The data from the 2018 General Social Survey are now available, and they include questions on voting in the 2016 election. The GSS is the gold standard for social science research, especially in getting a representative view of the population.
These gold-standard data bear out the impressions and the fuzzier data from exit polls regarding Trump's unique appeal in 2016 -- i.e., compared to Romney -- with the white working class, no matter how it's measured (education, income, self-described class label), with urban voters (except for the biggest shithole cities), with liberals and moderates, and with Democrats and Independents.
I won't rehash those findings here, since they are already well known. The flipping of urban areas is not so well known, but I already wrote the definitive post on that topic (with maps) back in 2016. His flipping of the Rust Belt states and the one district in Maine is still commonly attributed to the rural vote -- but nobody lives there, certainly not in heavily populated industrial states, so even if rural people did vote more for Trump than Romney, that would not have been enough to make a difference.
It was Trump's surge in urban areas -- where a whole lot more people live -- that flipped those states. These were second or third-tier cities (the forgotten man and the forgotten woman) rather than the shiny, smug, affluent first-tier cities, who voted even less for Trump than Romney. Bunch of striver-tards.
The major political group division today is rural vs. urban, so this dimension will show the most cognitive dissonance. Voters may cross other political lines, but not urban vs. rural. People can believe that white working-class people voted Republican -- smearing them as working-class bigots, or bla bla bla. But they can absolutely not fathom that legions of urban dwellers defected to a Republican after voting for Obama twice.
There's also the class difference: yuppies are happy to smear working-class whites for voting Trump, because that does not implicate themselves. But if they had to blame urban dwellers, that would indict their own in-group, the one that they identify the most forcefully with (supposedly cosmopolitan urbanites).
Well, here's another major finding that explodes the clueless punditry on the hot-button issue of immigration and economic nationalism. The GSS shows that the surging white vote for Trump came from Ellis Island ethnic groups, not from the founding stock. That had to have been true, given which states, which counties, and which party members Trump managed to flip. There's not a lot of founding stock in Staten Island, Wilkes-Barre PA, the Detroit or Cleveland metro areas, and all those other Rust Belt towns that drew the Ellis Island immigrants during their industrial revolution heyday.
Among whites, those whose ancestry is from England & Wales voted 55% for Romney, and 53% for Trump -- if anything, a slight decline percentage-wise, and given how large their total numbers are in the population, that amounts to a fairly big loss in total voters. He must have made up for it with other ethnic groups.
He did somewhat better with smaller founding stock groups like the French (French and French Canadians), going from 37% for Romney to 43% for Trump -- but still losing to Clinton.
The one partially founding stock group who surged for Trump were the Scots, who voted 53% for Romney and 64% for Trump. However, the Scotch-Irish form a decent chunk of those who claim Scottish descent in the US, and although they were present in large numbers from before the Revolution and into the closed-borders Jeffersonian period, they also joined the Ellis Islanders during the open-borders era of the Jackson, Lincoln, and most of the McKinley periods.
Turning to clear Ellis Island groups, we see a surge for Trump, particularly among the largest groups:
The Irish voted 45% for Romney, 57% for Trump.
Italians voted 40% for Romney, 55% for Trump.
The Germans voted 50% for Romney, 55% for Trump.
Scandinavians* voted 45% for Romney (who lost them), 49% for Trump (beating Clinton's 39%).
The Slavs** voted 41% for Romney, 45% for Trump (tying with Clinton).
All these decades and centuries later, there is still a big East vs. West European split, including immigrants to the US who have supposedly been assimilated into the melting pot. Slavs have assimilated less, and among Ellis Island descendants they are the most in favor of immigration. They are also the one group of Europeans who we continue to import, since they're still poor and can be exploited as cheap labor by the employer class.
The one exception among Ellis Islanders were the Jews (those raised Jewish), who voted 24% for Romney, and just 16% for Trump. That change is likely a product of their higher class status and residence in the largest cities, compared to working-class dwellers of 3rd-tier cities in the other Ellis Island groups. It makes it all the more hilarious that Trump and the GOP are shilling so hard for Israeli interests, and trying to paint the Democrats as the real anti-Semites. That's obviously for the wealthy AIPAC-connected donors, and not Jewish voters themselves.
To this wave of defection by Ellis Islanders to the candidate who took a hard line against immigration and promoted economic nationalism, the clueless libs and leftoids wag their finger, scolding them about remembering when "y'all were the poor immigrants in this country," and how others should be able to enjoy that today.
"Ey-oh, oh-ey -- that was then, and this is now. America barely had anybody in it when our guy, Christopher Columbus, discovered it. Now? -- this country is fuckin' FULL. Sorry, lots of luck to ya, but the rest of the world AIN'T OUR PROBLEM."
That's what the dumb liberal airheads don't get about importing cheap labor (the only form of immigration) -- the initial immigrants strike it rich, compared to where they're from, but after wave after wave after wave of immigrants, the initial ones have their supposedly higher standard of living eroded by all the others desperately trying to cash in on the bubble while it's still inflating.
But no boom avoids ending in a bust. At some point, new immigrants will see no improvement to their standard of living by moving countries -- because that niche has already been filled up by waves of earlier immigrants -- and they decide against immigrating.
During the inflation of a cheap labor bubble, it's in the material interests of each wave of immigrants to want the borders slammed shut right after they themselves have gotten in. Why face even more competition in the labor market than already exists? (That's true for native workers, too, of course.) But as poorly rooted immigrants, they lack the collective organizing power to make that happen.
However, after these immigrants have been assimilated into the mainstream, it is still in their interests to want the borders kept shut, only now they have greater civic engagement and organization. Now they can do something collectively to make that happen. It starts with voting, and we just saw the Ellis Islanders make a decisive shift against open borders and cheap labor -- their people have been there, done that, and don't want to live in clapboard tenements while slaving away for pennies a day like their ancestors.
But it could escalate far more from there. With wave after wave of newer immigrants during the Reagan era, the old Ellis Island immigrants have an interest in distinguishing themselves -- they're the good, old, assimilated immigrants, not these bad, new, unassimilated immigrants. What do they think about the new ones assimilating just like their ancestors did?
"Ey-oh, oh-ey, these ain't exactly Irish and Italians who are coming into the country these days, y'know what I mean? Just take a look. Plain as day."
The Italians swung more than the other groups probably because their enclave in the Mid-Atlantic has been so swamped by Muslims, which will make Italian-American ethnogenesis far more hardened than for other Ellis Island groups who find themselves living next to Mexicans, for instance. At least the Mexicans are some kind of Christians. Religious divides make for incredibly heightened "Us vs. Them" contests over resources. In the Mid-Atlantic Italian-American mind, they're the policemen and firefighters who gave their lives during an Islamic attack on 9/11, and many smaller-scale ones since then.
So far, you haven't seen the events necessary to create that level of between-group hostility among Somalis and Swedes in Minnesota, or Irish and Indians in Chicago. But that's only a matter of degree, since the Swedes and Irish shifted substantially toward Trump's 2016 platform, just not quite so much as the Italians did.
What are the Bernie people and other would-be realigners going to do to reassure these Ellis Island defectors and bring them into a mass-politics coalition that can move on from Reaganism into something different?
First, any negative reference to "white people" will blow up in their faces. The clueless libs think they're dunking only on the rural hillbillies and genteel WASPs in red states when they drone on and on about "white people". But a large chunk of assimilated Ellis Islanders in blue-state cities take offense to that, too, not just the founding stock. And far from brushing it off as meaningless banter, they take the threat of open borders very seriously. They've already taken one election hostage to get their legitimate grievances across to the callous elites -- who says they can't do so again?
Economic populists on the Left must prioritize class and economics over race and other boutique identity issues, and in a way that intersects with the immigration issue. Their policy can be that while they welcome people of all backgrounds, we first and foremost have to protect our own workers, so there will be no immigration that serves as a cheap labor pipeline to the rich employer class. Most people recognize that just about all immigrants are poorer than natives, so they can connect the dots on their own that such an economics-only policy will in fact reduce immigration by over 90%. Anxiety alleviated!
But given how poorly the entire Left has understood the 2016 election, I don't expect them to learn any lessons here either, not now anyway. They are still committed to the cognitive dissonance-reducing view that an army of Anglo rednecks rose up out of rural areas to swing cities, counties, and states that haven't voted Republican in decades.
They can't admit how much they've lost from their urban coalition, since "urbanite" is their primary identity badge, nor will they be able to admit how much they've lost from their Ellis Islander coalition, for the same reason (many on the Left are Ellis Islanders).
I think it will take another devastating loss in 2020 to wake up the opposition to just how bitterly hated their platform is. Nobody wants Reaganism anymore, so the real issue is what replaces it -- and the answer is not, "Reaganism, but woke" or even worse, "Reaganism, but woke and enforced by commissars".
Leave it to the neolibs and the radlibs to alienate even the Ellis Islanders. The opposition has to radically change its tune by shutting up about identity, and focus only on mass economics, or it will deliver another term of moribund Reaganism.
* Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish combined to boost sample size
** Czechoslovakians, Hungarians, Poles, Russians, Lithuanians, Yugoslavians, Romanians, and Other Europeans, who did not identify Jewish as the religion they were raised in
GSS variables: pres16, pres12, race, ethnic, relig16