The same white working-class voters who re-elected Obama four years ago did not cast their ballots for Clinton this year. These voters suffer from economic disadvantages even as they enjoy racial advantages. But it is impossible for them to notice these racial advantages if they live in rural areas where everyone around them is white. What they perceive instead is the cruel sense of being forgotten by the political class and condescended to by the cultural one.
While poor white voters are being scrutinized now, less attention has been paid to voters who are white and rich. White voters flocked to Trump by a wide margin, and he won a majority of voters who earn more than $50,000 a year, despite their relative economic safety. A majority of white women chose him, too, even though more than a dozen women have accused him of sexual assault. No, the top issue that drove Trump’s voters to the polls was not the economy — more voters concerned about that went to Clinton. It was immigration, an issue on which we’ve abandoned serious debate and become engulfed in sensational stories about rapists crossing the southern border or the pending imposition of Shariah law in the Midwest.
Laila Lalami, “Group Think”, The New York Times Magazine (27 November 2016), 16-17.