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Twilight of the Blue-Collar Democrat


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City Journal

Following the Democratic Party’s widespread losses in last week’s election, President Joe Biden declared that passage of the infrastructure bill in the House of Representatives “is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.” Though polling indicates that Americans support that bill—not the costly and expansive “Build Back Better” act—voters admonished Biden and his party’s economic stewardship in down-ballot races.

Rejection of the Democrats’ progressive platform, with its identity-politics fixations, was particularly evident among blue-collar voters, who once made up the party’s electoral base. Biden spent his political career courting these voters—and promoting his “scrappyScranton roots—with Kennedy-era platitudes befitting an Edwin O’Connor novel. But last Tuesday showed that the Democrats’ working-class constituency has finished its years’ long last hurrah. The divorce was especially acute in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where Democratic affiliation was once synonymous with economic advancement in working-class communities. Blue-collar voters are turning to the Republican Party, further dampening Democrats’ hopes for next year’s midterms.

In New Jersey, the narrow victory of Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy, hailed as America’s “most progressive governor” by The Nation, signals trouble ahead for Democrats. Murphy even underperformed among suburban voters, who have trended blue since the Chris Christie years. But it was Republicans’ South Jersey pickups that proved most surprising.:snip:

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