After an analysis of polls gauging support for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the New York Times concluded earlier this week that the Democratic nominee struggles most with one demographic group: working-class white men without college degrees. “Mr. Trump has adopted a message all but perfectly devised to attract these voters,” the article states. “He has a populist message on trade and immigration. He has abandoned key elements of the Republican agenda that hurt the party among white working-class Democrats, like support for cutting the social safety net.”
Gender may be a factor, the article adds, before addressing a final possible explanation:
It is also possible that less-educated white men are reacting to rapid changes in cultural and economic status, completely independent of Mrs. Clinton’s gender. No liberal arts college class on “power, privilege and hierarchy” will tell you that white working-class men have become a disadvantaged group. But many white working-class men do not feel privileged — not in a society where power and status are often vested in well-educated elites along the coasts. From their standpoint, the Democratic Party might look like an identity politics patronage system — affirmative action, immigration, “political correctness,” gender or whatever else.
This formulation understates the antagonism that these voters hear from the cultural left. Liberal-arts classes, numerous left-leaning media outlets, and many social-media progressives don’t merely fail to treat these voters as a disadvantaged class—they speak as if they are playing the entire game of life on the easiest setting, to borrow a characterization of whiteness that is prevalent on college campuses.