Monday, October 31, 2016

Bluie Collar Populism? Hardly.

"The point is," NBC News remarks, "Donald Trump has brought a different kind of energy and appeal to the 2016 presidential race, built upon populism and blue-collar support."

Voters in Texas seem not to have gotten the memo, for

The surge in early-voting interest in Texas may be linked to how close the presidential race is there, compared with previous elections. Data from RealClearPolitics, which combined five Texas presidential polls, shows Hillary Clinton is trailing Donald Trump by just five points. To put that into context, Texas has not been won by a Democrat since Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in 1976.

“I definitely think Texas is a battleground state. We’ve been working towards this for the past several election cycles,” said  Iliana Holguin, El Paso County Democrats chairwoman.

But it's a battleground state only in the presidential race. Politico quotes Austin-based GOP operative Brendan Steinhauser (who believes Trump probably will prevail in Texas) as recognizing "I think that Texas is competitive this year. I think it'll be much closer than usual. I think it's because of the Trump factor."

And so it is. In 2012, President Obama, en route to re-election by nearly 4 percentage points, was creamed by Mitt Romney in Texas by nearly 16 percentage points. Four years after the Democrat ran 20 points+ worse in Texas than nationally (with Texas included in the national results), Mrs. Clinton is running roughly 7 points worse in Texas than she is nationally.

That's a startling difference- but perhaps no more startling than what is happening in Iowa, which Obama won in 2012 by nearly six points and in which Clinton is said to be trailing by probably two points.

Compared to Obama, Clinton now is +13 in Texas and -8 in Iowa.

The NBC News reporter believes the difference in places such as Iowa is "populism and blue collar support." Spare me:  as Jamelle Bouie tweets, black people "are rarely in the conversation" when  "working class" is mentioned. So, too, are hispanics largely excluded; "working class" has largely become proxy for "not affluent" and "white. Lots of minorities  are blue-collar; most of them are voting for Hillary Clinton.

However, according to the 2010 census, 88.7% of Iowa is non-hispanic whites. In Texas, the corresponding number is 45.3%.  The difference, of course, is not between Barack Obama, as of 2012 a centrist, conventional Democrat and Hillary Clinton, a centrist, conventional Democrat.

The difference is Donald Trump, one of the original birthers, whose word association with "Mexican" is "rapist," and who declared "our great African-American President hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore." Donald Trump, who calls President Obama "weak," "unfit to serve," and "the worst president, maybe, in the history of our country," who praised FDR's concentration camps; and who referred to a judge born in Indiana as "a Mexican."   Donald Trump, who told a contestant on The Apprentice, "that must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees," called President Obma (and Mrs. Clinton ) the founders of ISIS, and has asked supporters to patrol polling places because he has "heard some stories about certain parts of the state and we have to be fery careful." These are not dog-whistles. They are a pound on the head with a baseball bat.

Although Trump trails Clinton badly among female voters, tens of millions of women are voting for him because they share an ethnic characteristic.  They and the (more numerous) men voting for Trump are not necessarily racist, and the vast majority are not. But they want to "make America great again" and they understand what Grump means when he says that. It is not for a more equitable tax system or for a higher minimum wage, both of which he opposes, or any sort of populism, other than protectionism. This once was a Christian, white, male-dominated America, it's slipping away, and many people will do whatever they can to stop that- even, or especially, by voting for Donald Trump.

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