Daily Archives: March 29, 2016

Donald Trump Is a Class Act

Working class, that is. Though Trump himself doesn’t have a working-class background, he has focused his campaign on white, working-class voters. This is appalling to both middle-class progressives and middle-class conservatives because they don’t understand what it means to be working class.

Remember, the working-class includes people (and their families) who earn their incomes through physical labor while the middle-class is made up of people who earn incomes through mental labor. In general, members of the middle class have a bachelor’s degree or better while members of the working class don’t. As it happens, only about 30 percent of working-age Americans have a bachelor’s degree or better, so the vast majority of potential voters are working class.

Economists have excellent arguments in favor of free trade. Most intellectuals (who by definition are middle class or better), whether progressive or conservative, support free trade, so they can’t understand how many people support Trump’s “xenophobia.” But the economists who make those arguments are middle class, while it is working-class jobs that are threatened by the export of manufacturing jobs to other countries, so the working class is thrilled by Trump’s rhetoric.

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