White voters fretting over the economy put Donald Trump in the White House because Democrats turned their back on working class voters, pundits declared after Election Day. Even Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, put the blame on Democrats for failing to reach out to white voters.
"I come from the white working class, and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from," Sanders tweeted Monday.
The U.S. economy grew 15 percent under President Barack Obama and employment is about 7 percent higher than when he took office. But even amid a sluggish economic recovery, white people saw their income go up under Obama. They also still outearned Hispanics and African-Americans by signficant margins.
The median income for white head of households was $60,109 in 2015, up from $57,291, the first year Obama took office. Before the global economic crash, whites earned a median income of $59,575 in 2007, according to Census data.
Hispanics also saw their income go up under Obama. The median income for Latino head of households was $45,148 in 2015, up from $42,022 in 2009.
African-Americans remained the least well-off under the Obama administration, but they, too, saw somewhat of a recovery. The median income for Latino head of households was $37,211 in 2015, up from $36,179 in 2009.
Still, roughly two-thirds of Americans said they were anxious about the economy in the days before Tuesday's election, and for white Americans, Trump was a source of hope. White voters and high-income overwhelmingly backed Trump, while low-income and black and Latino voters largely supported Clinton.
"They feel like he is taking on the bully. Who is the bully? The economy, the macro-economy, immigration, trade," William Rodgers, an economist at Rutgers University in New Jersery, told Reuters.
White voters complained the global economy had made it harder for them to earn a living in recent years. White male workers without a college degree saw their median incomes drop by about 14 percent between 2007 and 2014.
"It's not just the political system that's rigged, it's the whole economy," Trump told supporters in New York in June. "It's rigged against you, the American people."
As income improved in 2015, white voters still sought change. Trump promised to create 25 million jobs and boost growth to 3.5 percent per year on average.
"Trump's victory doesn't seem to be linked to any recent declines in people's economic circumstances. The economy has been getting better over the past four years. Median incomes have risen. The unemployment rate has plummeted including in regions won by Trump," the Washinton Post wrote. "Trump, on some level, understood the importance of making members of the white working class feel as though they were being heard. He tapped into deeper, slower-moving resentments."