Tag Archives: Republican share of high-paying jobs

Democrats are now the party of the super-rich; Republicans, party of workers

A new study by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) confirms what some of us already know about the partisan nature of the class-division manifested in the 2016 election:

The Democratic Party is now the party of the very rich, whereas the Republican Party of Donald Trump has become the party of working Americans.

The Wall Street Journal article on this, “Democrats and Republicans Aren’t Just Divided. They Live in Different Worlds,” by Aaron Zitner and Dante Chinni, is behind a paywall. The article’s summary:

America’s political polarization is almost complete. Its two main political parties increasingly represent two different economies. And they barely overlap.

Democrats can be found in educated cities and suburbs where professional jobs are plentiful. Republicans live in working-class and rural communities, home to agriculture and basic manufacturing.

The WSJ uses the following indicators as measurements of socio-economic class:

  1. Real GDP (the value of goods and services produced) of a congressional district.
  2. Median household income of a congressional district.
  3. Type of employment.
  4. Education

By those measures, it is clear that in just ten years, from 2008 to 2018, Democratic voters have become not just the rich, but the super-rich, whereas Republican voters are overwhelmingly middle-class and the working poor.

Contrary to the media’s malicious stereotype, even in 2008, the GOP was not the party of the super-rich: The party won no congressional districts with GDPs of more than $62 billion. In contrast, the Democratic Party was already trending toward being a party of the super-rich, having won congressional districts with GDPs of $70 billion to $90 billion or more.

Democrats, the Party of the Rich

In 2008, the Democratic Party was already trending to being a party of the rich. Ten years later, the transformation was complete:

  1. Whereas in 2008, the Democrat Party pulled most of their votes from congressional districts with some of the lowest GDP, by 2018, Democrats now largely represent voters who live in districts with the highest GDP, including GDP of $90 billion or more.
  2. Whereas in 2008, the median household income of Democrat congressional districts was about $52,000, by 2017, that median household income had jumped 17% to about $62,000. That of Republican voters, however, barely changed.
  3. Type of employment:
    1. Democrats represent districts with the biggest clusters of high-paying professional jobs, including the hi-tech hubs around Silicon Valley and Boston:
      • Between 2008 and 2018, Democrats increased their already majority share of jobs in finance and insurance from 61% to 64.3%.
      • Between 2008 and 2018, Democrats increased their already majority share of jobs in digital and professional industries from 63.7% to 71.1%. Nearly three-quarters of digital and professional jobs are now in Democratic districts.
    2. Between 2008 and 2018, Democrats decreased their representation in congressional districts with lower-paying agricultural and mining jobs, from 46.1% to 39.5%, and of low-skill manufacturing jobs from a majority of 53.8% to 43.6%.
  4. Education: Between 2008 and 2017, Democrats increased their share of adults with college degrees from about 27% to about 34.5%.

(B) Republicans, the Party of the Middle Class and Working Poor

Already, in 2008, the GOP was not favored by the super-rich. Ten years later, by 2018, the GOP’s transformation into a party of America’s middle-class and working poor was complete.

  1. Whereas in 2008, the GOP had a modicum of support in congressional districts with GDPs of $60-68 billion, by 2018, the GOP had lost all congressional districts with GDPs above $62 billion. Instead, the vast majority of GOP’s congressional districts had lower GDPs of $22-40 billion.
  2. In 2008, the median household income of Republican congressional districts was about $51,000. After ten years, by 2018, Republican media household income had barely increased, to about $53,000.
  3. Type of employment:
    1. Between 2008 and 2018, Republicans decreased their already minority shares of high-paying jobs in finance and insurance from 39% to 35.7%, and of jobs in digital and professional industries from 36.3% to 28.9%.
    2. In contrast, between 2008 and 2018, the GOP of Donald Trump became the party of honest workers in lower-paying jobs, increasing their share of jobs in agriculture and mining from 53.9% to 60.5%, and in basic manufacturing from 46.2% to 56.4%.
  4. Education: Between 2008 and 2017, Republicans barely increased their share of adults with college degrees from about 25% to 27%.

The WSJ concludes, quoting Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union:

“When folks have less in common with one another, it’s hard to expect that they’re going to see the problem the same way, let alone recognize that a problem exists.”

John Binder of Breitbart explains the connection between the Democratic Party and globalism, and of the geographical coast-vs.-inland divide in the 2016 election:

Democrats represent the overwhelming majority of professional, high-paying industries that are not threatened by free trade and foreign imports — including workers in the financial, insurance, and tech industries.

Oppositely, Republicans increasingly represent workers in the agriculture industry, the mining industry, and low-skilled manufacturing industry — sectors that have been readily gutted because of global free trade and dumping of foreign imports in the American economy.

The Democrats’ voter base of the wealthiest billionaires in the country or professional white-collar employees who work in fields unthreatened by free trade can explain the party’s shift toward a globalist free trade agenda that seeks multilateral trade negotiations and the elimination of all tariffs.

The vast majority of 2020 Democrats running for president have said they would lift the job-creating tariffs that President Donald Trump has placed on foreign steel and aluminum imports.

Meanwhile, Republican voters — the majority of whose jobs are threatened by free trade, as the research notes — have become the most supportive demographic group of tariffs on foreign imports and an economic nationalist agenda that reduces foreign competition in the labor market and American economy.

Of course, regionally, the Democrat base consists nearly exclusively of top income earners and rich executives who live in metropolitan areas and major cities along the coasts.

In the 2016 election, failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the vast majority of high-income coastal congressional districts in the West Coast and the Northeast.

Trump, who decisively won the election, took home electoral college votes from the heartland of the U.S., winning states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia, the very communities that had been devastated by the Washington, DC, free trade apparatus of the last three decades.

~Eowyn

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