Culture Wars/Current Controversies

2020 election results explode the identity politics narrative

By Erik London, World Socialist Web Site

An initial examination of the voting data in the 2020 presidential election exposes as false the racialist narrative of American politics that is relentlessly promoted by the Democratic Party. Several aspects of the election data are particularly significant in showing the predominance of socioeconomic factors in the outcome.

A comparison of the results of the 2016 and 2020 elections shows that the major factor that turned the election was the impact of the pandemic and the economic crisis on a substantial section of working class whites who cast their vote for Biden.

There was a substantial increase in turnout in the working class as well as sections of the lower-middle class hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. This helped Biden widen the margin of his popular vote victory, which is expected to rise to an estimated six or seven million votes—double the margin by which Clinton beat Trump in 2016. Over 66 percent of eligible voters cast votes this year, the highest turnout rate since 1900, before women had the right to vote. Turnout had not reached 60 percent since 1968, when it was 60.7 percent.

There was a pronounced increase of votes against Trump among men, white men and whites without a college degree. In states that were decimated by the coronavirus pandemic—including Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona—this shift among white men accounted for Biden flipping the state.

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