During the last several weeks an energetic debate has broken out among leading political analysts over the role and importance of the white working class in the coming election and also over how to properly define and measure this key voting group.
Tom Edsall summarized the debate as follows in the New York Times:
…This is an issue of central importance in American politics. And it’s not just crucial for the presidential election: understanding what the white working class is and where it is going is fundamental if we want to understand where the country is going…
…Part of the problem is that different people mean different things when they are talking about the working class. Is this cohort made up of those without college degrees; those in the bottom third of the income distribution; or those in occupations described by the federal government as “blue-collar”?
TDS is pleased to present an extremely important contribution to this discussion, an analysis by Andrew Levison that quite dramatically challenges key assumptions of the conventional wisdom on this subject:
The Surprising Size of “White Working Class” America – Half of all White Men and 40 Percent of White Women Still Work in Basically Blue-Collar Jobs.
The memo is available here in a PDF format.