Over the last 40 years, white males have shifted their allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party and it has more to do with economics than politics, says Harland Prechel, a professor of political and economic sociology at Texas A&M University.
Prechel says in the 1960s, upon graduation from high school, most white males in the U.S. were assured of a job in the expanding post-WWII economy either in the growing blue-collar or white-collar labor markets.
“The OPEC oil price increases in the 1970s and the increase in global competition in subsequent years resulted in a decline in the previously stable manufacturing sector and the U.S. economy has not recovered from it,” he asserts. “As a result, jobs disappeared in the manufacturing sector and wages have grown at a much slower pace in the economy as a whole.”
Prechel says although economic growth has generally been faster during Democratic Administrations, “the working and middle classes appear to feel abandoned by the Democratic Party. Democrats have also been more supportive of women and minorities who compete for jobs that were historically filled by white males.”
And, like in the economic downturn in the early 1980s when Ronald Reagan was running for the presidency, Prechel notes many white males and members of the working and middle classes in general appear to be willing to support a candidate that advocates change and purports to create opportunities for them.