Monday, August 01, 2016

Trump's Success Explained, Part 2

As we learned last week, 99 percent of new jobs created since 2010 have been filled by people with college degrees or at least some college, and Donald Trump is more popular with non-college-educated voters than with college-educated voters.

If you've been paying attention during the campaign, you know that another profile of Trump supporters is that they're white men. That being the case, consider this chart from Kevin Drum:

White men, alone among the ethnic groups and genders charted, have had a net loss in income over the past 40 years.

For years, all the smart guys have been saying that education is the key to "getting ahead" during the technological revolution. And they've been right. So our efforts have concentrated on education: Common Core, charter schools, and the like. And the smart guys have sat back and patted themselves on the back for being so right.

But there's a problem they didn't address: a huge part of the population ain't good at book larnin'. They're smart, but not in that way. Emily's late father-in-law didn't finish high school, but he could take an automobile apart and put it back together when he was a teenager. In World War II, he kept his Army unit's trucks on the road. When the war was over he took classes in electricity and got a job at a plant where he learned about something called metal spinning, a high-skill industry that shapes metal into Weber grills and rocket nose cones. He moved from shop to shop to learn the secrets of the metal spinning masters, and they did keep secrets.

Finally, he started his own business which he and his wife grew into a shop with 60 employees and millions of dollars worth of specialized machinery.

The business is still operating today, but many of its competitors have closed their doors and sold their machinery to China, where much of the metal spun products we buy is now made.

We have shipped our no-college-needed jobs overseas. What's going to happen to these guys?

One thing that's going to happen is that some are going to get angry about it, and look for someone to blame. And they'll look for a leader who will focus their anger. Like Donald Trump.

Or worse.

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