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Why Those White Working Class Votes Still Matter

Joe Biden has reason to be proud; in the last 107 years, only three American presidential nominees have managed to defeat an elected, incumbent president who was seeking a second term. Let history show that the winning trio were all politically gifted leaders who became successful presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

That is fairly awesome company for Regular Joe to be joining. But Democrats already impatiently waiting for "Hail to the Chief" to be played for one of their own would be wise to confront a sobering reality from the Nov. 3 returns: White, working-class men who represent 1 out of 3 presidential voters and who formed the electoral backbone of the winning coalitions that elected FDR, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy preferred Republican Donald Trump, now of Mar-a-Lago, Florida, over Joe Biden, a son of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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New Study Reveals Crucial Element Of Trump’s Base

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Much has been written about President Donald Trump’s appeal among downscale white voters who live in the American Rust Belt. One of the most famous lines of Trump’s 2016 campaign was “I love the poorly educated,” and he continues to enjoy strong support among white males without a college degree.

But New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall stresses that there is one group that the media often overlook when analyzing Trump’s base of support: whites who have a higher income but lack a college degree.

The phrase “downscale whites” has often been used in connection with Trump’s base. But Edsall, analyzing a recent report from political scientists Herbert Kitschelt and Philipp Rehm, stresses that it is quite possible for whites who never went to college to have a higher income — not wealthy, but comfortably middle class.

And those who fit that description are an important part of Trump’s base.

“Perhaps most significant, Kitschelt and Rehm found that the common assumption that the contemporary Republican Party has become crucially dependent on the white working class — defined as whites without college degrees — is overly simplistic,” Edsall explains. “Instead, Kitschelt and Rehm find that the surge of whites into the Republican Party has been led by whites with relatively high incomes.”

And those higher-income whites, Edsall stresses, don’t necessarily have college degrees.

“High-income whites without college degrees were swing voters 60 years ago, pursued by both parties,” Edsall notes. “Now, they are rock-ribbed Republicans.”

In an e-mail, Kitschelt told Edsall, “Unlike much of the current debate, the ‘white working class’ — concentrated in the low-education/low-income sector of the white population — is not the category that has most ardently realigned toward Republicans. It’s higher income/low-education whites who are currently still doing well, but fear that in the Knowledge Society, their life chances are shrinking as high education becomes increasingly the ticket to economic and social success.”

Nonetheless, Edsall notes, low-income whites without college degrees are still an important part of Trump’s base.

“In the 1950s and ‘60s,” Edsall recalls, “low-income whites without degrees formed the base of the Democratic Party. Now, this group leans Republican.”

Meanwhile, Edsall reports, another demographic has become increasingly important to the Democratic Party: whites who are college-educated but low-income. That demographic was almost unheard of 60 or 70 years ago, when a college degree practically guaranteed a decent income.

“Two generations ago, there were almost no low-income whites with college degrees, a group that made up 1.5 percent of white voters in 1952,” Edsall observes. “These voters were a swing bloc without firm commitment to either party. By 2016, this constituency had grown to form 14.3 percent of all voters. They have, in turn, become the most loyal white Democratic constituency.”

Looking ahead to 2020, Edsall asserts that the next presidential race “may well prove to be a base-vs.-base election.” But he quickly adds that “the outcome may lie in the hands of the substantial proportion of the electorate that is undecided: 7 percent, according to Pew.”

Data Show Most Trump Voters Were Middle Income, Not ‘Working Class’

In the months since Donald Trump’s stunning presidential victory, media outlets have obsessed over his voters—who they are and what their motivations might have been. Many have credited his win to “working-class whites,” a segment of society that has been laid low by opioid addiction and income inequality, in part because it made a compelling narrative.

The data tell a different story. According to an analysis by the Washington Post, Trump’s voting bloc was primarily comprised of middle- and upper-income Americans. An NBC poll of Trump voters from March 2016 showed that only one-third of his supporters had incomes lower than $50,000, while the other two-thirds made more than $50,000.

A similar trend arose in the general election as well. According to the American National Election Study, 35 percent of people who said they voted for Trump had household incomes under $50,000. The other two-thirds of Trump voters “came from the better-off half of the economy.”

According to a new report, despite what Ivanka Trump says, her father's administration isn't doing much for families of people who voted for him. A report from the Center for American Progress says that in swing counties won by Trump in the 2016 election, a family of four with two young children would only take in an additional $5.55 a year under Trump's tax plan if they spend an average of $6,037 per year on child care. The reason for this is that Trump's child care proposal is nothing more than a tax credit based on an assumption that families can afford to pay the full cost out of pocket.

Another component of the “working-class whites” narrative was the lack of a college education among most Trump voters, as 69 percent of his supporters in the general election did not have a college degree. But polling data from NBC also showed that about 70 percent of Republicans had not graduated from a college or university, so that number was not an aberration.

It is also the case that the lack of a college degree is not intrinsically tied to a person’s income—less education does not necessarily equate to being a member of the poor or working class. Only 25 percent of Trump voters were white people without college degrees making below the $50,000 median income. In fact, nearly 60 percent of white Trump voters without college degrees were making over $50,000, placing them in the “top-half of income distribution.” Data also show that one in five Trump voters actually made over $100,000 in household income, again exposing gaping holes in the narrative that the white working-class is mostly responsible for Trump’s win.

Celisa Calacal is a junior writing fellow for AlterNet. She is a senior journalism major and legal studies minor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Previously she worked at ThinkProgress and served as an editor for Ithaca College’s student newspaper. Follow her at @celisa_mia.

IMAGE: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign rally in Miami, Florida, September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Sorry, Liberals. We Have To Talk About Economics — And Race.

Two conclusions about Donald Trump’s highly offensive and obviously effective campaign for president are undeniable.

He was the first Republican in decades to compellingly speak to the economic concerns of at least some workers, though he did so by making heartbreakingly impossible promises and with a plan no economist, in a recent survey of experts, believes will help the middle class. And he played to white identity politics in an unabashed way that dragged the old, barely coded racial appeals of “law and order” and “the silent majority” into the 21st century — while updating them with attacks on immigrants and Muslims that once would have gotten you banned from a decent message board.

Some on the left want Democrats to ignore the racial appeals implicit in Trump’s campaign and focus almost entirely on a populist economic agenda that will help all workers, as the Democratic agenda did effectively for generations. There have been several variations on the theme but they’re probably best summed up by the headline for a column David Paul Kuhn wrote in the New York Times: “Sorry, Liberals. Bigotry Didn’t Elect Donald Trump.”

But to insist that Trump’s fans must be blazing bigots for race to have been a deciding factor in the 2016 election plays exactly into the right’s strategy of hollowing out the middle class. According to IanHaney-López, UC Berkeley law professor and author of the essential Dog Whistle Politics, that strategy uses identity politics to generate “broad popular support for politicians and policies that transfer our nation’s wealth to the new robber barons.”

It’s a “false choice” to suggest Democrats must chose between “pocket book” issues and so-called “identity” politics, Haney-López argues: “To say that racial aggrievement fuels American electoral politics is not to say that America is a country of bigots.”

We “play into conservatives’ hands,” he writes, when we let them get away with the notion that “racism must look like a Klan hood and burning cross.”

Trump never used racial slurs and was, for instance, forced to back off explicitly racial attacks on Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage. He hastened to add “Some, I assume are good people,” immediately after suggesting that millions of Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals. Those hedges reveal that there was a method to what some Democrats called his madness.

“When progressives understand race solely in terms of bigotry — or shy away from talking about racism because it’s a fraught conversation —they play into conservative [strategies],” Lopez says. We can’t deny that “Trump made race a cornerstone of his appeal,” even if there are examples of Obama voters becoming Trump voters.

“Focusing on the Obama-Trump voter is less a successful rebuttal than a form of denial,” Haney says, noting that the phenomenon ignores factors like sexism and voters’ tendency to vote for the “change” candidate. Most importantly that voter represents “a tiny slice of the electorate,” likely less than 7 percent, which is almost irrelevant compared to Trump’s success at mobilizing white voters who hadn’t turned out in previous elections and Democrats’ failure to mobilize non-white voters who had.

Even Kuhn acknowledges that racism “appeared more concentrated among Trump voters,” while assigning Trump’s success to other factors.

Understanding how Trump and the GOP effectively use race requires seeing that the right is “waging a culture war around gender, elitism, and especially race, using coded and not so coded terms to trigger strong resentments.” This is specifically designed to persuade white voters to cast ballots that are not only against their interests but suicidal for the middle class.

Yes, the economic anxiety many Trump voters felt is real and must be addressed. But addressing that anxiety exclusively would be a big mistake, according to Haney-López, because “it assumes that economic pain comes first, and so, it implies that finances are more fundamental than scapegoating.”

Racial resentment has made the rigged economy we all live in now possible.

The parties have not switched their polarities from the North to the South, and the GOP didn’t become a party that is 90 percent white with 98 percent white elected officials by accident, Haney-López notes.

So how do we begin to change this?

Ignoring racism and focusing solely on economics helps the GOP, and that won’t even be an option considering whom Trump’s policies will target, Greg Sargent argues.

But Haney-López asserts that the Democratic Party presenting itself as “a coalition of minorities, each with discrete identities but united by a few shared interests” won’t reverse the trends that have fed massive inequality either.

Instead, we need to tackle the right’s white identity politics for what it is: a scam against the entire American working class.

“To regain control of government, progressives must directly address the divide-and-conquer politics employed by the right,” Haney-López says. “This doesn’t mean blaming white men for being racist or sexist, nor does it mean neglecting economic issues.”

It puts the burden on the left to invest in outreach that speaks to economic pain and explains explicitly how the right’s agenda is a scam to pit workers of all races against each other, while millionaires and billionaires suck up all the growth of the economy and almost exclusively benefit from Trump’s agenda, starving the American Dream.

“Democrats must re-tell the story of the last 50 years, emphasizing how race and other culture-war issues have been used to divide and conquer,”  Haney-López says. “This is fundamentally a story of shared interests and a common enemy.”

He’s been making this argument for years. But now that Democrats have seen and all of America will soon see the destructiveness of unchecked white identity politics, maybe we’ll all start to listen.

Sorry, but we can’t afford not to.

The Invention Of The ‘White Working Class’

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

History warns us to be very, very careful when using the phrase “white working class.” The reason has nothing to do with political correctness. Rather, it concerns the changing historical definitions of who is “white.”

Eduardo Porter in the New York Times, uses this construction to ask, “Did the white working class vote its economic interests?” He claims that current data shows white people losing out to blacks and Hispanics in getting their fair share of the new jobs created since 2007:

“Despite accounting for less than 15 percent of the labor force, Hispanics got more than half of the net additional jobs. Blacks and Asians also gained millions more jobs than they lost. But whites, who account for 78 percent of the labor force, lost more than 700,000 net jobs over the nine years.”

Porter further argues this is happening because blacks and Hispanics live mostly in the thriving urban areas while most white people live in declining rural areas.

Only 472 counties voted for Hillary Clinton on Election Day. But ….they account for 64 percent of the nation’s economic activity. The 2,584 counties where Mr. Trump won, by contrast, generated only 36 percent of America’s prosperity.

Porter therefore believes that the white working class flocked to Trump as a way to protest their economic decline.

But this conclusion is flawed:

  • Neither the studies nor Porter provide a definition of “white working class.” Is it all white people? Does it include management? Professionals? We’re not told.

  • Nor do they provide any evidence that the actual work experiences of white and black working people are starkly different no matter how the class is defined.

  • Rural America, also, is not lily white. Hispanics and African Americans make up a total of 17.5% of rural and small town America.

  • Further, the research grounding my book Runaway Inequality shows that working people as a whole (defined as the 85 percent of us who are production and non-supervisory employees) have seen their real wages fall since the late 1970s — all shades, all colors.

  • Finally, most of the new jobs created are low-wage, part-time service sector jobs — jobs that often pay poverty wages. As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2015, “More than 40% of the jobs added in just the past year have come in generally lower-paying fields such as food service, retail and temporary help.” So getting the lion’s share of these jobs is not a pathway to prosperity.

Dog Whistle Whites

What these studies and reports do accomplish however is to sound the latest dog whistle about race in America. They create an image in our minds of a coherent white working class, hunkered down in the declining manufacturing sector — white rural workers who have needs and interests different from black and brown urban workers. In doing so, this image feeds into a long history of white working class creationism that divides working people by race.

An early instance of this process took place in the aftermath of Bacon’s rebellion (1675), during which Nathanial Bacon united black slaves, and white indentured servants into a rebellious army against Virginia planter elites. (It was less than a noble enterprise in that Bacon wanted more government attacks against Native Americans.) After the rebellion was put down, plantation owners gave special privileges to poor whites in order to drive a wedge between them and black slaves. It worked.

A dramatic redefinition of “white” took place during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as mass immigration and colonialization expanded. So called race scientists studied cranial size and shapes, skin color, and hair texture to create a biology of race. By 1911, the U.S. Immigration Commission published its Dictionary of Races or Peoples, that listed 29 separate races. The Southern Italian race, for example, is described as “excitable, impulsive, highly imaginative…having little adaptability to highly organized society.”

Race science defined “white” as a narrow category that excluded virtually everyone who didn’t come from northern Europe. By the First World War, U.S. immigration policy was informed by early IQ tests given to immigrants on Ellis Island that supposedly showed that “87% of Russians, 83% of Jews, 80% of Hungarians, and 79% of Italians were feeble-minded.”

Management “Race Science”

These race scientists created a vast hierarchy of races seen in the chart below designed for a Pittsburgh steel company in 1926. It is based on the idea that each “race” by its intrinsic nature possesses certain skills and attributes that makes it suitable to certain work tasks.

This “science” provided the rationale for dividing the workforce by ethnic group which had the added virtue of weakening worker solidarity and keeping unions at bay. This became particularly acute after 4 million workers went on strike at the end of WWI. The largest strike involved 350,000 steel workers that finally collapsed after 14 weeks of pitched battles. It is highly likely that the skills chart was designed to prevent such a resurgence.

(One can only speculate why the Jewish “race” was placed at the bottom of the hierarchy. One reason may be because two of the largest unions in the country — the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union were Jewish led and contained hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrant workers. So if you hired Jewish workers into the steel industry, the odds were high they might be predisposed to unionism or be union plants.)

The Whitening of America

A confluence of events rapidly changed the definition of white in the1930s and 40s. The rise of American industrial unionism successfully organized “unskilled” immigrant workers, blacks and Hispanics into broad-based unions. So much for the race chart.

The mobilization for WWII further melded together all the “lower” ethnic groups except for black, brown and yellow. And after the atrocities at the Nazi death camps were revealed, the earlier race science industry was thoroughly discredited.

What causes the definition of race to change?

The definition of “white” and of “race” in general depends on the needs of the most powerful elements of society. To justify slavery and Jim Crow, race science gave Southern elites a justification for denying human rights to millions with darker skin colors.

The “science” of the early 1900s created finely grained racial hierarchies that conveniently justified immigration restrictions and colonialism. Colonial powers argued that since their “race” was at the top of the ladder, they had the right and the duty to rule lesser peoples and their countries.

To successfully mobilize America against the “master race” and the “yellow peril” during WWII, American leaders permitted “white” to be broadened to include most of what previously had been considered lesser races. (However, racist South Democrats and their lock-down control of Congress, made sure that black and brown people were denied New Deal benefits and therefore would continue to suffer as separate races. The Japanese interment camps further heightened the idea of a separate race of “Orientals.”)

So what color is Obama?

White mother, black father means you are black? White? Half-black? Half white?

That kind of question leads us to think about race as a biological as well as a sociological category. Skin color is real biology isn’t it? And what about sickle-cell anemia?

But folk science is not real science. One in 13 African-American babies is born with a sickle-cell trait. Sickle cell trait can also affect Hispanics, South Asians, Caucasians from southern Europe, and people from Middle Eastern countries.

Similarly, every effort to construct a black or white race through genetics has failed. No one yet has found a gene that signals a separate race.

Here’s a fact of life that may startle you. Eighty-five percent of all genetic variation is among people within a population and only 15 percent of the variation among humans is between different populations and continents. This means that any two black people chosen at random will have far more genetic differences from each other than a randomly selected white and a black person. Biologically speaking the old cliché is true: There is only one race — the human race.

What is Race?

Over a century ago, W.E.B. Dubois put forth perhaps the clearest, most exact definition of race: “A Negro is a person who must ride Jim Crow in Georgia”

He understood, as should we, that race always is a social construction, a human invention used to create a hierarchy of power. It is not genetics. It is not biology. And in the case of the “white working class” it’s not even accurate sociology.

When we invent the white working class, we whitewash an increasingly diverse manufacturing workforce. Take the workforce at Carrier, which is in the news because of Trump’s effort to prevent its jobs from moving to Mexico. Isn’t it a perfect example of a beleaguered and declining white working class in Indiana, looking to Trump for help?

No, the Carrier workforce is 50 percent African-American. Half of the assembly line workers are women. Burmese immigrants make up 10 percent of the employees.

Drop the dubious “white working class” construction and we’ll see that Porter is asking the wrong question. It’s not whether the imagined white working class voted for its own economic interests by voting for Trump.

Rather, the real question is this: Is it even possible for working people of all kinds to vote their economic interests given the corporate orientation of both parties?

What do you think?

Les Leopold, the director of the Labor Institute, is currently working with unions and community organizations to build the educational infrastructure for a new anti-Wall Street movement.

IMAGE: Worker Marilyn MacKay assembles a rifle at the Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. gun factory in Newport, New Hampshire, in this January 6, 2012 file photo.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer/Files     

The End Of ‘Identity Liberalism’? It Can’t Happen Too Soon

Amid the climate of disbelief and fear among Democrats following Donald Trump’s election, a fascinating debate has broken out about what’s called “identity politics” on the left, “political correctness” by the right.

And about damn time, I say. The kind of race- and gender-based moral bullying prevalent on many college campuses and in certain media outlets has been extremely damaging to the Democratic Party.

My only fear is that the argument will be too polite. Sometimes, people just need to get smacked right between the eyes. Anyway, the whole thing was started by an essay by Columbia University historian Mark Lilla called “The End of Identity Liberalism” in the New York Times.

“In recent years,” Lilla writes “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.” Instead of the Democratic Party’s core message of inclusion—all for one, and one for all—we’re fed a seemingly endless list of grievances and a litany of blame.

That certainly wasn’t the message Hillary Clinton wanted to send. Her traditionally Democratic campaign slogan, after all, was “Stronger Together.” On the stump, however, she most often directed her rhetoric to discrete categories of voters:  African-American, Latino, LGBT, women, etc. Anybody, it sometimes seemed, but the one group that can’t be named.

They noticed. “If you are going to mention groups in America,” Lilla warns “you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class.”

Bill Clinton used to bore pundits and attract voters with great laundry lists of specific policies addressing their needs. Hillary spent her energy and advertising dollars warning against the impending catastrophe that is Donald Trump—something this column also did plenty of. One result, however, was that ordinary voters across wide swaths of the country concluded that she had nothing to offer them. They’re wrong, but you can see how they got the idea.

Just so you know what we’re up against, here’s how the top-rated comment about Lilla’s article on the Times website began: “This article is insulting to people who are not cisgendered, heterosexual white men. Identity is not something which can be quietly set aside in pursuit of common goals, since historically those goals were set by and for white men.”

Sorry, professor, you lost me at “cisgendered.” That’s academic cant for somebody with hair on his chest who thinks he’s a man. (And no, I can’t be sure the author’s a professor, but it’d be more alarming to think that anybody capable of emitting such gibberish had escaped the campus and wanders at large.) Too often, an obsession with tolerance has created an intolerance of its own.

If you don’t understand how such nonsense is creating young Republicans by the truckload, you’re not paying attention. As one of my smarter friends has observed, it also “tends to paralyze young Democrats. How can you work for social change when everybody is limited to their own class/race/gender?”

Well, you can’t. My own experience has been that trying to reason with identity-obsessed social justice warriors is like being mobbed by crows—not so much harmful as exhausting. In practice, there are few ideas more illiberal than the notion that demography is destiny.

Try reading Until Proven Innocent, Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson’s book on the infamous Duke University lacrosse team rape hoax, for a scary example of this kind of thinking in action. To a noisy minority of Duke’s faculty, the falsely accused athletes were guilty simply by virtue of being, yes, “cisgendered, heterosexual white men.” Most held to that conviction long after the lacrosse players’ complete innocence became clear.

One unintentional result of such episodes, as Michelle Goldberg writes in Slate, has been “the politics of cultural revenge delivered by a billionaire in a gold-plated airplane.” She worries that Trumpism will lead to a new Dark Age descending over America’s racial and sexual minorities, and that “the focus of left-of-center politics in the dark years to come must be on protecting the groups of people who are targets precisely because of their identities.”

Maybe so, although I suspect such fears are overblown. I’d never deny that being a straight white man has eased my way. But I didn’t create the world either, and I’m a Democrat precisely because I do believe we’re all in this together. A politics rooted predominantly in race, gender and cultural identity invariably leads to tribalism—the great enemy of democracy.

As Lilla reminds us, “the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan.”

He’s correct: to succeed, Democrats need to address “Americans as Americans,” as citizens sharing common interests and the necessary protections of the rule of law.

IMAGE: U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters during a campaign rally in Kissimmee, Florida, U.S. August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane

The Uncertain Future Of The Working-Class

A best-selling sports book, The Boys in the Boat, describes the unlikely path of working-class blokes to gold-medal glory at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. There’s lots about rowing, but what struck this reader most was author Daniel James Brown’s account of the tough lot of laborers in the Northwest during the Great Depression.

This is a Seabiscuit story starring humans instead of a horse. What the University of Washington rowing team had in common with the unpromising small stallion was their status as rugged Westerners who, through grit and brutal work, bested the fancy athletes of the East.

These were men who worked all day and into the night with their hands. They farmed, mined, fished, logged. They lost fingers. They grew their own food with their hands and, for entertainment after dinner, used their hands to make music on guitars.

One heard echoes of Jack London’s youth as a “work beast” two generations before in Northern California. At age 13, the future novelist put in 18-hour days at a cannery. London never overcame his rage at having been forced into unremitting toil for dirt wages.

One of the boys in the boat was Joe Rantz, who, even as a champion rower, never got over his feeling of being “utterly disposable.” Rantz’s family moved away, telling the young teen not to join them. Rantz carried trays up and down hills to a cookhouse to put breakfast in his stomach.

The Depression was as depressing in Seattle as everywhere else. How did guys such as Rantz get through? A combination of resolve, work ethic and government programs. Through the Civilian Conservation Corps, Rantz lucked into a job laying asphalt for the new Olympic Highway. He also found work on another federal project, the Grand Coulee Dam.

The hardships facing today’s distressed working class don’t hold a candle to the life-and-death struggles these men faced. Nowadays, working Americans have far higher expectations regarding quality of life. But men who work with their hands these days seem less hopeful.

There is nothing Donald Trump can do to stop the automation of factory work. And a sloppy renunciation of trade agreements would kill far more jobs than it would save, economists say.

The Boys in the Boat is, at bottom, a history about a sport. But the stories suggest at least two plausible ways to enhance economic security for blue-collar America. One, noted above, is a giant federal program to build and fix the infrastructure. Trump campaigned on that. Whether small-government conservatives so opposed to stimulus spending will let that happen remains to be seen.

The other follows the trajectory of George Pocock, the master builder of racing sculls. A product of the English working class, Pocock learned boat building from his father. The art of turning trees into sleek sculls didn’t require a university-type education, though in many ways, it took a far more advanced skill set.

Pocock derived enormous pride from his work. For him, the product was all, and he would not make more boats than he could make with perfection and beauty.

“No one will ask you how long it took to build,” he said. “They will only ask who built it.”

Mass-market sculls, as with other boats, have since moved to plastic. But there remains a cultlike devotion to the wooden works of boat-building art. As long as it lasts, there will be a need for the Pocock type of boatmaker.

Likewise, there remains a dedicated clientele for handmade furniture and guitars and sweaters. The labor going into these products must be paid for, and the laborers must be paid well. Skilled hands can do a lot more than tap at screens.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

IMAGE: Hillary Clinton greets workers at Munster Steel in Hammond, Indiana, United States, April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young