Thursday, January 21, 2016


Ed Kilgore writes about a Ron Brownstein analysis of GOP voting patterns. Brownstein finds that Trump is killing it with blue-collar voters, diving the GOP in a way it hasn't been divided recently:
Using 2008, 2012, and current polling data, Brownstein divides the Republican electorate into four roughly equal groups divided by religion and education: college-educated Evangelicals and non-Evangelicals, and non-college-educated Evangelicals and non-Evangelicals. In the last two cycles, he says, educational levels weren't that important in determining candidate preference....

But in this cycle, education levels -- generally an indicator of class -- are pretty big differentiators. In particular, Ted Cruz is leading strongly with college-educated Evangelicals, while Cruz and Donald Trump are in a close battle for blue-collar Evangelicals. Brownstein views this competition as potentially decisive. Yet he also notes that Trump's very best group among the four is blue-collar non-Evangelicals -- the "opposite corner" of the party from Cruz's stronghold, and a group that was part of Romney's coalition in 2012. There's really only one quadrant of primary voters that the Establishment candidates are (collectively) dominating, and that's the college-educated non-Evangelicals.
Note the portion I've highlighted. Which candidate did non-Evangelical blue-collar Republicans support last time? The boss guy. Which candidate do they like this time? The boss guy. The workers liked the bosses.

Obviously, secular blue-collar Republican voters don't always back a boss -- in 2008, the GOP coalesced around John McCain. But he was known as a war hero. That made him an alpha male.

What secular blue-collar Republicans don't seem to want, especially this year, is a harried schlub (Jeb Bush, John Kasich), a petulant teenager (Rand Paul), or the college intern (Marco Rubio). They might have gone for Chris Christie, but Trump stole his nasty-boss act. (Also, Bridgegate turned Christie into a humbled beta at just the point in the 2016 cycle when he needed to seem like an alpha.)

Call this false consciousness if you want, but GOP establishmentarians should have understood it a long time ago. They need a boss. They're running a lot of clerks.


flipyrwhig said...

I find that very strange, though, because isn't one of the cardinal virtues of being blue-collar folks that you hate your boss and dream of being able to tell him to take this job and shove it? One of the few decent Huckabee lines in '08 was when he said that Romney reminds people of the guy who fired them (or something like that). So why would they like the boss-type guy? Is it that they long to BE the boss-type guy?

Ed Crotty said...

They are certainly authoritarian, so they do want a boss. To be told what to do. They also love a boss who gives them a scapegoat - in this case Trump blames everyone who is not white. In short, these folks are racist morons.

More educated evangelicals are able to hide their racism in religion.
Cruz is not quite as bossy, but he gets Jesus to be the one to boss everyone around.

swkellogg said...

The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith that he is leading them to a promised land than because of their immediate feeling that he is leading them away from their unwanted selves. Surrender to a leader is not a means to an end but a fulfillment. Whither they are led is of secondary importance.

Eric Hoffer

retiredeng said...

Maybe Trump or Cruz can give these people what they want: beat up on the Muslims, Mexicans, etc. But neither will be able to give them what they need: good jobs.