Working-Class Men Have Lost Nearly $20,000 Over the Past 40 Years

Tom Edsall writes today that, contrary to popular opinion, the surge of whites into the Republican Party has been led mostly by folks without college degrees but with high incomes:

Low-income whites without college degrees have moved to the Republican Party, but because they frequently hold liberal economic views — that is, they support redistributionist measures from which they benefit — they are conflicted in their partisan allegiance.

It’s not hard to see why this is the case, especially for men:

College-educated men haven’t been doing great: their incomes have been treading water for the past 40 years. But men with only a high-school diploma have simply cratered: their incomes have dropped by nearly $20,000 since 1973. Trump appeals to the white segment of this group with his racial demagoguery because he has no real economic message for them and neither do Democrats.

The white working class may not be essential to Democrats these days, but it’s unquestionably a group that has suffered a lot in recent decades and would be receptive to a genuinely populist economic appeal—including, but not limited to, a truly full-throated commitment to unionization. It’s no wonder that Elizabeth Warren is making the inroads that she is.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.