In the 2016 election, two broad shifts in demographic voting patterns occurred. First, working-class people swung to President Trump and the Republican Party. Second, coastal suburbanites shifted into the Democratic Party. There is every reason to believe that voting patterns among these two demographics will again decide the presidency in 2020. At least Democratic nominee Joe Biden seems to think so; since his Democratic primary win, Biden has made efforts to define himself as the candidate who will return America to normalcy, a message tailored to coastal suburbanites and subsequently, the nation’s elite. Biden has also made pitches to working-class people during his recent rallies, referencing his own working-class background as a guarantee that he will represent their interests in the White House. However, despite Biden’s constant allusions to his connection to the average American, Trump still remains the better candidate for both the working class and coastal suburbanite populations.
Trump has fought to secure economic parity for working-class people throughout his entire term, both before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, Trump fortified the American manufacturing sector, making the decision to replace the NAFTA trade deal with the USMCA. The North American Free Trade Agreement, which then-Senator Joe Biden voted in support of in 1993, eventually led to about one million working-class jobs going overseas. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, on the other hand, is likely to create over 170,000 new manufacturing and service jobs. Due to the fact that the USMCA requires the labor costs of all participating USMCA countries to be competitive relative to U.S. labor costs, the USMCA creates more incentives for companies to locate their production in America and provide jobs for working-class Americans. So while Biden participated in a deal that hurt working-class Americans, Trump negotiated a new agreement that protects their rights and improves their livelihoods. It should also be noted for clarity that the USMCA took effect in mid-2020, in the middle of the pandemic, and a corresponding upheaval of economic models. Therefore, working-class people have not yet experienced any of the benefits which will arise from the USMCA.
Moreover, in 2017, the Trump administration instituted corporate tax cuts, which Biden has vowed to repeal. These business-friendly tax cuts also present indirect benefits for working-class people, further incentivizing companies to produce their products in America, as the tax cuts make it cheaper to do so. More production in America means more jobs for working-class people. Finally, Trump instituted tariffs on certain products being imported into the country, including steel and aluminum. While he primarily implemented these tariffs to make the American economy more independent from strategic competitors like China, the economic policy had the added benefit of increasing the cost of overseas production, once again, encouraging domestic production and increasing job opportunities for working-class people.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump has continued to take actions that benefit working-class people. At the beginning of the pandemic, Trump pushed Congress to institute federal unemployment insurance payments that increased the state unemployment payouts by an additional $600 per week. Because the pandemic disproportionately resulted in job losses for low-income workers, it stands to reason that working-class people benefited the most from the president’s unemployment insurance increase. When Congress failed to renew the federal unemployment insurance increase in August, Trump signed an executive order for the unemployment insurance increase to continue at $300 per week. Trump also recently delayed payment of the federal payroll tax, which allows working-class people to take home more of their salary during this period of unprecedented economic uncertainty. As Trump has demonstrated a track record of helping working-class people, they would be wise to back his reelection.
Coastal suburbanites should also support Trump’s reelection. Coastal suburbanites are generally attracted to candidates who are “presidential,” comforting and charming, none of which Trump appears to possess and all of which Biden appears to possess on the surface. But very little will be comforting for suburban voters under a Biden presidency. For starters, Biden intends to raise taxes on people who earn $400,000 or more per year, a tax increase that will disproportionately affect many coastal suburbanites. And by virtue of residing on the coast, many of these individuals already pay enormous amounts of state income and property taxes, especially if they live in New York, New England or California.
Furthermore, Trump certainly puts a higher premium on public safety than Biden. In the wake of the urban violence which followed the murder of George Floyd in May, Trump was quick to denounce rioting — which threatens private property — and to call for the restoration of order. Trump continued to denounce all forms of violence throughout the summer. In sharp contrast, Biden only softly and vaguely condemned rioting, perhaps because some of the rioting was being done by Antifa, a far-left revolutionary group whose members are likely Biden voters. In fact, nearly two whole months passed (from early June to late July) during which Biden did not condemn the continuous, violent rioting. Similarly, as riots broke out and were sustained for over 90 days in Portland, Oregon, Biden again failed to forcefully condemn these events until late August. Additionally, during the Democratic National Convention, neither Biden nor anyone else from his party mentioned or condemned rioting. Do coastal suburbanites, many of whom represent the nation’s elite, want a president who is willing to stand up for public safety and private property? Or do they want a president who may ignore the existence of rioting and possibly allow it to infiltrate suburbia? The answer should be obvious.