Why we should have seen the rise of Donald Trump coming, in 7 graphs

New Poll Shows 9 Out of 10 Trump Supports Feel Attacked

Republican front-runner Donald Trump is making headlines with his off-the-cuff campaign speeches, blunt attitude and often polarizing policy positions.

But Tamara Draut says his ideas are anything but original.

"He is billing himself, and people see him as, the authentic candidate," says Draut, vice president of policy and research at public policy organization Demos. "But, honestly, his whole candidacy is ripped straight from any polling you look at of white working-class voters."

SEE ALSO: The mystery hairstylist behind Donald Trump's signature 'do

In her new book, "Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America," Draut argues that the trajectory of the working class has not been sustainable. But she also details a newly emerging working class – one largely made up of people of color and women who hold service jobs – that is overtaking what traditionally has been a manufacturing-based sector dominated by white males.

It's precisely the decline of that traditional working class – along with the frustration and distrust accompanying its demise, which largely have gone ignored by the Republican Party elite – that helped provide an opening for Trump 2016 and its populist-driven agenda.

See images of Trump through the years:

Donald Trump through the years
See Gallery
Why we should have seen the rise of Donald Trump coming, in 7 graphs

Donald Trump with Alfred Eisenpreis, New York City Economic Development Administrator. Sketch of new 1,400 room Renovation project of Commodore Hotel.

(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Donald Trump pauses in his apartment 5/20 after receiving the news that the Board of Estimate unanimously approved a 40-year tax abatement plan. Under the plan Trump will purchase and refurbish the Commodore Hotel, which closed into doors 5/18, from the Penn Central Transportation Corp. In return for his $10-million-dollar purchase and up to $100 million face-lifting investment, Trump will have no real estate taxes for 40 years.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Real estate developer Donald Trump announces intentions to build a $100 million dollar Regency Hotel.

(Photo by John Pedin/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Donald Trump stands behind architect's model of City Hall Plaza.

(Photo by Frank Russo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Ivana Trump attend Roy Cohn's birthday party in February 1980 in New York City.

(Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)

Donna Mills and Donald Trump during 1983 Annual American Image Awards at Sheraton Center in New York City, New York, United States.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Donald Trump attends 38th Annual Horatio Alger Awards Dinner on May 10, 1985 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Portrait of real estate mogul Donald John Trump (b.1946), smiling slightly and facing to his right, 1983. New York.

(Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)

Boxing promoter Don King holds up the arms of Mike Tyson and former champion Larry Holmes during a press conference here 12/1. Looking on is Donald Trump. The fight will be held at the Trump Plaza Hotel.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Donald Trump, real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and billionare poses in the foyer of his home in August 1987 in Greenwich, Connecticut.

(Photo by Joe McNally/Getty Images)

Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump during 1988 U.S. Open - September 3, 1988 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York, United States.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Ivana Trump and Donald Trump during Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks Fight at Trump Plaza - June 27, 1988 at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Billionaire Donald Trump and his wife Ivana arrive 04 December 1989 at a social engagement in New York.

(Photo credit should read SWERZEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Daughter Ivanka Trump during Maybelline Presents 1991 Look of the Year at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Donald Trump attends 'Hoop-La' Special Olympics Basketball Game on June 25, 1992 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Donald Trump and Joan Rivers during Opening of The Rose Room in the Plaza Hotel at Plaza Hotel Rose Room in New York City, New York, United States.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Donald Trump touches 07 April 1993 Marla Maples stomach to confirm published reports that the actress is pregnant with his child. The two arrived for Maples appearance in the Broadway musical 'The Will Rogers Follies'.

(HAI DO/AFP/Getty Images)

US business tycoon Donald Trump enters the PLaza Hotel in New York past supporters 21 December 1994. Hundreds of supporters showed up at a news conference where Trump denied a New York newspaper report that the Sultan of Brunei had bid 300 million USD to buy the Manhattan hotel.

(Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Christine Whitman during Opening of New Warner Bros. Store in Trump Plaza Casino at Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Donald Trump attends Marc Jacobs Fashion Show on April 4, 1995 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Boxing: IBC Heavyweight Title: View of celebrity businessman Donald Trump and actor Steven Seagal seated ringside during Lennox Lewis vs Tommy Morrison fight at Boardwalk Convention Hall. Atlantic City, NJ. (Photo by John Iacono /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) 

New York real estate giant Donald Trump poses in his Trump Tower office on a giant letter 'T' on May 8, 1996.


Portrait of Marla Maples and her husband, businessman Donald Trump, with their daughter Tiffany, as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1996.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Ron Delsner backstage at a KISS concert at Madison Squre Garden in New York City on July 25, 1996.

(Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

Donald Trump attending Halloween party thrown by Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss at the Supper Club to kick off Fashion Week.  

(Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Donald Trump open his new building at 1 Center Park West- The new Trump International Hotel and Tower.

(Photo byJames Hughes/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Donald Trump and his girlfriend Celina Midelfar watch Conchita Martinez and Amanda Coetzer 07 September at US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY.


Celine Dion, husband Rene, Donald Trump & Ivanka Trump

(Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

Entrepreneur Donald Trump and Rev. Al Sharpton speak at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Sharpton's National Action Network Convention April 5, 2002 in New York City. The group aims to further the development of civil rights.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss attend the Marc Bouwer/Peta Fall/Winter 2002 Collection show February 14, 2002 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.

(Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)

Donald Trump at Madison Square Garden

(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Donald Trump stands on the sidelines before the start of the AFC divisional playoffs between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans on January 10, 2004 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Temperatures have reached as low as 7 degrees in the Foxboro area.

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Donald Trump, Visionary Business Leader award honoree, poses with his children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka at Fashion Group International's 22nd Annual 'Night Of Stars' at Cipriani's 42nd Street October 27, 2005 in New York City.

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Eric Trump and Donald Trump attend the Chicago Bulls vs New Jersey Nets game at the IZOD Center on October 31, 2007 in East Rutherford, New York.

(Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)

 Donald Trump delivers a speech with his son Barron after he was honored with the 2,327th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, CA, 16 January 2007.


Portrait of former model Melania Trump and her husband, businessman Donald Trump, as they sit together at a table during the 16th annual 'Lady in Red' gala, hosted by LIFE (Leaders In Furthering Education), at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, December 4, 2009.

(Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images)

Donald Trump sands with Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela prior to the Miss Universe 2010 Pageant Final at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on August 23, 2010. Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant and along with the Miss World is the most publicized beauty contest in the world. California clothing company Pacific Mills founded the contest 1952 and was acquired by Donald Trump in 1996.


US tycoon Donald Trump arrives to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015.


Donald Trump speaks during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits on April 10, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. The annual NRA meeting and exhibit runs through Sunday.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Real estate mogul and billionaire Donald Trump attends Golf legend Jack Nicklaus' Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda March 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. Trump announed on March 18 that he has launched a presidential exploratory committee.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visits his Scottish golf course Turnberry with his children Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Singer Kanye West and President-elect Donald Trump speak with the press after their meetings at Trump Tower December 13, 2016 in New York.


Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters in his office in Trump Tower, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

 Coverage of the 2016 Republican National Convention from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, which airs on all ABC News programs and platforms. On this final night of the convention, Donald Trump accepts the party's nomination for President of the United States.

(Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) 

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to an answer his wife Melania gives during an interview on NBC's "Today" show in New York, April 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)

President-elect Donald Trump speaks to reporters following his meeting with Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba Group, meeting at Trump Tower, January 9, 2017 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after Trump's address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump has coffee during a reception ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017.Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump appear on stage at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a U.S. Air Force Academy football jersey that was presented to him by team captain Weston Steelhammer during the presentation of the Commander-in-Chief trophy in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers the keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's "Days of Remembrance" ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, U.S, April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. first lady Melania Trump, their son Barron and the Easter Bunny arrive for the 139th annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Below, we take a look at some of the evidence showing the decline of the working class – defined by Draut as Americans without a college education – along with the factors and fears Trump has capitalized on during his rise to the top of the Republican Party pack.

In short, here's why we all should have seen this coming.

Economic Strife

The wages of those in the working class have dropped over the past decades, which – combined with the increasing costs associated with housing and education – have put the American dream increasingly out of reach for many. For men in the working class specifically, the median hourly wage declined by $4.47 (in 2013 dollars) between 1980 and 2012, according to Draut's analysis of Labor Department data.

Many members of the working class also have been trapped in part-time work, needing to hold down several jobs just to make ends meet. Even worse, advocates say wage theft – in which employers don't pay overtime, steal tips or skimp on salary in some other way – is all too common, meaning workers often need to be suspicious of the very companies they are depending on. One poll found that nearly 90 percent of fast-food workers had experienced wage theft.

As evidenced by fewer benefits, unpredictable schedules and frequent safety violations, Draut says today's working class isn't provided the same respect as the working class of her father's day was. And despite a slow but steady economic recovery in the U.S., the working class – which was hit hard by the Great Recession – still has less economic confidence than a year ago, according to Gallup.

The New Populists

In a report on the white working class called "Beyond Guns and God," the Public Religion Research Institute explored the populism among the white working class. The 2012 analysis and accompanying survey data showed that 70 percent of white working-class Americans believed the economic system favored the wealthy, and a majority said that one of the biggest problems facing the U.S. was that not everyone gets an equal chance in life.

Many also believed that capitalism and the free market system were at odds with Christian values. And nearly 8 in 10 blamed the nation's economic problems either somewhat or very much on corporations moving jobs overseas.

Meanwhile, just 1 in 20 white working-class Americans said either abortion or same-sex marriage was the most important issue to their vote.

Enter Trump. The billionaire real estate mogul's campaign has largely set aside the common refrains of social conservatives and the Republican Party of recent decades. Even the firestorm of late over his illegal-abortion-should-be-punished comments stemmed from being pressed while on the hot seat during a televised town hall, and weren't the result of his standard remarks on the stump.

Instead, Trump has concentrated on a populist-driven agenda, trying to convince those looking for work and wage solutions that he can bring jobs back from beyond U.S. borders and keep out immigrants, whom many in the working class believe are taking jobs from them.

But it's not as if the growing disconnect between a wide swath of potential Republican voters and the messaging of the Republican Party went unnoticed by the party itself. In a post-mortem report released after the 2012 election, GOP leaders called for the party to be "the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life."

"We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare," the report said. "We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years."

SEE ALSO: Who will Ted Cruz pick as his running mate?

Yet, combined with little economic progress for the working class and little leadership in Washington from Republicans on these issues, what's been a crucial Trump voting bloc remained angry and up for grabs. According to polling from the Pew Research Center, Trump supporters are more likely than backers of Sen. Ted Cruz or Gov. John Kasich to say that life for people like them in America is worse than it was 50 years ago. They're also far more likely to be angry at the federal government.

Skin-Color Suspicions

The U.S. is more diverse than ever, and only getting more so. Immigration has increased in recent decades, especially from Mexico , although the number of people trying to enter the U.S. illegally from there has decreased of late.

Many white working-class Americans have seen their own declining economic prospects as going hand-in-hand with this increasing diversity. In fact, according to the PRRI report, white working-class Americans were 20 points more likely than white college-educated Americans to think immigrants in the country illegally were taking Americans' jobs and causing economic problems.

Meanwhile, even as the 2012 Republican post-mortem called for a more inclusive attitude, racial tensions in the U.S. have erupted, notably in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore following the police-involved deaths of unarmed African-Americans.

But plenty of white people in the U.S. weren't buying that there was a big problem, nor have they shared African-Americans' suspicion of police officers or law enforcement tactics. And back in 2009, 28 percent of white Americans thought President Barack Obama's policies aimed at improving the standard of living of blacks in the U.S. would go too far.

This perception likely contributed to an opinion among some whites that they are the ones being treated unfairly. And among the white working class, such opinions are especially rooted. In the PRRI survey, 60 percent said discrimination against whites had become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. Among Southern working-class whites, that number was a whopping 69 percent.

Trump, of course, hasn't exactly taken up the cause of multiculturalism or diversity. He's proposed banning Muslims from the country, called police officers "the most mistreated people" in America and stumbled when given the chance to immediately disavow support from a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.