Trump Gaining With Less Educated Whites, Losing With College Grads

Donald Trump is doing worse with white voters than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

trump-rally

FiveThirtyEight’s Henry Enten aggregates recent polls and finds that Donald Trump is doing worse with white voters than Mitt Romney did in 2012:

Donald Trump’s strategy in this campaign has been fairly clear from the beginning: Drive up Republican support among white voters in order to compensate for the GOP’s shrinking share among the growing nonwhite portion of the electorate. And Trump has succeeded in overperforming among a certain slice of white voters, those without a college degree. But overall, the strategy isn’t working. Trump has a smaller lead among white voters than Mitt Romney did in 2012, and Trump’s margin seems to be falling from where it was when the general election began.

Four years ago, Romney beat President Obama among white voters by 17 percentage points, according to pre-election polls. That was the largest winning margin among white voters for any losing presidential candidate since at least 1948. Of course, even if Trump did just as well as Romney did, it would help him less, given that the 2016 electorate will probably be more diverse that 2012’s. And to win — even if the electorate remained as white as it was four years ago — Trump would need a margin of 22 percentage points or more among white voters.

But Trump isn’t even doing as well as Romney. Trump is winning white voters by just 13 percentage points, according to an average of the last five live-interviewer national surveys.1 He doesn’t reach the magic 22 percentage point margin in a single one of these polls.

[…]

Perhaps, it would be better news for Trump if he were at least trending in the right direction with white voters. But he’s moved backward compared with polls back in May and early June. Back then, Trump led Clinton by 17 percentage points, on average, among white voters. In other words, the longer white voters have had a chance to listen to Trump’s message, the more they have been put off by it as a group.

To be more specific, Trump is trading one type of white voter for another. Even as he piles up support among white men without a college degree, he’s on track for a record poor performance for a Republican among white voterswith a degree.

There’s no examination of crosstabs—if they even exist in these surveys conducted by media organizations to gin up fake news—so we can only speculate as to why Trump is polarizing the white vote along educational lines. But the answer would seem obvious: Trump’s overtly nativist, even racist, appeals; his bizarre misogyny; and his lack of policy knowledge or coherence are less palatable to educated voters than uneducated ones.

Beyond that, college-educated people are simply less desperate and therefore less susceptible to Trump’s message. Yesterday on Twitter, Steve Metz pointed to a WaPo article headlined “White working-class men increasingly falling behind as college becomes the norm”

The economic status of white men without a college education is bleaker now than a generation ago, a new study shows.

Although the working-class and college-educated start their adult lives with roughly similar incomes, the earnings for those with college educations begin to soar soon after they enter the workforce, while earnings for those with only a high school education leveled off much earlier, according to a report released Wednesday by Sentier Research, a firm led by former census officials, that analyzed outcomes for white men from 1996 to 2014.

The report also found that the gap in fortunes between the ­college-educated and those with high school degrees or the ­equivalent has widened dramatically in the past 20 years. Adjusted for inflation, white working-class men earned more from 1978 to 1996 than they did from 1996 to 2014, while earnings for ­college graduates rose during that period.

The accompanying graphic is rather stunning:

college-income-gap-1996-2014

Metz acknowledged the disparity but commented, “I still don’t see why they think Trump offers a solution. My off-the-cuff response was, “I think the idea is that everyone else is status quo. It’s Underpants Gnome theory. My slightly more considered view is that, as bizarre and insulting as Trump’s messaging has been, he’s at least responding to this issue in a way that resonates with those most affected.

Back to the WaPo piece:

“Everybody’s talking about this group and how badly they’ve suffered, but there really hasn’t been any hard data till now,” [study co-author Gordon] Green said, adding that the decline in fortunes has been long underway. “We’ve been losing industrial jobs for several decades and many of the ­working-class people were in these kind of jobs, and once those jobs went overseas they could not get comparable pay. . . . The people who were working in those jobs didn’t have the training for the higher technology, for the way jobs evolved.”

During the primaries, the Republican candidates whom I considered palatable—John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and possibly Marco Rubio—gave variations of the economic policy proposals that have been GOP staples going back to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign: lower taxes and smaller government. Trump was really the only guy proposing a radical departure from the status quo.  Yes, his messaging was arguably racist and certainly insulting to the Hispanic community and that in and of itself has an appeal to those looking for someone to blame for their misfortunes. But Trump was also promising to actually do something—if not precisely clear what—to bring lost jobs back to our shores and stop the (actually already moving in reverse) tide of illegal immigrants coming across the border to drive down wages and drive up competition for low skill jobs.

For college-educated voters, Trump’s language and proposals were unsettling. But, more importantly, the problems he’s trying to solve doing directly impact us.

Hillary Clinton should be doing better than she is, given both the relatively strong state of the economy under a Democratic president and the historically bad campaign being run by her spectacularly unqualified opponent. But, as Steven Taylor notes, the overwhelming number of voters are virtually unpersuadable because of party/team/tribal loyalties. Beyond that, while Clinton’s economic proposals are objectively more logical from the standpoint of people who have taken a college economics course, they, as with those of Kasich and Bush, don’t address the visceral fears and futility of the white working class. (The black and Hispanic working classes, presumably, face the same problems at even higher levels. But Trump’s language and the GOP brand make him a non-starter in those communities.)

White voters are a declining share of the electorate to begin with and Trump is actually going to do worse with them than recent, losing Republican candidates. And he’ll likely do worse among the growing Hispanic population, too. Even though Clinton is likely to do less well at turning out blacks and young people than Obama did in 2012—and certainly than he did in 2008—it’s almost unfathomable that she won’t win this thing.

I fear the aftermath of this campaign. Trump’s core supporters, who have becoming increasingly angry in recent years, manifesting in such things as the Tea Party and, well, the nomination of Trump, live in a bubble. Everyone they know supports Trump. The media they consume are minimizing Trump’s flaws and amplifying Clinton’s. And their candidate has been telling them that the system is rigged against him for months.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Trump loves the poorly educated y’all . . .

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Since Reagan the GOP has defined the party by who they are not rather than who they are. The most important thing has been contempt for and blaming of the people deemed outsiders. The so called GOO power brokers view their own base as cattle. By always escalating the nonsense (Rush, global Climate Change denial, the entire Fox News operation) they insure the base is gullible and easily led, while the real constituency, the wealthy, use the mechanisms of government to benefit themselves.

    Attracting the uneducated has been a feature of the Fox network. Just as the Nigeria scam letters are written poorly to weed out the skeptical or call lists of the elderly that have already fallen for scams are worth more, an audience of gullible angry people is ideal for selling gold or the other nonsense promoted via the Republican media outlets.

  3. Lit3Bolt says:

    How many of these unregistered Neo-Nazis are going to vote on Election Day?

    They’ll have to brave going into town where fluoride and chem-trails are the strongest, fill out paperwork for Obama’s White Christian Assassination Program, and behave rationally in public long enough so as to not arouse suspicion from the local Jewry who report everything they see to their Elders in the U.N.

    Besides, there are probably tons of Fruit of Islam Black Panther Kill Squads who really aliens from outer space guarding the polling places. It’s probably safer if the Alex Jones crowd stayed at home getting updates about Nike’s sinister plan to control the world via Mind-Control Aglets.

  4. grumpy realist says:

    What I don’t understand is why anyone would look at Trump’s history and think that he’s going to help anyone but himself.

    The only conclusion I can come to is that they’re desperate.

    And what happens if Trump gets elected and lets them down Once Again? He’ll easily manipulate them into addressing their rage towards “THEM”. The others. The “elites”. The ones making “good salaries.” Those darker-skinned people. You know, “THEM.”

    Anything to admit that you’ve been taken to the bank by a gaudy, adulterous, two-bit con man and chiseler who has failed to hold up his side of the bargain in anything.

  5. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Trump said it himself, long ago: “I play to people’s fantasies.” Couple that with “I love the poorly educated” and you have the answer.

  6. James Joyner says:

    @grumpy realist: I think Trump’s message of “Hey, I’ve been gaming the system for decades! I know it better than anyone!” resonates with the desparate.

  7. Tony W says:

    ….the more you know….

  8. CSK says:

    It is interesting to speculate on what would happen if Trump got elected and then stabbed his fan club in the back. Armed insurrection? (Some of these people appear to be frantic to shoot someone.) Their priorities seem to be getting a wall built and expelling all Hispanic and Muslim immigrants, legal and otherwise. Neither the wall nor the expulsion is going to happen. Do they just go back to grumbling about being screwed by life?

    Their most pathetic delusion is that Trump cares about them.

  9. Liberal Capitalist says:

    You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers … these are people of the land … the common clay of the New West.

    You know – morons.

    Trump / Oligarchy 2016 !

  10. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    “It’s twoo! Oh, it’s twoo!”

    I’ve often mused on the fact that there’s a line from Blazing Saddles appropriate for almost any occasion.

  11. Gustopher says:

    If Clinton hopes to be anything other than a one term President, she is going to need to find a way to appeal to uneducated whites and rural America — the pain in those communities is real, and the likelihood that the Republicans will nominate someone as repellent as Trump in 2020 is low.

    Education alone isn’t the answer: we can’t just train everyone to be a lawyer or a plumber, as most people don’t have the raw talent.

    We are probably stuck with an economy with a modest number of very high wage earners (software engineers, and the like) and a larger number of people in lower income service industries. I think part of the answer has to be spreading the existing wealth around geographically — the high paying jobs are concentrated in a few cities that the working poor are being priced out of.

    How insanely complicated would we have to make the tax code to break up the physical concentration of wealth? Payroll taxes that scale inversely with the unemployment rate in that sector and country?

  12. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Gustopher: we could start by insisting that companies not act like psychopaths…

  13. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    we could start by insisting that companies not act like psychopaths…

    Wow… that’s an entirely different thread. There is no question that Capitalism is diametrically opposed to Democracy.

    Some of our largest challenges at due to the quarterly profit drive, and the destruction that leaves in its wake.

    I both benefit from and am appalled by it.

  14. SenyorDave says:

    @Gustopher: Another thing we could is change social security payroll taxes. I’ve seen proposals where you have a bubble where you don’t apply the FICA to a portion of the income, but do it 100% above that level. IOW:

    Current Up to $118,500 100% subject to FICA tax, anything above is 0%
    Proposed Up to $118,500 100% subject to FICA tax, $118,500 – $250,000 0%, above $250,000 subject to regular FICA tax rate

    This would accomplish two things, fix social security and a higher tax on very high incomes. The bubble amount of $250k is an example, a different amount could be chosen.

  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    I think Trump’s message of “Hey, I’ve been gaming the system for decades! I know it better than anyone!” resonates with the desparate.

    A lot of cons work by being upfront about the con, but convincing the mark that they’re in on it. By the time they realize they’re the victim rather than a co-conspirator, it’s too late.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Lit3Bolt: That’s what I keep wondering. It’s cheap fun to go to the Monster Truck Trump rally. Will they actually go to the trouble of voting in any larger numbers than usual?

  17. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    The tension arises from capitalist governance still being stuck in a feudal “Great Chain of Being” mode of governance, and the fact that global corporations are treated essentially as independent principalities.

    I don’t know what the answer is for that…it’s way above my pay grade…

  18. reid says:

    If it was me, I’d question myself if I knew educated people were against me. I know Trump is not capable of questioning himself, however.

    You mentioned that Trump’s supporters live in a bubble. It’s not just them. Most of them were Romney supporters, and Palin supporters, and… you get the idea. These are Republicans. They listen to Rush, they watch Fox, and they visit their web sites. I listened to Bill Maher yesterday (podcast), and there was a real horse’s arse of a rightwing economist on. Everyone was angry at him, because he just spouted the usual bubble nonsense: the Clinton Foundation is a criminal enterprise, the economy is horrible, etc. These things are simply not true, but he just went on and on. If one side refuses to accept reality and facts, then there’s little hope.

  19. Pch101 says:

    Trump is just the Tea Party, but a bit ruder and with more of an anti-trade emphasis.

    That element was in the party before he showed up and it will be there after November, but I doubt that he’ll be around to lead it. The question is who will be vying to take over that momentum for his own benefit after the election, and it would seem that Pence will be one of them.

  20. DrDaveT says:

    while Clinton’s economic proposals are objectively more logical [they] don’t address the visceral fears and futility of the white working class. (The black and Hispanic working classes, presumably, face the same problems at even higher levels.)

    No, they don’t, because as you note the problem is not their situation, but their visceral fear and anger. Those are a product of a relative loss of status — relative to women, relative to non-whites, relative to groups they used to be allowed to discriminate against. Blacks and Latinos don’t feel any equivalent loss; they never had that status to begin with.

    Even an economic policy that restored comfortable working-class wages to uneducated white men would not fix the underlying problem of perceived displacement.

  21. DrDaveT says:

    @SenyorDave:

    The bubble amount of $250k is an example, a different amount could be chosen.

    What’s the rationale for having a bubble at all, as opposed to simply collecting FICA from everyone at the same rate? Every analysis I’ve seen says that this would fix the projected SS shortfall all by itself.

  22. Argon says:

    @James Joyner: @James Joyner:

    I think Trump’s message of “Hey, I’ve been gaming the system for decades! I know it better than anyone!” resonates with the desparate.

    That seems to be what others are reporting too. It’s sad that they don’t see the con behind the game.

  23. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    Education alone isn’t the answer: we can’t just train everyone to be a lawyer or a plumber, as most people don’t have the raw talent.

    Education no; training yes. How much raw talent do you think it takes to be a plumber???

    My biggest disappointment with the Obama administration is still his failure to follow through on his original campaign promises to stop focusing on college education for everyone, and instead expand federal programs to include a much broader array of vocational training, subsidized apprenticeships, and similar paths to economic relevance for those who are not going to become Assistant Professors of Literary Theory, or even MBAs. I continue to maintain that the proven historical path out of poverty was always through the trades, and could be today if we would get our collective head out of our collective backside about education.

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: There’s also a lot of people who may not be that great at brainwork but are excellent at doing stuff with their hands. The trouble is we don’t value what they can do anymore and it’s getting harder and harder for them to do stuff, what with all the computer chips stuck in anywhere.

    The only end result I can see that might cause us to back off from the computerization of everything is the fact that security on such devices is abysmal. If I were running for POTUS, I’d be yowling about the security implications (Russian hackers deciding to deflate a sizable number of car tires at once and immobilize the US) and pushing for us to go back to purely mechanical devices, which might give us a chance to recreate industries where stuff is created and repaired by the hand.

  25. Pch101 says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I’m all for vocational training, but this country is so firmly dedicated to chest thumping that it won’t acknowledge that there are areas of the US that are just so hopelessly screwed that they can’t be fixed.

    These places cannot be saved under any circumstances; the fixes are just too expensive, and the populations are shrinking, anyway. Those who have some ambition and vision and vigor move away from those places, which makes the situation even more hopeless for those who stay behind.

    As old infrastructure falls apart, the cheapest thing to do is to just leave it behind and abandon it, but that just makes the situation worse for those who don’t leave. It can cost seven figures just to demolish a single facility; turning a nation’s worth of blight into empty fields would cost billions, and that’s before you’ve spent a penny to create resources that create income.

    Trumps “bring the jobs back” mantra speaks to their pain, but it’s a cynical exploitation of their fears. Those kinds of jobs are simply not going to come back, period.

    If we were to engage in serious social engineering, then we would literally shut down portions of the country and relocate the residents to substitute growth zones that would spur revitalized metro areas and opportunities for neo-homesteading and employment. But we don’t have the stomach for this, so it will never happen.

  26. Al says:

    Less educated simply means less indoctrinated. A 4-year degree means you’ve spent 3 years being socially engineered and 1 year educated in your field of choice.

    So yeah, those who refuse to be assimilated into the hive-mind would obviously prefer a candidate who hasn’t been “Borg-ed.”

  27. Jen says:

    I fear the aftermath of this campaign. Trump’s core supporters, who have becoming increasingly angry in recent years, manifesting in such things as the Tea Party and, well, the nomination of Trump, live in a bubble. Everyone they know supports Trump. The media they consume are minimizing Trump’s flaws and amplifying Clinton’s. And their candidate has been telling them that the system is rigged against him for months.

    This concerns me too. What can possibly be done about it? How do you communicate with a group of people who have built a bubble impervious to reason and discussion? That Trump has been permitted to natter on about “rigged” systems with practically no push back is incredible. He should have been slapped down the very first time he said that. The only system that is truly rigged is the banking system (see: Newsweek’s latest piece about how many times Trump’s daddy bailed him out, and how he received loans from banks without even written agreements) and it’s rigged in HIS favor as a fortunate son of privilege.

    We are now looking at the possibility that a not-insignificant portion of the population will believe that the election was somehow stolen from their Chosen One. This is highly problematic for democracy and the ability to get anything done.

  28. Kylopod says:

    @grumpy realist:

    What I don’t understand is why anyone would look at Trump’s history and think that he’s going to help anyone but himself.

    I’ve gotten the sense that many of his fans simply see him as a big FU to the establishment, regardless of what he does or doesn’t do once in office. It’s a dynamic not unlike some of the punk rockers in the ’70s. I reckon quite a few lower-class English youth would have cast their vote for Johnny Rotten had he been on the ballot somewhere.

  29. Cheryl Rofer says:

    “Bizarre misogyny”?

    It’s exaggerated, but trust me, it’s not out of the ordinary. Bizarre, maybe, in the sense that most candidates don’t flaunt it.

  30. barbintheboonies says:

    I`m still not sure Trump voters are going to turn to Hillary. I believe she needs to tell them she is going to do something to help the country move forward. We can not keep this up, what are we paying them for? I`m tired of the fighting, and blocking. He said, she said. it is all BS. Our country is better than this. Take money out of politics and may the best candidate win. If we keep going in this direction what will be the reason to vote at all. Corps. took over our country and that is a sad reality.

  31. dxq says:

    Al, if that were true, you’d be extremely unindoctrinated, when the reality is, you’re just a moron.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT:

    How much raw talent do you think it takes to be a plumber???

    Depends on what they are doing. Anyone can use a plunger or a snake.

    Welding pipes? Dealing with gas lines? Figuring out why something is leaking? Those are things that require a careful thoroughness that is either a talent, or a lot harder to teach to an adult. Plumbing is as difficult as electrianing.

  33. DrDaveT says:

    @Al:

    Less educated simply means less indoctrinated.

    You are Pink Floyd, and I claim my five pounds.

  34. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Well, as a white guy who finished his BA at age 24 in 1995, that is the single most depressing chart I’ve ever seen.

    Apparently teaching at a community college is *not* a path to riches, y’all !!!

  35. grumpy realist says:

    @Al: You consider learning a foreign language or chemistry to being indoctrinated?

    Wow.

  36. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    Those are things that require a careful thoroughness that is either a talent, or a lot harder to teach to an adult.

    Adult? Why would you wait until someone is an adult to teach them important life skills?

    I was talking about alternatives to traditional educational paths, not retraining of the already redundant and unskilled. For those people, there’s not a lot that can be done on a wide scale, unless you want to go full-on Depression mode and let the government employ them (directly or indirectly) to do a combination of heavy and fiddly labor repairing and improving infrastructure.

  37. PJ says:

    @grumpy realist:

    You consider learning a foreign language or chemistry to being indoctrinated?

    1. The only reason to learn foreign languages is to read the Bible, and only clergy should do that.
    2. Chemistry is magic, and thus satanic.

  38. al-Alameda says:

    @Al:

    Less educated simply means less indoctrinated. A 4-year degree means you’ve spent 3 years being socially engineered and 1 year educated in your field of choice.

    it also means less likely to be employed, and more likely to wonder why you’re not employed.

  39. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT: I am honestly not sure whether self-discipline, and careful thoroughness can be taught, or whether it is largely a matter of the person’s innate abilities. But, at any rate, I am not willing to write off the entire adult population.

    First, purely from selfish reasons, Trumpyness isn’t going anywhere, and we need to have a measurable change within a few years — even a measurable change in opinion — or we will lose the Presidency if the Republicans nominate someone less disgusting than Trump.

    Second, it’s just cruel.

    Third, a lot of the problems have nothing to do with the people in question — if there isn’t opportunity somewhere, the people who stay will just fall further and further behind, and become bitter and resentful and Trumpy.

    I do think we need to use the purchasing power of the government to bolster weakened communities — rather than buying things from the lowest bidder (and then getting overcharged anyway), steer contracts in part based on what areas of the country need stimulus. Not quite make-work, but putting a thumb on the scales in a clear and transparent manner.

    I live in Seattle, and as Amazon expands incredibly rapidly, I can see it affecting the city in a very bad way — people not in tech are priced out of the more central neighborhoods, and even in the more distant neighborhoods rents are rising way faster than wages. If concentrating an industry in one area can have such a negative affect, perhaps we should be doing more to distribute it, and using the government to do so.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: I have a lot of respect for mechanics, plumbers, etc. I’ve worked with skilled machine tool assemblers who were very bright people. The guys from the city who picked up the dead deer off my curb were worth ten Donald Trumps.

    Yes, we should place more emphasis on non-college training and give skilled trades a lot more respect. But this won’t create any jobs for plumbers. Being an unemployed plumber in WV isn’t much of a step up from unemployed coal miner. We need to address job creation and we need to address mobility. Neither is easy. We are also going to have to consider that with automation in everything, we may soon reach a point that there simply is not productive work for everybody.

  41. Andrew says:

    Being in the medical field I can say this is one field that is only getting larger every day. With Boomers retiring and hitting Medicare.
    Information Technologies, and Engineering are also fields that will continue to expand.

    Most of the industries that led the early 20th century will not rebound, or even come back they way they were. But, we do have other options for how we can spur job growth. A living wage, however, seems to be inevitable.
    Population will drop off in 10 -20 years, and technology is going to replace a lot of manual labor jobs.

  42. bill says:

    @Mark Ivey: yeah, too bad the “overly educated” blacks/hispaincs don’t approve….
    but then again, bill gates never graduated from college and still made a buck.
    or are these “college grads” the “basement dwellers” hillary spoke of?! all that “education” and nothing to speak for it…….
    truth be told, when these guys voted democrat they were called “hard working blue collar” types. so true to your colors you must put down anyone who doesn’t like your candidate. but then again, do y’all even like her or just need to vote for whatever democrat is thrown your way?

  43. barbintheboonies says:

    @Gustopher: The same thing is happening in Portland Or. Some of the homeless have jobs, but cannot afford housing. A friend from Fla. came out to visit us, had not seen them for years, he used to be a sorta hippy type, now a hard right fox news, well you get the picture. He was so disgusted with the homeless out here and wonders why they just don`t put them in jail, or make them get jobs. These people just don`t get it. The problem is bigger than anyone could have imagined, they are laying all over the city streets.

  44. barbintheboonies says:

    @Andrew: I wish we all could feel this optimistic, but we`re not. The sad reality is our kids are going to inherit this push and shove society just to hang on. They barely are hanging on now. Most blue collar workers are working 60-75 hours a week they hardly see their kids and they may lose these jobs in the future. Some of these kids have degrees and still cannot get a job due to too many people. They take jobs out of necessity and hope things will get better.

  45. Andrew says:

    @bill:

    There are always exceptions to every rule. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg. etc etc.
    My point is, not everyone can be an exception to the rule. Education does get you farther in careers and pay. As millions of others not named Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg, can tell you.
    No matter how special of a snowflake some one thinks they are. Or how much a person is told so by people already in power. (Paul Ryan is a prime example seeing how he got where he is on the government teet the entire way. )

    If someone wants to live their life as if they are just an hour away from striking it rich or winning the powerball jackpot, so be it. But, if they can not realize it’s their own fault for not changing the way they think or improving themselves. That’s no one’s fault but their own. The ratio of people hitting it rich, to those who do not is far more skewed than any Trump poll showing him losing.
    After all I am being told that there are so many opportunities for people to move up in the world, but it seems the “minorities” are taking all the good jobs. Well, how about rather than complaining about it. Go out and get a degree? Wait, sorry. This is America. Being white is all the credentials you should need!

    /endSnark.

  46. al-Alameda says:

    @bill:

    but then again, bill gates never graduated from college and still made a buck.
    or are these “college grads” the “basement dwellers” hillary spoke of?! all that “education” and nothing to speak for it…….

    But then again guys like Gates and Zuckerberg are the exception, not the rule. Also, Gates was from a wealthy family to begin with – he attended the most exclusive schools in Seattle and attended Harvard for a while then dropped out.

    You’re not seriously contesting the statistical facts that employment and income status decline as the level of education attained declines. Another way of saying this is that unemployment is highest among those with the lowest levels of education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics published this data on-line every month.

  47. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    I am honestly not sure whether self-discipline, and careful thoroughness can be taught, or whether it is largely a matter of the person’s innate abilities.

    I’m a bit confused by this — you’re essentially saying that the apprentice system, in use in Europe (and many other places) for millenia, didn’t work. That seems like an odd conclusion to reach.

    But, at any rate, I am not willing to write off the entire adult population.

    I hope you didn’t interpret anything I said as implying a willingness to “write off the entire adult population”. If you did, that’s certainly not what I thought I was saying. Especially given that I proposed at least one way to employ these people usefully in my comments.

    What I did intend to say is that you can’t retrain all of the unemployed former industrial workers in the US to skill sets that would make them employable at better than minimum wage in our current economy. I don’t think you disagree with that, given your skepticism about the limits of training.

    Third, a lot of the problems have nothing to do with the people in question

    Here I think we disagree somewhat. People who chose to get an education and become (say) nurses are not hurting for work, anywhere in the country. The trend toward automation replacing factory workers is not new; Kurt Vonnegut saw the writing on the wall in 1952. Old saws about the buggy whip industry do apply.

    That doesn’t mean I think those people should be left to starve, or even to sit around collecting public assistance.

    I do think we need to use the purchasing power of the government to bolster weakened communities — rather than buying things from the lowest bidder (and then getting overcharged anyway), steer contracts in part based on what areas of the country need stimulus.

    I’m from the mobile generation; my cohort expected to live somewhere far from where we grew up, because that was where the work was going to be. I’m not sure I agree that people have a right to make a living in a particular preferred place, though I do understand that society can’t afford to relocate depressed communities wholesale. We could subsidize relocation for those taking steps to find work, though.

  48. @Gustopher:

    I do think we need to use the purchasing power of the government to bolster weakened communities — rather than buying things from the lowest bidder (and then getting overcharged anyway), steer contracts in part based on what areas of the country need stimulus. Not quite make-work, but putting a thumb on the scales in a clear and transparent manner.

    I live in Seattle, and as Amazon expands incredibly rapidly, I can see it affecting the city in a very bad way — people not in tech are priced out of the more central neighborhoods, and even in the more distant neighborhoods rents are rising way faster than wages. If concentrating an industry in one area can have such a negative affect, perhaps we should be doing more to distribute it, and using the government to do so.

    So your model for economic policy is Pol Pot’s deurbanization program…

  49. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Argon: Where I get lost on this part of the schtick is how driving yourself to the brink of bankruptcy is either “gaming the system” or “a masterstroke of tax avoidance technique.”

    Then again, that may be what makes me an ig’rant cracker.

  50. Tillman says:

    Related, and I think a more accurate take on what’s going on: How the education gap is tearing politics apart

  51. grumpy realist says:

    @bill: There have been people who have gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survived. This does not mean that it is a smart thing to do.

    I have quite a few friends who did not bother to go to college and who obtained their education on their own. Great.

    The problem is that if you’re looking for a job in the US, more and more jobs above the level of a McJob are using the possession of a degree as a way of quickly selecting potential candidates. One of my friends, who has over 20 years experience as a radio reporter, found that when applying for a position at a US news agency, all this experience meant zip and the fact that he didn’t have a college degree was the deciding factor.

    So–given this credentialism that is going on, is it really a SMART thing for you to fight against the system?

    If you have sufficient connections, friends-who-go-to-college, riches, and luck, you may be able to work around the fact that you don’t have a degree. But for the average person, getting a college degree still remains the best way of getting into the system.

    (I’m hoping that education-on-line can help bring down the cost of all of this and that we can really get apprenticeships going again. Also boot camps to learn particular skills.)

  52. JKB says:

    Interesting how the college edumedicated are so willing to ignore threat to the rule of law and the continuation of the fundamental principles that brought mankind out of feudalism. I guess they didn’t really comprehend anything from their history courses. Of course, they probably did inculcate their poly sci courses given it seems most poly sci professors despise the American form of government with its divide government and attenuated executive.

    Yes, yes, Hillary has not been indicted or convicted by the very system that is being co-opted to protect her. But one thing about the non-college educated, they can generally recognize bull s… when they see it being flung at them.

    But again the interesting part is that so many allegedly educated persons are so willing to throw out one of the defining attributes of modernity, equality before the law, that has brought so many out of poverty and liberty. We know, Donald Trump said something mean about a girl once and that’s all that matters.

  53. barbintheboonies says:

    @grumpy realist: My son was not doing very well in school when he was young, playing hooky all that. I was told he may do better in a vocational program. Wow that did it for him, he loved school, he was so good the teacher`s had him helping them. My son went on to become a marine and now works as a comercial diver. I am very proud. These vocational schools are a necessity to kids like my son. This is some kid`s last chance to prove they are worth something. I wonder how many kids in jail could have turned their lives around before it is too late. It`s very hard to get a job if you have felony or even some misdemeanor charges.

  54. al-Alameda says:

    @JKB:

    Interesting how the college edumedicated are so willing to ignore threat to the rule of law and the continuation of the fundamental principles that brought mankind out of feudalism. I guess they didn’t really comprehend anything from their history courses.

    Interesting how the lowest rates of unemployment are among those who have attained higher levels of educational degrees and achievement.

    Why do current conservatives find lower levels of educational achievement and higher levels of unemployment among those with less education so appealing?

  55. Pch101 says:

    @al-Alameda:

    Why do current conservatives find lower levels of educational achievement and higher levels of unemployment among those with less education so appealing?

    Conservatism has become a religion for stupid people. It’s the perfect clique for the poorly educated — no need to think when you can just get angry and react.

    Meanwhile, they have Breitbart and the rest of their media to assure them of their righteousness. It’s a constant feedback loop of disinformation and dumbness.

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: What in the world are you babbling about?

  57. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist: Who knows? Maybe the spoon he gets fed his info with was bent.

  58. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: I will assume that by the “non-college educated, (who) can recognize bull s… when they see it….” that you are referring to active supporters of Mr Trump. There’s an illuminating article in TIME magazine pointing out what some of those very wise, BS-adverse gentlemen and ladies believe: Pres Obama is on the verge of cancelling the 22d amendment and running for a third term; global warming is a hoax; Islam is being promoted in American schools; drug cartels have bought and paid for the American government.

    They quote a Mr Thiel: “(p)eople aren’t being taught history anymore” and “they’ve dumbed everybody down.” He goes on to demonstrate that he knows real history: “We’ve never had a problem with guns or racism until the last eight years.”

    “The Truth Is Out There In 2016. Way Out There.” Time Magazine. Oct 6.

    And I see that the BS adverse constituency is embracing the Drudge- and Limbaugh-endorsed conspiracy theory that Hurricane Matthew is being immensely inflated by global-warming advocates at NHC and NOAA. No BS there!

    And some total fool claims to know that ‘most poly sci professors despise the American form of government’! Imagine that! Some ignorant jackass that doesn’t know the difference between ‘poly sci’ and ‘poli-sci’ — showing that he’s never enrolled in a political science course believes he can state with authority something that stupid!

    Oh wait…. That was you wasn’t it? Well, the shoe fits in your mouth doesn’t it?

  59. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Spoon-bending! Uri Geller!

    (Now where was that copy of Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies I had around here….?)