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More than three million, roughly 37 percent, of New York City residents were born outside of the United States; 60 percent of Miami's residents and almost 30 percent of Houston's residents are foreign-born. Despite Trump's ascendance, America remains one of the few places in the world that views immigration as positive, but Americans' reactions have a strong class and race component that reinforce the conclusion that there is a working-class challenge cutting across partisan lines.

In Democracy Corps' election night survey, it was white college-educated women who embraced immigration most strongly, and not surprisingly, white working-class men who were most cautious. But do not assume that African Americans do not share some of those concerns; many in our focus groups raise anxieties about competition from new immigrants. But reactions to legalization for the undocumented reveal some of the emotional and economic dynamics at play. Americans are fairly positive about the economic effects of legalization and see many of these immigrants as hard-working, but they do worry about the costs.

More than 60 percent believe granting legal status would lead to greater competition for public services and more than half believe it would take jobs from American citizens.

Those numbers are not driven entirely by Republicans. Indeed, 41 percent of Democrats think those immigrants would "take jobs from U. Obama, who led the battle for immigration reform, was fairly trusted on this issue, as he always began by defining "real reform. Pro-immigration advocates won majority support for comprehensive immigration reform only after the public became confident that leaders wanted to manage immigration and that they took borders and citizenship seriously.

The reform that passed the U. Senate increased enforcement at the border, introduced new technology to ensure lawful employment, expelled those with criminal records, and allowed a path to citizenship for those who paid a fine and back taxes and learned English.

Why Obama Won the '08 Presidential Election

That combination allowed progressives to proudly advocate a new law that would greatly expand the number of legal immigrants and make America more culturally and economically dynamic. By the time Hillary Clinton was running in , however, the path to citizenship moved to the center of her offer, as did concern for immigrant rights in the face of Trump's promised Muslim ban and Mexican border wall. A month into Trump's presidency, Democracy Corps and the Roosevelt Institute conducted focus groups with white working-class Trump voters who had previously supported Obama in Macomb County, Michigan.

It was clear how central concerns about immigration, borders, foreignness, and Islam were to their receptivity to his call to take back America. Many thought Clinton, on the other hand, wanted "open borders. I am confident Democrats will once again lead a multicultural America in the same way America has forged unity from such diversity in the past. We build on a unique framework for immigration and a unique history. Even this ugly interlude will not keep America from its exceptional path. The final dynamic distancing Democrats from working-class America is the party's alignment with the economically and culturally ascendant in America's metropolitan centers, where Democrats win office and govern.

As Clinton's winning popular vote margin grew to nearly three million, concentrated in an ever-smaller number of urban counties, the Brookings Institution revealed that fewer than Clinton-won counties produced two-thirds of the nation's GDP in Perhaps that is why President Obama and Secretary Clinton sounded so satisfied with the state of America and its future. In nearly every speech for most of his presidency, including in his State of the Union address, Obama rightly declared that America "is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.

They were also aligning the national Democrats with a liberal narrative and moral frame that values equality, equal rights, and fairness. They are more empathetic and worry more about harm to the vulnerable. They are more open to diversity and celebrate differences and outside cultures.

Better but Still Troubled: Our Take on the State of the Union

They value a kind of individualism that emphasizes personal autonomy, self-expression, and sexual freedom for men and women. They welcome the emerging pluralism of family types and reject the traditional family and gender roles. Education is the path to individual fulfillment and opportunity, and science and technology are the keys to learning discoverable truths. They consciously do not turn to traditional authority for moral absolutes, and they devalue those who depend on faith-based conclusions. Those who hold to a conservative moral frame, by contrast, accept faith-based moral absolutes and respect traditional authority.

They honor an individualism that is grounded in personal responsibility, industriousness, strong work ethic, self-reliance, self-restraint, and self-discipline, which guard against idleness and dependence. They honor the traditional family and the male breadwinner role. They value patriotism, love of country, and those who defend it from our enemies, and they believe American citizens come first. What the national Democrats' embrace of the liberal moral frame and America's economic ascendance misses is not just the plight of nonmetropolitan America, but also the reality on the ground in the big cities, which are ground zero for our country's greatest challenges.

It is in these cities where large numbers of residents are struggling economically, with low-wage jobs and sky-high costs of living, where poverty and segregation stubbornly persist, where millions of children are raised by single parents, and where inequality is most stark.


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At the same time, the increasingly diverse ethnic and racial mix in the cities is full of working-class communities where both liberal and conservative moral frames matter. For example, like the more conservative working-class whites, African American women place a high premium on faith in God and the need to put American citizens before immigrants. That is why the simple embrace of metropolitan America's liberal values and economic elite hurt Democrats with working-class voters in both the big cities and in rural America. The rift between Democrats and working-class Americans was painfully widened by how Democrats governed and campaigned nationally.

The party was not up to the great challenge of leading an America that is more culturally diverse and racially conflicted, more urban and younger, more economically and socially unequal, and more corrupt. All of those challenges, however, are also a call to action. After the debacle and in advance of the presidential cycle, the Women's Voices Women's Vote Action Fund, with which Democracy Corps partners, produced a frank report on disappointing results in our base. So the president instead articulated a powerful new theory that combines a critique of rising inequality with emerging evidence that a strong middle class is the key driver of economic growth—not just a happy byproduct of it.

The Democrats’ ‘Working-Class Problem’

This is a position the Center for American Progress has long espoused and one that the White House embraced with full-throated enthusiasm, which voters have clearly responded to. Requiring a still-struggling middle class to pay for tax giveaways to the rich is neither fair nor good economic policy.

It is bad policy because the way to make the economy grow for everyone is to strengthen the middle class, not to burden it with more than its fair share of taxes. The election results give a clear mandate for this policy framework to guide Congress as it addresses tax reform in the coming months. It was also the bill most in danger during this election.

According to his chief economic adviser, Gov. Romney was prepared to repeal Dodd-Frank and dismantle or weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the law.

President Obama Speaks on Strengthening the Economy for the Middle Class

Related: How Obama would close the 'trust fund loophole'. Only Overall, fewer than one in four middle class taxpayers would benefit from Middle Class Economics, according to the center's analysis. The center doesn't factor in unrealized capital gains into its income ranking, argues the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. So people with moderate incomes but considerable assets are considered middle class.

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A very small number of these taxpayers would be hit hard by the proposed capital gains tax on estates, which skews the overall average. This would also help middle class families. As for the rich, the president's plan does accomplish its goal of raising their taxes.

And more than nine out of 10 of Top.