Angus Deaton, co-author with Anne Case of a study of a rising mortality rate among white American working people, has found an interesting correlation.
He told Business Insider in an interview at the World Economics Forum in Davos that there is a 0.4 correlation between US counties with elevated mortality rates for white people and counties that voted for Trump.
“If you take county-by-county in the US, and you look at what we call deaths of despair — suicides, opioids and liver disease — that it correlates by 0.4 with votes for Trump. That’s a big correlation. There are 3,000 counties in the US. 0.4 with these things is a very strong relationship,” Deaton told us.
In stats, 1 is a perfect correlation and 0 is no correlation at all; 0.4 is a fairly strong relationship in a dataset that size. The stats suggest that Trump somehow tapped into white despair among voters.
There are caveats, of course.
“You can put almost anything in that picture, smoking, lack of exercise … but I do think there is a lot of malaise going on here. Whatever it is these people are unhappy, they’re left behind, some of their jobs have gone away, they’re worse off than their parents were, they’re worried about opportunities for their kids.”
Source: Business Insider
President Trump, in his inaugural address, promised to do something about people left behind—who, of course, aren’t all white. He presented an inspiring vision of Americans united by patriotism and achieving prosperity and safety for all.
I don’t see how he can do it, considering the number of wealthy plutocrats in his administration and his lack of constructive proposals other than raising tariffs, stopping unauthorized immigration and sending angry tweets to American manufacturers who ship jobs abroad.
These aren’t necessarily bad things to do. It’s just that these things will not be enough to rebuild American industry after so many years of hollowing out..
We’ll have to wait for his State of the Union address to see how he proposes to achieve his vision. I’m skeptical.
If Democrats expect to reverse their own political decline, they’ll have to come up with better proposals of their own, and make a serious fight for them. We’ll have to wait and see about that, too.
Credentialism and Corruption: Deaton on Opioids, Trump and What Does “Rural” Mean? by Lambert Strether for Naked Capitalism.
Interview with Angus Deaton, winner of Nobel, on white people dying and Trump voters by Jim Edwards for Business Insider.
Divide and Rule: Class Hate and the 2016 Election by Paul Street for Counterpunch.
Donald Trump’s presidency is going to be a disaster for the white working class by Dylan Matthews for Vox.