Sunday, January 17, 2021

Will the Real Working Class Party Please Stand Up?

People don't like to let go of the idea that the Democrats are, despite everything, still essentially the party of America's working class. This is usually illustrated by reference to Democrats still carrying the nonwhite working class by quite a bit. True, but that is only part of the working class; the overall working class is a different story.

Here are some relevant data:
Using the standard education proxy for class, Catalist data show Democrats steadily losing ground among noncollege (working class) voters since 2008 (as far back as Catalist public goes).
In 2008: +8 Democratic margin
In 2012: +2 Democratic margin
In 2016: -2 Democratic margin
No 2020 data available yet
States of Change noncollege voter data:
In 2016: -6 Democratic margin
No 2020 data available yet
AP/NORC VoteCast noncollege voter data
(No 2016 data available)
In 2020: -4 Democratic margin
So Democrats are losing ground in the working class writ large and, as a result, they are not currently the preferred party of the working class. This is a problem. Denying it is silly. Democrats should not be content with only doing well among nonwhite working class voters (and again there are clear signs of slippage even there) and ceding the rest of the working class to the GOP. This does not make sense on either electoral or ideological grounds.

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