Want to win the working-class vote? Try progressive economic policies, Democrats
We know what working people want: progressive economic policies. Democrats haven’t delivered those the right way
Since the election, there have been feverish and often circular debates about how Democrats and progressives can win over the working class, particularly the white working class that purportedly supported Donald Trump. These debates miss the key question: We know what policies working-class people like. The difficulty lies in energizing and mobilizing the younger, low-income voters that Democrats rely on, particularly in midterm and off-cycle elections.
The Working Class Likes Progressive Economic Policies
That premise holds true across both race and gender lines. Most researchers define working class by education, income or occupation. All these definitions have limitations. For instance, many lower-income people may have high social status and not see themselves as working class (think of college-educated students with a poorly paid fellowship). While education is a valuable proxy, any definition of working class that includes Bill Gates and Ted Turner is odd. Occupation is a valuable indicator, but it’s often difficult to determine which jobs constitute “working-class,” particularly with the dramatically shifting economy. For this analysis, I considered anyone with no college education and an income under $50,000 to be “working class.” Because the American National Election Studies (ANES) 2016 pilot study has a relatively small sample, I examined four groups within the working class: white men, white women, men of color and women of color. As the charts below show, working-class folks across race and gender lines are supportive of progressive economic policies, though working-class women of color are most supportive of progressive policies.