The correlates of Trumpism: early mortality, lack of education, unemployment, offshored jobs

Wonkblog runs the numbers on the counties with the strongest support for Trump and finds that the typical Trump supporter is likely to live in a place with higher-than-normal mortality for whites (middle-aged white mortality has been increasing since the 1990s at a rate unseen in the developed world since the collapse of the Soviet Union), lower-than-usual rates of university eduction, higher-than-normal rates of unemployment, where manufacturing jobs have vanished due to offshoring.

The rising middle-aged white mortality is driven by a combination of factors: increased rates of disease and ill health, increased drug overdose and abuse, and suicide are all blamed for it.

Three other characteristics stood out as highly statistically significant:

1. The fraction of people with bachelor's degrees. All else held equal — including the death rates — places where people were more educated were less likely to vote for Trump. This effect was large. About a seven percentage-point increase in the fraction of people with BAs (the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles) predicts about a four to five percentage point decrease in Trump's vote share. In other words, more educated counties don't vote Trump. (They tend to vote Rubio, polls show.)

2. The fraction of people in the county who are working. After controlling for other factors, the percentage of people with jobs was a significant predictor of the Trump vote share. If an additional 12 percent of adults had jobs (which is roughly the gap between the 75th and 25th percentiles), Trump would have lost about two percentage points of the vote in the primaries.

3. The decline in manufacturing. In the early 2000s, increased trade with China delivered another whammy to American manufacturers. The data show that the places that lost a lot of manufacturing jobs since 1999 were also more likely to vote for Trump on Super Tuesday.

The data deliver a clear message: Economic distress in many parts of the country is driving voters toward Donald Trump. But there remains this mystery about white death rates.

Death predicts whether people vote for Donald Trump [Jeff Guo/Washington Post]

(via Naked Capitalism )

Notable Replies

  1. If I may - regardless of education, getting older and hurting more, "robbed" of the world that they were promised as children, and with limited or no prospects for the future.

    That sadly describes a large portion of the country. This is what happens when productivity and profits go sky high (higher than ever in the history of our country) and almost none of it results in a better anything for the average person. Not higher wages, not improved infrastructure, not improved standards of living, nothing. All that we seem to get are more platitudes about how someone who isn't doing well enough obviously didn't work 'hard' enough.

    Note that 'hard' in this case has been totally taken over as a word - it used to mean actually performing labor - now it just means accumulating wealth.

  2. The broader point that came across to me is that you're a diligent cherry-picker.

  3. Or someone who claims that he will fix the system by making appeals to xenophobia and simple-minded economics without addressing the actual causes of those losses. The white middle-class demographic is losing the most now because they have the most to lose, the most to be stolen from them by the kleptocratic class that Trump represents.

  4. Judging from the nuanced opinions I've seen here, mutants at BB are not likely to be one issue voters.

    Bernie Sanders is also against TPP and he hasn't resorted to childish insults and trolling.

  5. That's why I've always thought of "We want our country back!" as a nostalgic white rallying cry.

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