March 20, 2016


Trumpism: 'It's the Culture, Stupid' (SCOTT WINSHIP, March 15, 2016, National Review)

Trump performed no better in states where the economy was the biggest issue than in other states. In the ten states where the economy was the top issue, Trump won eight, or 80 percent. In the five states where the economy was second, Trump won four . . . or 80 percent. His average margin of victory was 7.8 points in states where the economy ranked second but just 6.9 points in states where the economy was the top issue. Trump also did worse among voters for whom the economy was a top issue than among other voters. He won voters who chose the economy as their top issue in 10 of 15 states, worse than his showing among voters over all, which he carried in 12 of 15. While he won jobs-and-economy voters in ten states, he won immigration voters in twelve, and terrorism voters in twelve. In all 15 states, Trump's margin of victory was higher among at least one other category of voters than it was among jobs-and-economy voters. In eight states, Trump's margins were greater on at least two other issues, and in two states his margins were lowest among jobs-and-economy voters. R

Another reason to think that Trump's success does not primarily reflect economic anxiety is that the economy is doing quite well. The unemployment rate is below 5 percent, not far from where it was in 2007, before the recession started. Median hourly wages are back to the peak they reached in 2007. Median annual household income is also nearly at its historical high. Economic doomsayers tend to focus on the relatively low rate of labor-force participation to argue that the unemployment rate no longer captures the weakness of the labor market. But much of the decline in labor-force participation is due to rising school enrollment and the retirement of baby boomers. And much of it is voluntary. Fewer than 40 percent of men aged 25 to 54 who are out of the labor force tell government surveyors they want a job, and the rise between 1979 and 2006 in the number of these men who are uninterested in work statistically accounts for the entire drop in labor-force participation over that period. 

 For a non-negligible subset of Trump voters, anti-immigration sentiment is about racism and nativism, plain and simple. 

Posted by at March 20, 2016 4:04 PM