by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden … travel[ed] to North Carolina on Tuesday to discuss manufacturing and infrastructure as Democrats look to shore up their status with blue-collar voters.
The president is kicking off his Investing in America Tour, during which “Scranton Joe” is sure to play up his working-class background and union love. But even as he promotes a made-in-America message, his party has been hemorrhaging support from voters without college degrees for over a decade.
“They call the factories ‘fabs,'” Biden said at a March 14 Democratic National Committee fundraiser. “It’s going to take 7,000 construction people to build these fabs, and they’re going to make union wages to do it.”
Biden was speaking about an Intel semiconductor facility near Columbus, Ohio, though he mentions unions in most speeches, particularly the ones that touch on manufacturing.
“And in addition to that, there’s 5,000 jobs running the factories making the chips,” he said at the DNC event. “You know what the average salary in those factories is going to be? $130,000. And you don’t need a college degree for all of them; you need the training.”
Biden has heavily promoted unions and manufacturing since taking office as he keeps Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — all of which he flipped from former President Donald Trump — in mind.
[Tuesday he visited] Durham, home of Duke University, to tour a Wolfspeed Inc. semiconductor plant. Per an official itinerary, Biden will discuss how his agenda has led to the strongest job growth in history, stronger infrastructure, and a “Made in America manufacturing boom” that has strengthened supply chains and national security.
But amid Biden’s working-class happy talk, Republicans are making inroads with America’s blue-collar workers. House Republicans now control most seats in districts with below-average household incomes, including in heavily Hispanic areas of Texas and Florida.