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10/14/19

More evidence of economic factors driving the Trump vote

The next election is only a year away, and yet we are still trying to understand the last one - and in particular, the roles that economic drivers and racism played in Trump's victory. A new analysis over at Policy Tensor has a stark warning for Democrats:
Democrats in particular need to get their act together...In order to do so, they must abandon the idea that racism is the key to 2016. It is not. Widespread despair is the key to 2016.
The strongest predictors of whether a given county swings for Trump, PT argues, are a low college graduation rate; declining population growth; and growth in deaths due to drug overdoses. Crucially, PT focuses on county level data rather than surveys of individuals, since "such surveys de-situate people" from their communities.

If this sounds familiar, it's because Jonathan Rothwell observed the importance of geography in understanding the Trump vote all the way back in August 2016:
At the individual level, there was little clear evidence that economic hardship predicts support for Trump, in that higher household incomes tend to predict higher Trump support. Yet, at the [commuting zone] level, two alternative measures of living standards—health and intergenerational mobility—provide support for the idea that Trump supporters are less prosperous than others.
This study, I noted at the time, was widely misunderstood as dismissing a role for economic drivers in Trump's victory; and yet here we are again, with another analysis independently arriving at a similar conclusion several years later.