President Donald Trump staked his successful claim to the U.S. presidency with his appeal to the discontents of blue-collar America — i.e., non-college-educated Americans who have perhaps been the hardest hit by globalization and technological change.
The same voters are the target of some of Trump’s Democratic 2020 challengers, most notably former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden, for instance, launched his campaign in a Pennsylvania union hall, declaring himself to be “a union man, period.”
Both Biden and Trump are right to focus their attentions on this group of Americans, whose fortunes have not risen with the overall economy but stagnated or even fallen. Without the benefit of higher education, working class Americans have been unable to compete for jobs demanding specialized technical skills, while the places they live have been hollowed out by shifts in global supply chains and the death of low-skilled manufacturing. So long as these workers feel left out of the economic mainstream, they will remain a potent political force, including in the upcoming 2020 election.
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