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Labor in the Time of Trump$
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Jasmine Kerrissey, Eve Weinbaum, Clare Hammonds, Tom Juravich, and Dan Clawson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746598

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746598.001.0001

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Whose Class Is It Anyway? The “White Working Class” and the Myth of Trump

Whose Class Is It Anyway? The “White Working Class” and the Myth of Trump

(p.87) 5 Whose Class Is It Anyway? The “White Working Class” and the Myth of Trump
Labor in the Time of Trump

Sarah Jaffe

Cornell University Press

This chapter unpacks myths about the white working class and its support for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Popular media wrongly suggest that millions of white, economically disadvantaged, uneducated blue-collar workers were responsible for Trump's victory. The chapter examines the evidence, showing that two-thirds of Trump voters made more than the median income but more than half of those without college degrees were in the top half of the income distribution. The chapter suggests that these voters were not motivated by enthusiasm about Trump's priorities but rather were protesting a system that had left them behind. The myth of the struggling white working-class voter, clamoring for Trump to make America great again, ignores the millions of working-class workers who are people of color and misunderstands racism. This chapter shows how important it is to listen to Trump voters, to understand why working-class people are angry, and to question the media's narrative of the white working class.

Keywords:   white working class, blue-collar workers, 2016 presidential elections, white working-class, working-class voter, popular media, racism, President Trump

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