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National Review: Working-Class Reds

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Who are the Trumpists?

National Review:

“In the course of a few weeks early in the Biden administration, Republicans have been making a rapid shift in their agenda, message, and perhaps philosophy.

Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) proposed an ambitious plan to send checks from the federal government to parents. With Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), he sponsored legislation to raise the minimum wage, now $7.25 an hour, to $10, and at the same time to require companies to verify that their employees are legally eligible to work in the United States. Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) came out for a $15 minimum wage for employees of large companies and for a wage subsidy to boost take-home pay for low-income workers throughout the economy. Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) endorsed a unionization drive at Amazon in Alabama because its “leadership has decided to wage culture war against working-class values.” …

“It’s a culture-war divide masquerading as an economic divide,” Ruffini says. Other demographic characteristics are stronger determinants, or predictors, of voting status than education is: race, frequency of religious observance, and marital status, especially. But the diploma divide is large and increasingly important. At least, it’s increasingly important among whites, who were 74 percent of the electorate in 2020.  …”

It is important to distinguish between Trump 2016 and Trump 2020. In 2016, Trump won Independent voters, but fewer conservatives and Republicans. In 2020, Trump’s coalition shifted to the Right. He lost Independents while winning more conservatives and Republicans. Basically, he improved with traditional Republicans while losing a lot of the people who had supported him the first time around.

“Assuming Republicans can figure out how to build on their recent working-class success, they will have to decide how avidly to court another group: the college-educated white voters who have been dumping them …”

This would be a mistake.

Trump has a 100% approval rating across all groups in the Republican coalition with one notable exception: ALL of the disaffection is coming from the moderate/liberal suburbanite wing or True Cons wing or Never Trump wing of the Republican Party.

Look at it this way: Trump nearly won with these people voting for Joe Biden and in the midst of the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu and with Jared Kushner running his campaign and with the headwinds of a sharp and unexpected economic downturn. He nearly won in spite of his lack of success in pushing a nationalist and populist agenda. He nearly won in spite of all the censorship and all the old people in Congress. That’s how culturally toxic the Democrats are to White working class voters.

If the Republicans truly embraced economic populism or at the very least became MORE populist on economics, it would appeal not only to the Trump voters, but to moderates in general. The Trump voters were Democratic Leaning Working Class (DLWC) voters and the same things that attracted them to Trump resonate more broadly with those voters.


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