There’s been a great deal of talk lately about Joe the Plumber, and verily, the white, working class male vote has been fetishized to almost Ark of the Covenant status in electoral politics. But why? An interesting piece in the National Review on “The Hidden History of the American Electorate” offers some insight:
The past five presidential elections have involved very different Democratic nominees (from Michael Dukakis and John Kerry to Clinton and Al Gore) running in very different circumstances. Yet over that entire period, the Democratic share of the vote among white men has varied little: ranging between lows of 36 percent (in 1988 and 2000) and a high of 38 percent (for Clinton’s 1996 re-election). That remarkable stability suggests a structural resistance to Democrats among these men that will be difficult for any single candidate to overcome.
Right — this demographic tends to be conservative leaning, so there really shouldn’t be so much emphasis on courting them in droves. Rather, it’s equally beneficial to harvest more fecund soil. That is, since black votes are whole 5/5s of a white working class male vote, it’s entirely plausible for a Democrat to win the election without the overwhelming support of working class white males. Why the media almost monomaniacally obsesses about the “swinginess” of this particular demographic is just stupid.