There’s an old saw that blue-collar working-class voters are the bedrock of the Democratic Party.
This may have been true a generation ago, but no longer. Political realignments over the last 20 years have caused the voter base of both major parties to flip.
The Democratic Party is now undeniably the party of the wealthy.
According to Bloomberg, IRS data from 2020 shows that Democrats represent 65 percent of taxpayers with a household income of $500,000.
Meanwhile, the same data establishes that 74 percent of taxpayers in Republican districts have household incomes of less than $100,000.
The Bloomberg report also references Census Bureau data that showed the typical congressional district represented by a Republican was 14 percent richer than the typical Democratic district in 1992. But nearly 30 years later, in 2020, Republican districts were 13 percent poorer than their Democratic counterparts.
A somewhat less scientific analysis from 2020 reinforced that the GOP is the party of working Americans. According to The Cook Political Report, 85 percent of counties with a Whole Foods store voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump, while only 32 percent of counties with a Cracker Barrel Old Country store did so — a “culture gap” of 53 points.
This demographic shift is part of a long-term trend that began well before the arrival of Trump and his MAGA policies on the political scene.
A 2015 study revealed that families registered as Democrats have higher annual salaries than Republicans.
And, according to a Vox report from 2016, top-end wealth in America over the past several decades “has increasingly concentrated in a handful of metropolises. … Most of these very prosperous cities (especially New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles) have become very solidly Democratic.”
“The places with the largest concentrations of wealth,” Vox said, “are now disproportionately represented by Democrats. In 2014, 17 of the 25 wealthiest congressional districts … were represented by Democrats. And overall, the median household income in Democratic-represented congressional districts was about $2,000 more than the median household income in Republican-represented districts.”
Even the 2016 version of Joe Biden recognized the tectonic shift in party demography. During an interview with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC that year, Biden described his party as a bunch of “limousine liberals” who failed to connect with “working-class voters.”
Despite these metrics, many cultural elitists on the left continue to perpetuate the canard that Republicans are country club snobs and that the Democrats are the party of the little guy, the underdog and the downtrodden.
A Pew Research Center survey conducted during the Obama years revealed that more than 60 percent of Americans believed that Republicans were the party of the wealthy, but only 20 percent felt that way about the Democrats.
Conversely, 67 percent of Americans believed that the Democratic Party favors the poor and middle-class, and only 26 percent felt that way about Republicans.
But if the Democratic Party is home to so many high-earners, why does it support so many wealth-killing measures, such as Biden’s 43.4 percent capital gains tax and the steep hike in the corporate tax rate?
43.4% capital gains tax might kill the golden goose that is America/Silicon Valley. People need an incentive to build long term #startups of value. In California, that would be a 56.4% tax burden. >50% Spells death to job creation.
— Tim Draper (@TimDraper) April 22, 2021
The answer is that, generally speaking, its members view affluence — even their own — with scorn. Financial success does not inspire pride but shame. It is not something to be celebrated but punished.
When the Pew Research Center measured how wealthy people are perceived by members of each party, a solid majority of Republicans expressed the view that the rich were hardworking, intelligent and honest. Only a bare fraction of Democrats endorsed that perspective, though — most of them described the well-off as “greedy.”
That’s why, during the COVID-19 pandemic, blue states had no problem cannibalizing their economies by imposing draconian lockdowns that left millions of working-class Americans unemployed and unable to pay their bills. The party of the rich decimated small businesses through inflexible, and often irrational, regulations of dubious public health value.
Meanwhile, high-earning Democrats — such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — thrived.
Whether Democrats’ opprobrium toward wealth owes to socialist influences or to guilt based on misguided notions that any success is the result of “our history of slavery, genocide, dispossession, and discrimination,” as one liberal academic has claimed, the undeniable fact remains that the Democrat Party is now the silver spoon set.
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