This election is a TRIUMPH of class over identity. That’s the most surprising and important result
Regardless of whether Trump or Biden win the 2020 US presidential election, what it has revealed is that the pollsters and expert commentators simply do not get class; for them – the working class is a relic of the past.
As far as they are concerned, you are either white or black or Latino or Asian. Alternatively, you are either a man or woman or straight or gay or trans or member of a variety of identity groups.
The cultural elites have projected throughout this year the vision that all the different identity groups were going to gang up against Trump and overwhelm his shrinking number of white male supporters.
According to the playbook promoted by woke media outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, or Vox, Trump is a hardcore racist who only appeals to the white supremacist electorate. However, contrary to this fantasy, the polls in Florida and Texas showed that Trump did better amongst Hispanics and black people than they imagined. That the Republicans actually increased their vote amongst these groups, in these two key states, indicates that identitarians cannot rely on identity trumping class.
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No doubt there are many reasons why the polls always underestimate the electorate’s support for Trump and for populist causes like Brexit. But one reason why they get it wrong is that they tend to talk to people who are like themselves – university educated professionals whose view of the world is fundamentally different to the kind of people who deliver their Amazon packages and work behind the counter in supermarkets.
The polls also get it wrong because working class people know that their views are regarded with contempt by the media elite and they often opt to keep their views to themselves.
As it turned out, one of the crucial differences between people who voted for Biden or Trump is whether during this pandemic you managed to work from home or whether you had to go outside to make a living. While the professional class were sipping their cups of tea at home and posting angry tweets denouncing Trump, working people were busy doing jobs outside their houses. The college educated professional was far more likely to vote for Biden than the guys maintaining the nation’s infrastructure in the freezing cold who supported Trump.
Pollsters either pretend or believe that the working class is a relic of the past. The culture elites more or less echo this view and insofar as they acknowledge the existence of working-class people, they regard them as just another identity group. They still refer to ‘working class masculinity’ or ‘toxic masculinity’ when they summon up the image of a working-class person. Since they imagine that the phenomenon of the working class is personified by a racist white man, they were surprised to discover that poor Latinos like struggling white folk are far more likely to vote for Trump than for Biden.
That class really matters is illustrated by the kind of people who funded the Biden and Trump campaigns. The big banks, tech giants, and university-educated, highly-paid professionals showered Biden with their cash. In contrast, it was working people – maintenance workers and truck drivers – with their 10-dollar cheques who helped fund the Trump campaign.
Unexpectedly, a populist coalition of working people has been forged around the Trump phenomenon. Historically, the Democratic Party could rely on the support of the working class. Like the Labour Party in the UK, the Democratic Party has lost interest in its working-class base and has decided to become a movement voicing the outlook of relatively well-paid, educated professionals.
What the election has shown is that the American cultural elite does not always have its way. Identity politics has suffered a major setback thanks to the instinct of common sense of working-class people. Hopefully working-class people will draw inspiration from their success at exposing the fantasies peddled by the polls and will gain confidence in the belief that their voice really matters.
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