in their surveyed early this October. This isn't the last word--it's all internal to their panel which could have some biases--but Pew does good work and the data are worth a careful look. The Pew report provides a detailed table on vote by demographic group and Philip Bump of the Post has put together quite a detailed chart showing shifts by demographic group between the 2016 election and now. Here are the white college/white noncollege/black/Hispanic figures for 2016 vs. now (h/t Will Jordan)
White non college
2016: R+36
2020: R+26
White college
2016: D+17
2020: D+21
2016: D+85
2020: D+81
2016: D+38
2020: D+34
Pretty clear right? I personally expect the black and Hispanic numbers to firm up a bit by the election so his margins will approximate those of Clinton in 2016. But I doubt they'll be much larger. Which leaves us with white voters and especially white noncollege voters as making the difference.
It's time for the left to start thinking long and hard about the implications of this for the Biden administration and successful governance in general. As candidate Biden just remarked in Pennsylvania:
"A lot of white, working-class Democrats thought we forgot them and didn’t pay attention....,I want them to know — I mean sincerely — that I’m going to be your president.”
Exactly. We shall see if he and his party are able to figure out how to do that in a way that's consistent with their progressive program. I actually don't think that will be that particularly hard in policy terms, provided the party understands the necessity of doing so.


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