NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The White Man's Burden: More Drinking, Drugs, and Suicides Since 2000

November 30, 2016

Senior Fellow John R. Graham writes for NCPA's Health blog:

More nonsense has been written about white nationalism/supremacy in the wake of Donald Trump's election than anyone should have to read. So, it is a pleasure to find some actual data analysis on the role of non-college educated white citizens in the success of the Trump candidacy, especially versus Mitt Romney's failed 2012 campaign.

The Economist has estimated health status explains the Trump vote better than being a non-college educated white citizen does. The sicker you are, the more likely you are to have voted for Mr. Trump. Non-college educated whites are also likely to be sicker, so the two variables are not independent. Nevertheless:

Although we could not find a single factor whose explanatory power was greater than that of non-college whites, we did identify a group of them that did so collectively: an index of public-health statistics. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has compiled county-level data on life expectancy and the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heavy drinking and regular physical activity (or lack thereof). Together, these variables explain 43% of Mr. Trump's gains over Mr. Romney, just edging out the 41% accounted for by the share of non-college whites.

("Illness as an Indicator," The Economist, November 19, 2016, available at

Okay, so let's get this straight: Obamacare had been signed in 2010, but did not provide subsidized benefits until 2014. The people who should have been most grateful for Obamacare rejected it in the 2016 election, more than they had in 2012. (Mr. Romney also ran against Obamacare.)

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