Trump Is So Awful Even the Rich are Voting Against Their Own Interests

Hillary Clinton has had a pretty good week, all things considered. Clinton’s appearance on Between Two Ferns was widely watched and well received, humanizing her in a millennial-friendly setting. She has refocused her campaign to be less about Trump’s weaknesses than on her agenda to improve Americans’ lives. Both of these should help shore up her weakness with millennial voters.

Another big help, if she can stay focused on it and get the press to cover it in more depth, is her proposal to increase the estate tax to 65%. It’s the sort of economic populist approach that the country needs, and that the voters Clinton needs to turn out will appreciate.

It could, in theory, come at the expense of the very wealthy and their adherents. But so far, Clinton is doing just fine on those fronts–in fact, for the first time in decades high-income voters are favoring the Democrat to enter the Oval Office:

Donald Trump is making high-income voters Democrats again. A new poll from Bloomberg Politics shows Hillary Clinton besting Trump among voters with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more by a margin of 46 to 42 percent.

If Clinton maintains that advantage through Election Day, it would mark a new milestone on the Democratic Party’s long path to conquering the upscale electorate. In exit polls of 2012, Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama among voters earning $100,000 and more by a ten-point margin. And no Democratic nominee has won that demographic since Bill Clinton’s reelection in 1996. Before that, the party hadn’t won the cohort for decades.

Now, there’s a problem if Democrats get used to these votes. A party dependent on the cosmopolitan rich will not survive long in a period of populist economic upheaval. But Clinton’s (and the Party’s in general) move to the more Sanders-style left shows that Democrats aren’t exactly sucking up to the vote of the wealthy elites–or at least, not as much as they used to in the darker days of the 1990s, Joe Lieberman and the Democratic Leadership Council.

It’s just that the Republican Party and Donald Trump in particular have gone so far off the deep end of the paranoid, socially conservative and anti-intellectual right wing that educated elites cannot see their way to supporting them, even if it means potentially paying higher taxes.

Of course, it’s possible that the wealthy understand how little will actually be getting done in a government where Clinton sits in the White House and Republicans control the House. Maybe they’re not really worried about their taxes going up.

Either way, though, it’s remarkable just how much support the Republican Party is losing from all corners. Even from the jet set.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.