There is many times a strong correlation between demographics and politics, for while not all people of a given group will vote in a certain way, there usually are strong tendencies that can be noted. This is something that politicians are notorious for exploiting, because by pandering to select demographics, they can hope to sway their vote more than with other groups.
Consider for example how Democrats, while making stops among Black American groups, do only very little of this, as the “black vote” is generally over 90% Democrat, and is the same reason why Republicans will likewise acknowledge it, but will not spend time generally among said demographic, because the chance of swaying a vote save in select cases is low. Likewise, it is also a reason why both Democrats and Republicans are notorious for pandering to the “Hispanic vote”, as the bloc is demographically growing and while exhibiting certain tendencies, is not as “settled” as other blocs are from a political perspective.
The changing demographics of the “white non-hispanic” population has been noted much because of the potential implications it holds. This bloc, while the largest, is also highly diverse as it is in decline due to a refusal to reproduce, and its children are also fractioning along many different ideological lines. This was noted recently as the move of the children from said bloc to major cities in “red states” are turning them purple and blue for the purposes of the electoral college.
Few people have seriously discussed the consequences of major changes to this bloc, but due to the political diversity held within it (as opposed to other and more monolithic blocs), major changes to it will have political impacts for decades to come. One of those sub-groups, which is those among the white “working-class”, which is defined as those who do not have a four-year college degree and who largely voted for President Trump, have experience significant declines from a high of 71% of the population in 1975 to just over 40% today. The decline is so noted that this particular sub-group will be considered a statistical minority by 2034, and by 2044 this will spread to the entire bloc.
There’s no single cause for the decline. More Americans are seeking a college education, and leading causes of death — including the opioid epidemic, alcoholism and suicide — are hitting working-class whites hardest. And birth rates for whites are slowing compared with nonwhites.
“Whatever the cause, the decline of this group will undoubtedly continue to have lasting economic and social consequences for the U.S.,” researchers Bill Emmons, Ana Kent and Lowell Ricketts wrote in the blog post, which focused on the demographic trends and didn’t mention the political implications. (source)
As Bloomberg notes, the “white, non-hispanic” working class was the single largest contributor to Trump’s campaign. The next was the college-educated sub-group in the same bloc, but with much smaller margins of victory, at 48% to 45%. By comparison, Clinton won the majority of black, Latino and Asian voters. This is all noted in the context of economic troubles plaguing Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, all that are known for having the potential to “swing” between the parties and all which Trump used for his victory in 2016.
The decline of the “white working class” is not unexpected, but entirely predictable to anybody who has been outside of a major urban area, where the populations are being packed into, and out into any part of the countryside, of which there is a lot of in America.
A certain folk-like sentiment has been built up surrounding the idea of “small-town America”, but that feeling, which may have once been true in some ways, is no more for most of the country.
There are two “Americas” that exist no matter where one goes. The first one is the major cities and their surrounding sprawls into suburban-like developments and life. The other one is what can best be described as “tall grass and poverty,” because that is what one sees around him.
“Tall grass and poverty” is not an insult to the people or an attack on their yardkeeping habits, but an honest look that one can find almost anywhere in the US. Some people manage it better than others, but the fact is that once a man is outside of the major cities and the sprawling areas in direct territorial reach, the quality of life tends to decline noticeably. There are many new houses and development in some cases, and some people do very well, but for most people, life is a cycle of a dead-end job with low pay to bills that cannot be paid and ensuing family dysfunction caused by it that stresses people even more. Drugs and alcohol, and now owing to the Internet, cheap porn become the drugs of choice for people seeking to feel alive when the life in their souls has been sucked cold from them in a misery that is difficult to escape from. Since many of the jobs can be very physically hard on the body, and given the stresses caused by all of the above, it is not uncommon to see people die in their fifties in rural areas.
The grass does not get tall because the people are lazy, but because if the people are not completely exhausted and lacking the energy to cut the grass having just worked fifty-to-sixty and sometimes more hours in a week (excluding commutes, which easily reach over one hour each direction), the little money they do earn cannot go towards yardkeeping equipment or paying somebody to cut the grass when it is needed for survival, with things such as eating. If there is equipment and it breaks, it may take time to repair or buy new equipment, even if it is on sale at the local Wal-Mart.
One might say that one should just go an get another job, but it is very difficult when one has family responsibilities and most of the jobs in a 30-to-50 miles radius pay $7.25 (federal minimum wage, still used in many states) to $14 (the high end, usually hard-to-come-by) per hour, let alone the costs of insurance, gas, vehicle wear, food to eat, fuel in the winter, water, electricity, and necessary repairs. Many people are forced to take on multiple jobs, and this adds to the stress. This likewise does not even include “farm jobs,” which many Americans still do and many times pay less than the $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage requirements.
While most families of said demographic have only one or two children, any extra person added into a family makes caring for bills and needs all the harder.
This is the reality of “working class white (non-hispanic)” America, a life that is defined by want and debt and little way to pay off said debt or to make life better.
There has been a direct push to move people into cities and “megaopolis” type urban sprawl settings, but this has also been fed by many people from the country, who having seen the general life that many live out there, want to get as far away from it as they can.
This is not even to comment on the political situation of what changes this brings.
It has been known for a while that the “working class” lifestyle was dying and made a lot of people sad or miserable. That said, the lifestyle is in decline because people are desperate to flee from it as fast as they can, lest they also, like their parents and grandparents, and in the words of a woman I spoke with from a similar background attempting to go to college for her daughter, “…get stuck on one of those factory lines making $10 an hour for the next thirty years”.
That is, if their bodies are able to survive the next thirty years.