Missing Demographic Data
Posted on August 23, 2016
Motivation of the right-wing white male voting block is controversial among both right-wing and left-wing opinionators.
First is the question of ingroupism (racism/sexism/anti-elitism) versus economic stress. The correct answer is both, and also that the two types of forces reinforce each other. However Democrats can’t appeal to racism or sexism, so they need to propose and enact real economic reforms. Clue: they haven’t. Republicans on the other are institutionally unable to offer real reforms, that are not based on models that have been proven failures over the last 35 years, so they need to (and do) offer a combination of snake oil reforms plus dog whistle racism and bigotry. (Immigration is an ideal issue that addresses both economics and bigotry.) And it mostly works, which is why so many of these voters are right-wing.
Next there is the question of social class: to what extent are these voters working class versus middle class? That depends on whether you use income versus college education as your criterion. The rightwing white male voters tend to have no college degree, yet they also tend to have slightly above average incomes. That makes this group hard to characterize accurately.
Finally there is the question of regionalism. A disproportionate number of these voters are Southern voters, who tend to be different from the others. We know that Southerners tend to be considerably more motivated by hatred. However many of them experience economic stress as well. Sorting out region and income and college and bigotry all at the same time would help explain what’s going on, but I haven’t seen any data that entirely does that.