Rhetoric like “ Hillary was a complete non-starter for the working class“ and “given the importance of the blue collar vote“ ignores an important point – which is that not all working-class people who are white. And although I don’t have data to offer (none of the exit polls I’ve seen have broken down data by income and race together), it seems very likely that Trump lost badly among non-white working-class voters. (75% of non-white voters without college degrees voted for Hillary). (Source).
The same exit poll indicates that Clinton won among voters with less than $49,000 a year incomes – and her strongest group was those with incomes less than $30,000 a year. Trump won among all economic groups over $50,000 a year. (Possibly a lot of that is because people of color are more highly concentrated among lower income voters).
US median income is about $52,000, btw; so it’s basically accurate to say that Hillary Clinton won a majority of voters with below-average incomes, while Trump won a majority of voters with above-average incomes.
At first glance, Trump’s election seems to have been rooted more in race than in class:
• White voters, who make up 69% of the total, voted 58% for Trump and 37% for Clinton. Non-white voters, who make up 31% of the electorate, voted 74% for Clinton and 21% for Trump.
• White men opted 63% for Trump and 31% for Clinton; white women voted 53% for Trump and 43% for Clinton.
• Among non-college-educated whites, 67% voted for Trump – 72% of men and 62% of women.
• Among college-educated whites, 45% voted for Clinton – 39% of men and 51% of women (the only white demographic represented in the poll where the former secretary of state came out on top). But 54% of male college graduates voted for Trump, as did 45% of female college graduates.
• More 18- to 29-year-old whites voted for Trump (48%) than Clinton (43%).
I think that “working class” and “blue collar” are in effect code; at least when discussing voters, it’s a word people when they mean “white.” Or if that’s not their intention, it’s certainly the effect.