Looking under the hood of the 2020 election results

What all of this suggests to me is that virtually none of the categories we have created for making sense of American politics are of much value, except as rhetorical tools for partisans. (They also make my job a lot easier.) Still, I think it is possible to see certain broad trends. One is that whatever was the matter with Kansas is still wrong. Even though rural Americans are happy to vote on the basis of issues like health care in gubernatorial elections, as they did in Kentucky in 2018, they are still mostly indifferent to what the Democrats have to offer them if the brutal GOP alternative is reduced social services but more take-home pay. (This is also why they were indifferent to, or, more likely, unaware of the corporate welfare in the CARES Act: a check is a check.)

Another is that Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign about our great suburbs was misplaced. Democrats are becoming what their opponents were once caricatured as: the party of affluent high-income voters, of people who like the idea of not being racist or sexist but who also think they have earned their high-performing retirement accounts and don’t want any of the feel-good talk about confronting climate change to interfere. The fact that they continue to perform well with minority voters in urban America does not change the reality of who is in charge and in what direction shifts are occurring.