In noting that 55% of Donald Trump’s supporters are working class whites, the Wall Street Journal states the obvious:
Although the Trump phenomenon has surprised nearly everyone, it becomes intelligible against the backdrop of recent American history. For decades, white working-class men have been the most volatile element in the American electorate. Changes in the economy have hit them hard, and administrations of both political parties have done little to protect or compensate them. They have lost status in our society and even in their own families, many of which have crumbled. Practitioners of identity politics often have fingered them as the adversary, and upscale environmentalists have been all too willing to ignore their economic concerns.
. . . But now working-class voters are in full revolt against policies—trade treaties, immigration reform and crony capitalism, among others—that they see as inimical to their interests. Establishment Republicans, caught flat-footed, are left hoping that this is all a bad dream from which their party will awake in time to choose a nominee who shares their economic views.
It’s not surprising that a number of bloggers and commentators, in their remarks about increased mortality rates for working class whites, have compared those trends with the fate of Russians following the collapse of the Soviet Union and American Indians.