Gallup asks people to rate their current lives on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is the worst possible life they could be living and 10 is the best. Crucially, they also ask people to imagine what their lives will look like five years in the future.Here's the problem the Post doesn't see. If you look at discrimination in the workplace '30 or 40 years ago' -- that is, reaching all the way back to the mid-70s -- you can see that almost all of the good for poor minorities to be had from ending workplace discrimination has been had. Forty years ago the blue-collar economy was strong enough that it was willing to pay a premium for its racism. Today, it's quite common here in Georgia for me to see 'help wanted' signs printed only in Spanish. Corporations have learned to compete with each other through globalization, importing foreign workers, and yes, through hiring American minorities who live in poorer neighborhoods (and who thus have lower income requirements, and can take lower wages).
Among the poor, whites are the demographic group least likely to imagine a better future for themselves, Graham found. Poor Hispanics were about 30 percent more likely to imagine a better future than poor whites. The difference for poor blacks was even larger: They were nearly three times as likely to imagine a better future than poor whites.
The difference in optimism between poor blacks and poor whites is nearly as big as the difference between the poor and the middle class overall: "The average score of poor blacks is large enough to eliminate the difference in optimism about the future between being poor and being middle class (e.g. removing the large negative effect of poverty)," Graham found....
The past 30 or 40 years have seen striking economic and health gains for non-white families -- in part, this is a result of the rolling back of discriminatory policies that kept minorities locked out of middle-class life. But working-class whites may look back and see no similar pattern of gains, in part because they weren't as broadly discriminated against in the first place.
Part of the optimism gap is indeed because of "a shrinking pie of good jobs for low-skill/blue collar workers," Graham said in an email. "Whites used to have real advantages (some via discrimination) that they no longer have ... they are looking at downward mobility or threats of it, while poor blacks and Hispanics are comparing themselves to parents who were worse off than they."
This 'ending of racism' is something corporations have congratulated themselves about quite loudly, preferring to see it as a kind of personal enlightenment. Some of it was that: Coca-Cola markets its role in making Atlanta 'the City too Busy to Hate' back in the Civil Rights era, and they deserve the credit. But much of what has happened since the mid-70s has been done not for moral reasons but because the end of corporate racism meant the opening of whole new fields of action for depressing blue-collar wages.
For now it looks like poor blacks and poor Latinos are on the way up, but the truth is that workers of their class are on the way down. It used to be a worker could raise a family. Then it was true that a married couple could raise families if they both worked. Then it was true that probably only one of them could find work, so it was better if it was the mother raising the kids alone -- then she could at least draw welfare. Now it's lucky, in much of what used to be blue-collar American communities, if either of them can find work.
What all that means is that the despair in poor white communities today is the despair of poor black, Latino, and Asian communities tomorrow. For now it looks rosy only because the last 40 years have been a wealth transfer from poor whites to poor minorities. But the game is grinding to a close: poor whites don't have much left to lose. Over time, the same forces that have been spiritually crushing the poor white community will destroy the hopes of other American poor as well.
This is something that Trump and Sanders both seem to grasp, although they have very different plans for approaching it. Maybe neither plan was much good, or was much of a plan, but they were both at least aware of the problem. The Clinton camp denies that the problem exists.
And no wonder. As proven by her actions while Secretary of State with regard to donations to her foundation, the Clinton camp is government for the highest bidder. The highest bidder can be Russian as readily as American. She is the favorite of the Davos crowd, not just the candidate of Wall Street. She personally negotiated the TPP that she now pretends to oppose, just as her husband is the #1 name associated with NAFTA.
For now, the Democratic machine's racially coded language is masking this reality. The coming pain is the dashing of the rising hopes of American minorities. They will be leveled with poor white Americans in a way they didn't expect: by seeing their hopes and dreams equally diminished.
Clinton gave a speech about the inequality between rich and poor the other day, while wearing a twelve-thousand dollar jacket.
This last week, I've read tons about how big a racist Donald Trump is. Maybe he is. But he's not the one profiting from racism. These racially coded appeals are helping a band of thieves swipe an election, so they can sell the power of their office to the highest bidders.