Women and people of color make up the majority of the Trump coalition

In all of my years remarking on interesting stats, none has shocked people more than the one in the headline. But it’s true! In fact, it’s obviously true. It would be wild if it weren’t true.

The Numbers

The main source for how various demographic groups voted is the Edison exit poll. This poll is relied upon by every major media outlet: NY Times, Washington Post, Fox, CNN, Wall Street Journal, etc. All of their exit poll reporting comes from this singular source.

Here is how the Edison exit poll reported the race and gender breakdown of support in the 2016 election:

The number underneath each race+gender grouping is that group’s share of the electorate. So, for instance, the 34% under “white men” means that 34% of all voters were white men. The 7% under “black women” means that 7% of all voters were black women. And so on.

If you multiply each group’s share by their percent support for Trump, you can determine how many of Trump’s points came from that group. So, for white men, you would multiply 34% by 62% to get 21.08 points, meaning that 21.08 points of Trump’s 46.21 points came from white men. The rest, 25.13 points, came from women and people of color (you can check this yourself by doing the exact same math as I detailed for white men on every other group in that graphic and adding the points together).

Put more clearly, according to the Edison exit poll, 45.6% of Trump voters were white men, while 54.4% were women and people of color.

Women and people of color make up the majority of both the Democratic and Republican parties. This should not be surprising since they make up the overwhelming majority of the US population.

The Significance

Whenever I read pieces like Frank Rich’s “No Sympathy for the Hillbilly,” my mind always wanders back to this statistic. At their best, these kinds of pieces say we should not care about Trump voters and, at their worst, they say we should actively wish them harm.

But do these authors actually mean this for all Trump voters, most of whom are women and people of color? Should we not care if a black Trump supporter (and there were some) gets harassed by a nationwide stop-and-frisk policy like the one Trump has said he supports? Should we not care if a woman Trump supporter (and there were lots) loses access to maternity care or contraception as seemed to be a definite possibility before the collapse of the AHCA? Is that really the position of these authors?

The answer of course is “no.” The liberal bent of these authors ensures that they would not wish (or be indifferent towards) gender-based oppression on the women who supported Trump. They also would not wish (or be indifferent towards) race-based oppression on the people of color who supported Trump. The only thing they feel comfortable doing is wishing (or being indifferent towards) class-based oppression on rednecks. I wonder why that is.

Addendum: White Working Class

The same exit poll also says that whites without a college degree were 34% of all voters and 66% of them went for Trump. This means they contributed 22.44 of Trump’s points, which is also a minority of his points. So, in addition to the above factoid, it’s also true that most of Trump’s voters are not white working class people. Should we also be indifferent to the non-WWC Trump supporters, i.e. most of the Trump supporters? Or still only the hill folk?

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