Race again loomed large in the 2014 elections. The CNN exit polls showed that Whites of all age groups, both sexes, and all social classes voted Republican. White males: 64%-33%: White women: 56%-42% (likely much higher for married White women if past trends held); Whites 18–29: 54-43%. Whites without a college education voted 61–31 for Republican House candidates. (These are underestimates because voters counted as White include groups, such as Jews and Middle Easterners, who neither identify or vote like Whites.)
As Thomas Edsall notes,
It has not escaped the notice of political analysts that 72 percent of whites without college degrees — a rough proxy for what we used to call the white working class — believe that “the U.S. economic system generally favors the wealthy.” Or that on Nov. 4, these same men and women voted for Republican House candidates by a 61-31 margin.
Similarly, the overwhelmingly white electorates of Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota voted decisively in referendums to raise the minimum wage while simultaneously voting for Republicans, whose party has adamantly rejected legislation to raise the minimum wage. (“The Demise of the White Democratic Voter”)
Whites are deserting the Democratic Party, but that doesn’t mean they advocate plutocratic policies traditionally associated with Republicans. They are voting Republican even though Democrats are generally seen as the party of the non-wealthy and are far more likely to advocate policies like minimum wage hikes.
And Obamacare. The problem with Obamacare from the standpoint of Whites is that they are well aware that a disproportionate share of the costs will be borne by people like them, while a disproportionate share of the benefits will go to poor non-Whites. Edsall again:
Obamacare shifts health care benefits and tax burdens from upper-income Americans to lower-income Americans, and from largely white constituencies to beneficiaries disproportionately made up of racial and ethnic minorities.
So once again we come up against biological realities — that people are less likely to contribute to public goods that will disproportionately benefit people unlike themselves. This is a well-known cost of multiculturalism. Why should White voters want a law they know will benefit non-Whites far more than themselves? In fact, immigrants are major beneficiaries of Obamacare, accounting for 42% of the growth of Medicaid since 2011.
Race is never part of the explicit rhetoric of White opposition to policies that disproportionately benefit non-Whites — it tends to be expressed as opposition to the federal government, the welfare state, taxation, and the desire for better schools, or even perceived moral issues like abortion and homosexuality. But at the implicit level, the aversion to contributing to public goods for non-Whites is the overriding motivation for opposition to Obamacare. When Republicans shut down the US government over Obamacare, it was widely perceived as motivated by Whites concerned that poor non-Whites would disproportionately benefit from the law, while it would increase taxes on Whites. Read more