Proven so off the mark in this election, pollsters now call themselves communication experts & try to distance themselves from their analyses. That’s good because then we can justly interrogate the unsubstantiated claim that uneducated white workers are the base of Trump support.
It’s beyond dispute that his base is racist whites but it’s more likely to be middle-class, well-heeled whites & the better off strata of workers–meaning high-paid, unionized male factory workers or tradesmen. They are privileged workers who until affirmative action in the 1970s were unaccustomed to being around Blacks or Latinos or working with women.
Just because you don’t have a college degree doesn’t mean you’re a political idiot. But privilege & isolation from Black & Latino co-workers can make you stupid & believe me, from working in that environment for over 25 years, I can assure you that it makes you stupid all the way to the bone.
When I began working in a GE factory in the 1970s as a result of affirmative action court orders, the women & Black workers hired at that time went through years of hell because of the hostility & resentment of white male workers. Not all the white guys, but those who were aggressive, threatening, & often dangerous. We survived relying on each other & on white guys who detested unfair treatment.
I never faced such problems when I was a low-paid office worker before GE or after I got laid off & worked minimum wage jobs. Bonding among co-workers of whatever nationality against the indignities of such work was the norm. I was in my 50s & had the hauteur of a union worker when I got laid off. I will never forget the kindnesses of young Black, Latino, & Asian co-workers who saw what a struggle I was having in such repressive, miserable conditions doing day work & would counsel me how to survive.
Let me do the clairvoyant thing & say it’s far more likely those whites have bucks & privilege & are not the dispossessed.