Don't believe me about this? Well, check out Nate Cohn's piece in the Times today where he goes over some of the same ground I have covered:
"As they’ve grown in numbers, college graduates have instilled increasingly liberal cultural norms while gaining the power to nudge the Democratic Party to the left. Partly as a result, large portions of the party’s traditional working-class base have defected to the Republicans....
Yet even as college graduates have surged in numbers and grown increasingly liberal, Democrats are no stronger than they were 10, 30 or even 50 years ago. Instead, rising Democratic strength among college graduates and voters of color has been counteracted by a nearly equal and opposite reaction among white voters without a degree....
About 27 percent of Mr. Biden’s supporters in 2020 were white voters without a college degree, according to Pew Research, down from the nearly 60 percent of Bill Clinton’s supporters who were whites without a degree just 28 years earlier. The changing demographic makeup of the Democrats has become a self-fulfilling dynamic, in which the growing power of liberal college graduates helps alienate working-class voters, leaving college graduates as an even larger share of the party....
As college graduates increased their share of the electorate, they gradually began to force the Democrats to accommodate their interests and values. They punched above their electoral weight, since they make up a disproportionate number of the journalists, politicians, activists and poll respondents who most directly influence the political process....
The reasons for white working-class alienation with the Democrats have shifted from decade to decade. At times, nearly every major issue area — race, religion, war, environmentalism, guns, trade, immigration, sexuality, crime, social welfare programs — has been a source of Democratic woes.
What the Democratic Party’s positions on these very different issues have had in common is that they reflected the views of college-educated liberals, even when in conflict with the apparent interests of working-class voters — and that they alienated some number of white voters without a degree. Environmentalists demanded regulations on the coal industry; coal miners bolted from the Democrats. Suburban voters supported an assault gun ban; gun owners shifted to the Republicans. Business interests supported free trade agreements; old manufacturing towns broke for Mr. Trump."
And this point is absolutely crucial: working class defection--it's not just for white voters anymore!
"A similar process may be beginning to unfold among Hispanic voters. The 2020 election was probably the first presidential contest in which the Democratic candidate fared better among voters of color who graduated from college than among those without a degree. Mr. Trump made large gains among voters of color without degrees, especially Latino ones. The causes of his surge are still being debated, but one leading theory is that he was aided by a backlash against the ideas and language of the college-educated left, including activist calls to “defund the police.”
For some Republicans, Mr. Trump’s gains have raised the possibility that it may be easier to appeal to working-class voters of color.
“It doesn’t seem quite as big of a bridge to cross as saying, ‘Let’s go back and win white suburbanites,’” said Patrick Ruffini, a Republican pollster who is writing a book on how the party might build a multiracial coalition."
Unfortunately, a rather large part of today's left seems completely unconcerned with this dynamic and in denial about its seriousness. The working class--who needs 'em? That attitude and the practices that flow from it will in all likelihood continue to put a hard ceiling on Democratic support and the ability to pass and implement progressive legislation.
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