White Working Class Paper

Incidentally, if you’re looking for a detailed and sophisticated account of white working class voting behavior in recent decades this paper by Ruy Teixeira released last week is the place to go.

I would really only add one thing, which is a bit to one side of the main point of the paper, namely that discussion among coastal media elites of the white working class tends to sometimes implicitly conceptualize the WWC group as much poorer than it is. I believe, for example, that David Brooks once wrote a column on white working class conservatism where he referred to the people in question as “poorer folk” whereas Thomas Frank sometimes gives you the impression that the wretched of the earth are voting Republican. As I’ve pointed out in the past, “The median household income of non– college-educated whites was $47,500 in 2004, slightly above the national median.”

This renders some of the allegedly paradoxical behavior of the white working class much less paradoxical. Non-college whites are about half of the population. So if you divided the public into two groups — Group A and Group B — and then I told you that all the non-white people are in Group B and Group B is also slightly poorer on average than Group A, nobody would find it strange to learn that Group A tends to support the Republicans.