Sunday, July 18, 2010

The White Middle Class Vote

"white middle- and working-class voters who supported Hillary — and former President Bill — Clinton. . ., according to recent polls, are increasingly alienated from the Obama administration. Reasons include slow economic growth, high unemployment among blue- and white-collar workers and a persistent credit crunch for small businesses. . .About two in five Americans report household incomes between $35,000 and $100,000 a year. Right now, almost [60% of them] are deeply worried about their financial situation"

--Joel Kotkin, “Politico”

"the Democrats' 'middle-class problem'. . . means that there has been a spectacular collapse of support for the administration among the core blue-collar voters who should constitute its base. . . Americans who have risen from poverty to become qualified tradesmen or entrepreneurs generally believe that they have a right to put what wealth they produce back into their own businesses, rather than trusting governments to spread it around. . .

"startling is the growth in America of . . . an electoral alliance of the educated, self-consciously 'enlightened' class with the poor and deprived. America, in other words, has discovered bourgeois guilt [and] embraced noblesse oblige. Now. . . this sentiment is taking on precisely the pseudo-aristocratic tone of disdain for the aspiring, struggling middle class that is such a familiar part of the British scene."

--Janet Daley, Daily Telegraph (U.K.)

"neither party has made stable progress against the most intractable problems of our time -- particularly the stagnation in wages for average families. . . [L]ong-term . . ., Democrats have an edge because the voters most favorable to them (minorities and college-educated whites) are growing in the electorate, while the GOP's best group (blue-collar whites) is shrinking. But Democrats have not demonstrated that they can [hold] enough white voters to maintain a national majority."

--Ron Brownstein, National Journal

There seems general agreement Democrats are losing the white middle class. But “long term,” according to Brownstein, Democrats will prevail because minorities and “college-educated whites” are growing faster.

Yet who are these “college-educated whites”? Those in the suburbs of what Kotkin calls “aspirational cities”-- Atlanta, Phoenix, Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Florida along the Gulf Coast, are outpacing the suburban growth in Kotkin’s “Euro-American cities” like Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Republicans stand to benefit from this geographical difference in growth, since “aspirational” means “red state”.

I agree Republicans must fight more effectively for the Hispanic vote--white, middle-class votes soon won't be enough. The key to winning Hispanic support, I feel, is effective immigration reform.

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