". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Biden and the Democrats Can’t Stop Alienating Working-Class Voters

July 13, 2022

Just a few months ago, Joe Biden boasted that record-high gas prices were attributable to an “incredible transition” of the U.S. economy away from oil and gas. His first day in office he kicked off this “transition” by shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline project, and halting oil and gas production on federal lands. The results have been predictable — rising prices for many of the items Americans need for their daily lives.

What this administration perhaps did not expect was that their “transition” has developed an equal and opposite transition (to borrow from Sir Isaac Newton’s “third law of motion”). Working-class Americans, who previously voted in large numbers for Democrat politicians, are shifting toward the GOP. Turns out, the actions of those in power are not without reactions from voters — voters who rely on affordable gas for their cars and trucks and food to feed their families, and who will look for a political home elsewhere if the party in power refuses to take their concerns seriously.

According to Pew Research, approximately two-thirds of registered voters in America don’t have a college degree. In 2020, Pew noted that Democrat voters are much more likely than their Republican counterparts to have a college degree — 41% of Democrats compared to 30% of Republicans. This is the inverse of the education gap in 1996, when a higher percentage (27%) of GOP voters held a college degree compared to Democrat voters (22%).

New data from a NYT/Siena poll shows that this trend has only intensified, as the Democrat party’s base has become concentrated among college-educated white voters. Democrats hold a 20-point advantage over Republicans in this bloc of voters. Axios picked up the significance of this shift and wrote: “[W]e’re seeing a political realignment in real time. … Democrats are becoming the party of upscale voters, concerned more about issues like gun control and abortion rights.”

This high concentration of college-educated white voters concerned about issues other than the economy has provided the GOP with an opportunity — and now they’re building a multiracial coalition of working-class voters. With two-thirds of the electorate looking at the GOP for political leadership, it makes sense that Democrats might take some action to mitigate this threat to their future as a viable political party. Instead, they’re doubling down.

A perfect example is the recent trip First Lady Jill Biden took to San Antonio to speak at “LatinX IncluXion,” in which she told attendees that the entire Hispanic community is “as unique as breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.” Many Hispanic Americans are upwardly mobile, value their faith and their family, and share many of the concerns as other working-class Americans. One thing they most certainly don’t do is use the term “Latinx,” or think of themselves as some variety of Mexican food. Only the white college-educated liberal, who can’t resist including gender ideology into everything they do, uses the term “Latinx.” And they fail so badly at relating to an entire community of Americans that they turn to the first piece of information they know about a community to describe how unique that community is.

White working-class Americans featured prominently among former president Donald Trump’s coalition and were a critical element in his sweep of the historically blue Rust Belt in 2016. In 2020, Trump kept much of this coalition intact and dramatically improved his standing among working-class Hispanic Americans, most notably in the previously deep blue Rio Grande Valley in Texas and Miami-Dade County in Florida.

The big question for political observers since then has been whether this is an aberration, a long-term trend, or a dramatic and irreversible sea change in American politics. Without Trump in office to advocate for policies favorable to American workers or actively campaigning for their vote, some thought maybe these voters will return to their previous behavior of supporting Democrat candidates. However, the most recent data suggests this trend is accelerating because the GOP is doing a better job persuading these voters to give them a second look — and because the Biden administration and Democrats are failing to connect with them.

Instead of working overtime to address rising costs, the Biden administration has committed itself to the priorities of college-educated white liberals. Inflation has been put on the backburner while things like fighting climate change, advancing gender ideology (particularly among children), and pushing abortion access in states that seek to protect unborn children — none of which helps moms and dads fill their minivan up with gas or bring the cost of ground beef down — have emerged as top priorities for the Biden administration.

As if that wasn’t enough, crime is now emerging as another issue driving working class Americans, primarily working class Hispanic and Asian voters, into the arms of the GOP. Both groups of voters are showing signs of fatigue from soft-on-crime Democrat governance, especially in urban areas. For example, many Hispanic shopkeepers have had to weather 70-80% spikes in crime. As a result, they’re turning their back on the Democrat party that has held onto power in urban areas by relying on working-class communities for votes for decades.

It seems Biden is unable to transcend the third law of motion: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. He may succeed in getting some number of Americans to stop using fossil fuels, but it’s looking more and more as though the harder he pushes on this agenda to remake the American economy, the longer and more severe his party’s journey in the political winter will be.

Matt Carpenter is the director of FRC Action.