I have not commented on the recent Tom Edsall piece on the Democrats abandoning the white working class but Michael Barone does so here. An interesting nugget in that article is that Obama won a greater share of the vote than all but three Democratic Presidents but:
[H]e did it without capturing the vast middle of the electorate. He won with a top-and-bottom coalition, carrying voters with incomes over $200,000 and under $50,000 and losing those in between. He carried voters with graduate school degrees and those with no high school diplomas and ran only even with the others.
What this means is President Obama is uniquely situated to benefit from both those in Occupy Wall Street and, well, Wall Street. By running up huge numbers in the under $50,000 a year bracket, and bringing in donations and support from the highly influential over $200,000 demographic he does not need to actually win the broad middle class upon which most Presidents have had to rely for victory. This means that when income and wealth discrepancy’s become greater Obama wins. Further, when the middle class shrinks (to be fair) by either increasing the wealthy or the poor Obama wins.
Now, obviously he is going to get many votes from the broad middle class but that is not where his margin of victory lies. A question for Democrats is do they want to be, and can America afford to have, a political party that wins specifically by running up large totals in those alienated from American life by poverty and insulated from it by wealth? It seems to me that all past Democratic Presidents would emphatically say no. How about this one?