On the surface, the Republican Party is in disarray. Due to internal factional disagreements, they were unable to reach an agreement for several weeks Election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Republican candidate most likely to win the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, has been charged in four criminal cases.
In the US presidential race, these issues may not ultimately be decisive for who will sit in the White House.
The historic consolidation of working-class voters helped Trump win in 2016. In 2020, it put him on the verge of re-election. A year before the 2024 election, polls show Trump tied or even slightly ahead.
And by digging deeper into the data, we can see why — support for Joe Biden is waning among those who were once the mainstay of the People’s Party — working-class voters of color. However, several polls showed Trump at nearly 20 percent. Black votes and approached the ten points of support that Biden enjoys among Latino voters. This signals a lasting change that could overturn the party system known since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
“We are dealing with a completely changed electoral landscape.”
For decades, Democratic Party voters have been primarily associated with blue-collar workers. Over time, this identity began to change. Now the Democratic Party’s focus is on issues like abortion rights and rhetoric about defending democracy against “Make America Great Again” extremism.
In September, Biden, as the first president of the United States, participated in a sit-in in Michigan with strikers from the United Auto Workers union. But the visit seemed more like a distant echo of the tone of the Democratic Party in the 1970s and 1980s than a reflection of where it is today.
Since 2016, we have wondered whether the coalition of working-class voters that elected Trump was a one-off, united only by his personality, or whether it would prove more enduring. US polls, precinct results and voter registration records now indicate that this coalition will not only survive, but expand to support non-Trump Republicans like Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, or former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Hailey.
“Earnings no longer determine voting preferences in the United States.”
Since its founding and for most of its history, the Democratic Party has been viewed in public opinion as the party of the common man.
“Democrats are the party of the workers, the poor, the weak, and the disenfranchised,” Thomas Frank wrote in his 2004 bestseller, “What’s Wrong with Kansas?” “Understanding this is essential.”
According to data collected by Matt Grossman, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, for Democratic voters, the fact that the Democratic Party is associated with a working-class party was seen as the most positive aspect of voting for that political party. From 1952 until at least 2004.
In contrast, the strongest negative association with Republicans was that it was the party of big businessmen and the rich. This division was ubiquitous just two decades ago. In the 1996 election, Bill Clinton won by 31 percentage points among low-income voters — those earning $15,000. slot. (62,270 PLN) per year or less. Higher-income voters supported Republican Bob Dole.
A quarter century has passed and profits no longer determine voting preferences in the United States. In the 2020 election, Joe Biden won thanks to poorer voters – those earning less than $30,000. slot. (PLN 124,550) per year – by 8 percentage points. However, Biden split the highest-income voters evenly with Trump.
“Fewer and fewer wealthy voters are voting Republican.”
Today, a college degree is the main dividing line in elections. The higher a person’s educational attainment, the more likely they are to vote for a Democratic candidate. This is a very big change compared to the division that prevailed in the United States in the twentieth century.
At the end of World War II, only a small portion of young people had the opportunity to study. The students constituted a narrow elite. Today, nearly half of white people graduate from college, and this is a powerful cultural fault line.
The choice between graduating or not graduating (or even starting) is now the choice that most expresses who you are and what you value in life. In this way, self-actualization in a competitive professional field is separated from a career understood as “honest work” as a means of supporting a family. It’s also a gap between gaining knowledge for its own sake and staying close to the people and places you knew growing up.
As college degrees translate into higher incomes, the GOP gains more low-income voters and loses the votes of the wealthiest. This is not because the Republican message has changed. From an economic perspective, the party remains committed to a free market economy and deregulation.
Despite this, fewer wealthy voters vote Republican, and more voters vote, among other things, for the Republican Party. Cuban, Latino, and Vietnamese Americans.
Donald Trump campaign rally in Houston, Texas, November 2, 2023.
The decline in nonwhite working-class support for the Democratic Party has been particularly pronounced since 2020.
“The new dividing lines have completely changed the party system in America.”
In 2020, a surge in support among nonwhite voters nearly kept Trump in the White House for another four years. Since then, signs of democratic problems have become more severe.
And in 2024, it is the nonwhite working class that makes Trump a contender — perhaps even a front-runner — against Biden. New York Times polling data shows that weak support for Biden among black and Latino voters, especially young people, is responsible for most of Trump’s improvement in opinion polls compared to 2020.
This reorientation of the working class towards Trump is destroying one of the fundamental pillars of support for the Democratic Party.
The reversal of caste roles is almost complete. In the 2020 election, Biden won the affluent Kansas City suburb of Mission Hills. This is evidence of growing support among well-educated whites for the Democratic Party. This is one of many similar cases among wealthier suburbs. Currently, two-thirds of American taxpayers earn more than a $500,000 slot. (2 million PLN, 760 thousand PLN) annually represented by Democrats in the US Congress.
The new dividing lines have completely changed America’s party system. The image of Republicans as the party of miserly CEOs, a staple of Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign against Mitt Romney, has been transformed by Trump, the billionaire who has convinced his voters that only he can change a broken elite system and act on behalf of Republicans. Poorer voters
According to research by US consulting firm Morning Consult, the Democrats’ image as a party that “cares about ordinary people” has suffered significantly since 2016 – especially among voters without a college degree and those earning less than $50,000. slot. (207,580 PLN) annually.
“Chance for the right wing”
Despite the chaos caused by Trump and the Republican Party leadership in the US Congress, Republican voters are larger than they were a decade ago. These voters once attracted clear-eyed figures like John McCain, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Romney. Currently, Republicans base their support on populism toward the working and middle classes. In this way, they attract a less traditional constituency, including black, Latino and Asian voters.
Trump had a major influence on this change, but he was not the only one. Scholars from Ronald Inglehart to Thomas Piketty have written that as Western societies become richer, voters stop voting for the party that aligns with their class interests and vote for the party that represents their cultural values. This means greater support for the left among wealthy elites and greater support for the right among working-class people who have not completed college.
In America — and in almost every other society — this is an opportunity for the right. In 2024, the number of voters without a college degree in the United States will outnumber college graduates by about 60 to 40 percent. Non-college-educated white voters, and non-whites in general, are more likely to vote right. Highly educated white people are more likely to vote left.
The person who helped stem the decline in support for Republicans that experts had predicted turned out to be a divisive populist named Trump.
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