Welcome to the politics of disappointment

by Ryan Streeter on October 30, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Joel Kotkin offers his characteristically solid insight on the strange divergence between Obama’s core supporters and how they have fared recently:

Welcome to the politics of disappointment. Much has been said about the problems facing the middle class, who have been losing out since the 1970s. But the biggest recent losers have been groups like African-Americans. In the current economic downturn, middle class African-Americans have lost virtually all the gains they made over the past 30 years, according to the National Urban League. Median annual household income for blacks decline[d] by more than 11 percent between June 2009 and June 2012, according to the Census bureau, twice the loss suffered by whites.

African-Americans as well as Latinos have also borne much of the pain from the housing downturn. In fact, according to the Census, Latinos suffered the biggest loss of net worth, largely based by housing, in the recession of any ethnic group. The weakness in the housing market, which is now only beginning to recover, hurts many Latinos, who represent a large part of the nation’s construction industry workforce.

Latinos have been doing so poorly under Obama’s tepid recovery that, by some estimates, more are headed back to Mexico than coming here. Many voters who might make a difference in November could be lounging in Michoacán or Oaxaca rather than Michigan or Ohio.

As for the young, even those with college education, they still suffer high unemployment rates and constricted job opportunities. More than 15 percent of all workers between 18 and 24 are unemployed.

A college degree does not assure success.  More than 43 percent of recent graduates now working are doingso at jobs that don’t really require a college education according to a recent report by theHeldrich Center for Workforce Development. Not surprisingly, the stress levels among college freshman are the highest since data started to be collected, a quarter-century ago.

Ironically the one group that has thrived under Obama — the affluent, including the dreaded “1 percent” — is also the class that has mobilized most aggressively against him.