This is a really sh!tty and dishonest article. Obviously any article that starts with a lengthy and screed full of ugly generalisations presented as fact ('Liberals want reality to conform to their heroic narratives about life.') is one that is rarely worth taking seriously, and given this I guess no one should be surprised that almost immediately we hit on that old classic of claiming that people who you disagree with/dislike have argued something other than that they actually have:
'Unfortunately, after you factor in the century and country we live in, the evidence that the Trump voter is especially well-off is pretty thin.'
Has anyone actually argued that Trump primary voters are especially
well off? The usual argument (and one that happens to be backed up by, you know, election returns) is that the critical mass behind Trump's victory has been ordinary affluent Republicans living in the outer suburbs, not that Trump's supporters look like Trump. Acknowledging this is not the same as saying that Trump has not done very well amongst those few voters in depressed areas who have voted; it is just a matter of pointing out that you cannot win a Republican primary with those votes alone, and Trump hasn
Household income numbers are not all that revealing
This is a genuinely bizarre statement and one that is not backed up or justified in any meaningful way at all. Instead we just get this strange ramble about the need to take age and other family related factors into account because the 'strain' on income caused by Wholesome Republican Family Values are apparently worse than other 'strains' on income (c.f. renting). This is blinkered ideological bilge.
Telling us the household income of Trump supporters without describing the age and number of the earners and dependents tells us not much at all. A 24-year-old single and unmarried Bernie Sanders supporter who makes $28,000 a year may have a college degree and may expect to make a six-figure income by middle age. He may have parents that help him make rent when he comes up short.
What planet does this idiot live on? Not that this hypothetical 'typical' Sanders supporter is at all relevant to the sociology of Trump's primary support (and neither is he/she exactly typical of Sanders supporters. Ignoring the almost sweet ignorance of what life is like for young people these days, the assumption that Sanders has not attracted significant support from Americans with the sort of lifestyle this buffoon trumpets is telling
But under household-income numbers alone, that Sanders supporter looks more desperate than a Trump supporter who heads a family of five, in which two working parents in their peak earning years make $68,000 as a household. Sometimes being "rich" means you can spend a few years earning $24,000 at a job you love. Sometimes being working class means taking a dangerous job at six figures, but go on disability in your mid-40s. Pay gaps between America's classes are small early in the life-cycle of a career.
And note that, surprise surprise, we're seeing the questionable archetype presented earlier being presented as 'typical' of Sanders support (again, how is Sanders' support relevant to Trumps?) and extreme and unusual career paths being presented as typical. It also displays an amusing lack of knowledge as to wage earning patterns in working class households.
And so this raw data leads intelligent journalists to say insane things, as when Matthew Yglesias described the Trump-voting Staten Island as an "affluent" community.
But Staten Island is
an affluent community. And not only is it affluent
but its employment structure leans heavily towards the managerial and the white collar, so we can't even pull the tired old trope of 'affluent workers' out of retirement. Of course Staten Island is also unfashionable and the people that live there speak with an accent, but this doesn't make it a working class community.*
When people think of "affluent" they think of neighborhoods they'd move into if they became wealthy.
But the borough is defined by a culture of New York's public sector workers — like sanitation men, NYPD, and FDNY — whose incomes look "affluent" by national standards, but don't feel like it in such close proximity to Manhattan.
In fact the people he's talking about look affluent in the city they live in, at least once you ignore the people who work in financial servics etc (who don't interact in the normal economy anyway) but whatever. The fact that they are not rich
is irrelevant to the fact that they are affluent.
More truth is found out about Staten Island on Urban Dictionary, or in the character of Ray from HBO's Girls,
Abort Abort Abort
It's been obvious all along that this is not serious analysis. It is now clear that it is not serious journalism either.
The Staten Island example fits with some of the other data that Silver, Yglesias, and others breeze over. Staten Island was Trump-central, while truly affluent neighborhoods voted for John Kasich. Even though his campaign was a joke by this point, Kasich did best against Trump in truly affluent New York suburbs, like Darien and Westport, Connecticut. Trump dominated with voters in "affluent" Maryland that were over 50 or had no college degree. He did best with people reporting less than $100,000 in total family income.
This is hilarious. Shouldn't have to point out why.
And there follows further ranting that I can't be bothered to read.*Actually part of Staten Island is working class but its also the part full of minorities.