Trump Winning Blue-Collars, Lagging Among College Grads

AP Photo/Danny Johnston
AP Photo/Danny Johnston

Donald Trump is building a giant lead among the GOP’s huge group of white, working-class voters, but is lagging among the equally important bloc of college-educated men and women, according to a new analysis by National Journal.

“Trump’s performance among col­lege-edu­cated Re­pub­lic­ans wasn’t nearly as strong [and] … Trump garnered the least support from White women with at least a four-year college degree,” said the Sept. 11 analysis by Ronald Brownstein.

National and state polls shows that Trump has first-choice support from roughly 34 percent of non-college white Republicans, but only from about 21 percent of white, GOP-voting college graduates.

But that relative weakness among college voters may well be overcome by the same dollars-and-cents immigration issue which is being used by the ideologically flexible Trump to show his aggressive confidence in Americans. “Trump has the potential to see a substantial bounce with college-educated GOP voters once discussion turns to federal policies that import university-trained foreign workers,” one Hill staffer says.

Currently, U.S.-based companies employ at least 600,000 foreign graduates on various types of multi-year guest-worker visas.

Trump wants to reduce that college-grad inflow, while “the two candidates widely believed to be the establishment’s best hope — Jeb [Bush] and [Sen. Marco] Rubio — both favor very large increases in the importation of university trained workers,” the staffer said.

Under Jeb Bush’s economic plan, young and middle-aged American college-grads would be left on the sidelines because companies would import larger numbers of federally-subsidized, lower-wage foreign college grads. That greater inflow would spur economic growth by slashing the salaries of American middle-class professionals and boosting Wall Street profits. Foreign grads now accept lower wages because they hope to get a huge reward from the federal government — citizenship — after a few years of work.

“We have to be young, aspirational and dynamic again,” Bush said in February, effectively dismissing young Americans as not young, not aspirational and not dynamic.

Bush promised to double today’s slow economic growth rate up to 4 percent, via tax cuts and a greater inflow of foreign graduates. “We ought to be growing the economic pie, and growing it at the pace like the 1980s… there’s going to be opportunities for all,” Bush claimed, without saying if Americans’ salaries would rise or fall under his mass-immigration plan.

One of Bush’s advisors summarized his plan, saying “Tax reform is not enough. We need pro-growth immigration reform to boost the lagging growth of the labor force [and] we need entitlement reform for welfare, food stamps and disability, so… we incentivize people to rejoin the labor force.”

2016 candidate Sen. Marco Rubio is also pushing Bush-like graduate-importation plan. He sponsors a Senate bill, that would allow an unlimited number of foreigners graduates to get jobs in America, if they first get an extra one-year degree at an American college.

In contrast, Trump’s labor-supply plan sharply restricts the current H-1B program that allows companies to employ at least 500,000 lower-wage foreign college graduates in many Fortune 500 workplaces and in many careers — engineering, business, design, healthcare, computers — around the country.

Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs. We graduate two times more Americans with STEM degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed [college graduates] native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas.This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program.

His plan would also push companies to hire Americans before foreigners.

Requirement to hire American workers first. Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need to companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS.

His policies also aim to non-college-educated Americans.

Immigration moderation. Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers. This will help reverse women’s plummeting workplace participation rate, grow wages, and allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.

Trump is already using his reform plan to hammer Rubio for his plan to sideline American graduates in favor of major companies, such as Facebook. “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities,” he wrote in his plan.


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