Before we get to the final days of this campaign (thankfully), it’s worth reflecting on the continued erosion of working-class support for the Democrats and what that might mean for this election and those to come.
There are many surveys on this subject, but let’s focus on the recent New York Times survey in which the Democrats are 15 points under water among working-class voters, while sporting a 14-point advantage among college-educated voters.
The same survey also asked respondents who they would choose between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in 2024. Guess what? Working-class voters picked Trump by a 16-point margin; college-educated respondents favored Biden by 20 points.
This matters, of course, because working-class voters make up a much higher percentage of the voting-age population, as do college-educated voters. Additionally, college enrollment appears to have peaked and is now declining.
This suggests that if you are a political party, you might want to leave your positions that depend on educated voters and alienate working-class voters.
Moreover, as Ruy Teixeira pointed out, this is a multiracial problem, as the white and non-white working class has drifted away from the Democrats over the decade.
Due to demographics and declining college enrollment, increases in participation in future cycles, including this one, will likely be driven by members of the working class, especially the non-white working class. , and older voters (especially those over 65). ). How is that likely to work for Democrats? Not to spoil the surprise, but such an electorate is likely to complicate and delay their ability to compete in the Midwest (think places like Wisconsin and Michigan) and the Southwest (think Nevada and Arizona) in the next generation, just as they now have difficulty competing in the South.
In short, it looks a lot like a coalition, and the card President Trump won with in 2016 could be the model for Republican success in the future.
Without being asked for most of this discussion, this is why working-class voters are drifting away from Democrats. It’s simple. Almost all the surveys conducted during this campaign indicate that for about 70% of the population, the three most important problems of this campaign are inflation, crime and border security.
Each of them directly and seriously harms workers.
What about the remaining 30%, university graduates? They tell opinion seekers they care about abortion, guns and threats to democracy. Consequently, Democrats have spent the entire campaign talking about abortion and President Trump; for them, that’s where the votes are.
There are two problems with this approach. First, there’s about 25 years of survey data that indicates that when most voters think of threats to democracy, they’re usually referring to the kind of government corruption of all kinds that we’ve all ingrained in our subconscious – that governments and government actions, even in a democracy, are sometimes compromised by the flow of money from those who want a particular policy to those who vote for a particular policy.
Second, talking about things that are increasingly important to fewer and fewer people is a recipe for a political death spiral. Eventually, the only people you answer to are the members of your own echo chamber.
For Democrats, relying on a shrinking base of shore-locked voters whose enduring priorities are in many ways contrary to the majority is not yet fatal. But neither is it a sign of health and vigor.
Michael McKenna is the president of MWR Strategies. He was most recently Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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