Clinton and Class

by Reihan

Does Hillary Clinton have some deep, profound bond with waitress moms and other working-class demographics? Given Clinton's background and cultural proclivities, there is no reason this should be so. And sure enough, her advantage among these groups is eroding fast. Nick Beaudrot explains why.

It's always like this. In Democratic primaries, the anti-establishment candidate always has a political coalition that starts from the top of the income & education ladder, then works its way down. Always. Gene McCarthy in '68, Mo Udall and Jerry Brown in '76, Ted Kennedy in '80, Gary Hart in '84, Paul Tsongas and Jerry Brown in '92, Bill Bradley in '00, and Howard Dean in '04, all tended to fare better among more affluent, more schooled voters than with downscale voters. The more an insurgent is able to expand his coalition to include voters in the bottom two quintiles of the income scale, the more successful he or she is. It's the nature of the beast, for any number of reasons. Labor unions are less likely to rock the boat. Working-class voters have better things to do with their time than watch CNN or read three newspapers and a magazine every day. It seems that white voters are less likely to support the establishment, and this disparity manifests itself in the income/education distribution as well.

Right now, interestingly, we're seeing the rumblings of a mild anti-Obama backlash among elite types (this is entirely anecdotal, by the way), but there's probably not enough time for it to trickle into the mainstream. It's all in the timing.