by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
We live in the age of working-class discontent, which, if it wasn’t obvious before, has been made plain by the passions roiling 2016 presidential politics.
The media’s preferred description of the average Republican voter has often been “the angry white male.” This was crudely simplistic and meant to be pejorative. If the press wants to update the descriptor, it should refer to “the despairing white male.” Or more accurately, the despairing white working class. …
… White working-class life in America has been in a slow-motion disintegration for decades, and it shows. The white working class is an archipelago of hopelessness. It is in a funk about the economy (almost 80 percent think we are still in a recession) and, more fundamentally, the American future.
According to the American Values Survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, only about 40 percent of the white working class say the country’s best days are ahead. This is not only lower than college-educated whites (53 percent), but much lower than blacks (60 percent) and Hispanics (56 percent). It is astonishing to think that the white working class has a dimmer view of the nation’s future than blacks, who have been historically discriminated against and still lag badly on almost every socio-economic indicator.