For your reading convenience, I have reposted the chart from the immediately preceding post. Please have it in mind as you read Ross Douthat, A Defeat for White Identity: What the midterms tell us about racial backlash and economic populism. I suggest reading the whole thing, but here is a key passage:
[W]hite identity politics failed to hold Trump’s gains. Some of the biggest swings against the G.O.P. were among middle and lower-income Americans, not just among affluent suburbanites. The Upper Midwest swung back toward Democrats. And among whites without college degrees, Democrats improved on Hillary Clinton’s showing by eight percentage points — identical to their gains among college-educated whites.
This doesn’t mean that the racial fears Trump stoked didn’t bring some Republican voters to the polls. But it proves that white-identity politics isn’t simply destiny, that Democrats can reach wavering white-working class voters instead of writing them off, and that if Republicans want to hold them, then actual economic populism — with its potential pan-ethnic rather than racially polarizing appeal — is a better bet than what we’ve gotten too often from his White House.
Career Choices and Challenges for Empty Suits
As I said, read the whole thing while gazing back and forth at the chart. And think about this information from the standpoint of the Republican professional class.
Here are the conclusions I would draw: if I want to keep on being a professional politician with an (R) after my name, then my best bet is not to be a spokesbot for Richie Rich, because Richie Rich is coming to hate my brand, and the people who love my brand are coming to hate Richie Rich. (If you think that’s wrong, take a hard look at the chart.)
So, if my role in life is to represent those folks in the top two columns on the left, then I had better begin to advocate some real help for their economic issues to go along with my appeal to their ignorance and their racial animus.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, one of life’s fundamental truths is that Richie Rich pays better than Peter Pauper. So, if I want to keep on being a spokesbot for Richie Rich, maybe I want to give careful consideration to the opportune time to change the (R) my name to a (D).
If I treat my whoring-for-the-rich with a little finesse and subtlety, the Democrats will welcome me as a moderate, and the rich guys will see me as a useful tool. And being a well-paid tool for the rich is indeed the purpose for which God put me on earth.
But I had better find the right time to flip, before the voters flip me.