Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Curse of the Working Class

Marx, Engels, or some other Commie is said to have opined that drink was the above mentioned curse. Whatever.

I'm more interested in the fact that Hillary's principal weakness seems to be in what is called the white working classes, in particular among white, working class men. Since most polls don't ask people about their "class" or even job, the proxy for "class" used is actually education. College educated (degree possessing) whites support Hillary by about the same margin as the country as a whole, but her support craters by 30 percentage points or more among those whites who lack a degree.

Why the vast gap? One facile explanation is that these are low information voters who get their news from television and facebook, which may be true but is hardly an explanation. I find the argument that they are those most left behind by the economy of the last thirty years more persuasive. Of course the last few decades have been largely ruled by the Republican idea that the economy would be better for everybody if we would just continue to cut taxes more for the rich, putting more money into the hands of these so-called "job creators."

We have been enormously successful at putting more money in the hands of the ultra-rich. Billionaires have sprouted like dandelions in Spring. This has been good for the market for personal jets, mega-yachts, and Trump style gold toilets, but not so great at creating jobs. It turns out that these things don't really create many jobs. Of course Trump, who might have to pay income taxes in the future, wants to continue and vastly expand these trickle down policies.

So why does Hillary suffer in comparison? There is vast irony in the fact that the Republicans have successfully portrayed her as the tool of Wall Street, and that that master of self-promotion Capitalism Trump has managed to convince the gullible that he is the one to shake up Wall Street.

There is a different irony in the fact that Trump's greatest feat of self-promotion seems to be crippling his brand. It turns out that he scares the hell out of the corporations and individuals who can afford to book his vastly overpriced hotels, golf-courses, Mexican manufactured ties and other products. Those "working class" voters who love him don't spend much time in $1000/night hotel suites or buy multi-hundred thousand dollar golf resort memberships. Daughter Ivanka is getting squeezed even worse - her core female millennial customers are passionately anti-Trump.