If there is one thing everyone should be able to agree on about the past seven months, it is that the white working class can no longer be described as “forgotten.” Beaten-down? Racist? Mistreated? Angry? Victimized? Sure. We have read and heard the white working class described in all of those ways. But the election of Donald Trump has ensured that we are discussing this group ad nauseam.
In a new book, White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, Joan C. Williams argues that much of the analysis of this class has been misguided and condescending. So too is the general cultural attitude toward the white working class from society’s more fortunate members. The result, Williams says, is a white working class increasingly isolated from the Democratic Party, with dangerous consequences for our politics.