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America’s new class war In the US, both parties ignore a nation of communitarians

Hispanic voters attend a rally on horseback (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Hispanic voters attend a rally on horseback (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)


March 16, 2023   5 mins

What explains the widening chasm between America’s political class and the American people? While the Democrats and Republicans squabble over climate change and race, these are among the lowest concerns on the public’s agenda: according to Pew, voters care far more about strengthening the economy, reducing healthcare costs, defending against terrorism, and reducing the influence of money in politics.

This political uncoupling is largely a product of the class system and the skewing of politics towards the priorities of college-educated Americans and wealthy political donors in both parties. This warping is built into the system from the start. Democrat and Republican nominees are chosen in party primaries, whose participants are far more educated and affluent than the average voter. Although the gap is large in both parties, it is particularly pronounced on the Democratic side. As a Brookings study in 2018 showed, Democratic voters are “almost twice as likely as the voting age population in their district to have college degrees or postgraduate study”.

This matters because college-educated voters tend to be more liberal on social issues than less-educated ones. Last year, for instance, 66% of college graduates wanted abortion to be legal in all or most cases, while only 54% of high-school graduates did. Similarly, immigration, which is treated as a “social issue” rather than as a labour market or welfare state one in the US, was seen as a “good thing” by 80% of college graduates, but only by 64% of respondents with “no college”, with twice as many non-college voters (30%) as college graduates (14%) viewing immigration as a “bad thing”.

The influence of big donors in both parties further skews politics from the pragmatic concerns of America’s working-class majority. Wealthy donors, like primary voters, tend to be socially liberal and support free trade, immigration and cuts in government social spending more than the average voter. It’s not hyperbole to conclude that the United States is a nation of communitarians ruled by an oligarchy of libertarians.

This confirms the suspicions of most Americans. In a 2021 poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs which asked who benefited from US foreign policy, most respondents answered “large corporations” (92%), “the US government” (90%), “wealthy Americans” (87%), and “the US military” (80%). By and large, they were not mistaken; paranoids can have real enemies. The claim that American political parties and their donors use cultural and social issues to distract from economic topics, in the spirit of divide-and-rule, is not a conspiracy theory; it is manifestly correct. On the progressive side of the political spectrum, where Silicon Valley and Wall Street are major sources of campaign finance, the situation could not be more obvious. Amazon, for example, has viciously fought attempts by its workforce to unionise for years, while simultaneously making $10-million donations to “organisations supporting [racial] justice and equity”.

During the same period, this cynical approach has trickled down into the Democratic party machine. President Biden last week announced a plan to shore up Medicare’s finances by raising taxes on Americans earning more than $400,000 a year. Why $400,000? Because, in 2021, he had pledged not to raise taxes on anyone bringing home less than $400,000. This represented a significant increase from Hillary Clinton’s promise during her 2016 campaign to not raise taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less.

For Clinton (and Bernie Sanders), anyone earning less than $250,000 was “middle-class”. Four years later, Biden nearly doubled the definitional limit — even though, according to the IRS, a household (not an individual) with $400,000 or more of income is in the top 1.8% of US households. Yet Biden’s broad definition has largely gone unquestioned, with mainstream Republicans describing his tax rise for the 1.8% as dangerous “socialism”. A recent Newsweek headline follows the script: “Joe Biden to Raise Taxes for Nearly 2.5 million Americans” — without mentioning that America has a population of 336 million.

Taken together, then, we can see that affluent, college-educated voters and the donors in both parties are skewing American politics to the Left on social issues and to the Right on economics. This has left a substantial part of the American public unrepresented in our two-party system. Almost six years ago, the political scientist Lee Drutman, then my colleague at New America, the think tank I co-founded, used voting data to show that very few voters were consistent libertarians (socially conservative and economically libertarian), while 40% were in the socially-conservative, economically-progressive category. To put it another way, the libertarians have many donors but almost no voters, while the communitarians are not represented by either mainstream progressives or mainstream conservatives. (Drutman called this group “populist”, but communitarian is now a less pejorative term.)

Over the past decade, the anti-establishment insurgencies of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump appealed to many of these people, particularly working-class voters in industrial states who supported the pro-worker, “bread and butter” politics absent from both parties. Since the 2016 election, however, instead of trying to win back former Trump voters, the Democrats have mostly doubled down on the identity politics and environmentalism favoured by their new, college-educated metropolitan social base. In contrast, with varying degrees of sincerity, Republican politicians, whatever their views of Trump, have tried to appeal to the new working-class voters, many of them former Democrats or independents, who voted for Trump.

The result has been an on-going realignment in the presidential and midterm elections since 2016. Growing numbers of working-class black and Hispanic voters have shifted to the Republican Party, while well-to-do, highly-educated white voters continue to leave the Republicans for the Democrats. These trends refute the standard Democratic narrative that the Republicans are a dying party of authoritarian white nationalists who want to overthrow democracy and re-establish racial segregation. Rather, it reflects an increasing polarisation along class lines, as measured by education. In 2022, the Republicans won more of the non-college vote (55%) than they had in 2016, while the Democratic share was only 43%, something unthinkable in the days of Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson.

As exiled country-club Republicans seek asylum by joining the Democratic Party, raising its average income and educational attainment, can the Republicans move in the opposite direction and become the party of the multiracial working class? A small but significant minority of Republican policymakers, including Senators Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley and J.D. Vance, is certainly breaking taboos that date back to the Reagan era.

Rubio, for instance, has voiced support for Amazon labour organisers and for organised labour in principle, while Hawley (along with Ted Cruz) voted for a bill opposed by the Biden administration and sponsored by Sanders to provide railroad workers with more paid leave. Vance, meanwhile, has added his voice to this faction, which finds intellectual supporters in both American Affairs and the think tank American Compass. If they succeed, the Republicans would still be a pro-business party, but one that accepts the legitimacy of unions and seeks votes from union members, similar to the GOP under Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

To date, however, these populist Republicans are a minority in their party. Conventional conservative Republicans might be estranged from their traditional big business allies, but this is only because the financial giants have assumed a progressive narrative and the Big Tech companies discriminate against conservatives — rather than because they treat their workers badly. And it seems unlikely this will change soon: the post-Trump Republican leadership seems intent on reverting to something similar to the Reagan-Bush parties, using hot-button culture war issues to win working-class votes and then implementing an economic agenda favoured by business, wealthy donors and libertarian ideologues.

If this isn’t reversed, American politics will return to the pre-2016 status quo: a struggle for office among rival factions of the economic elite which mobilise voters by using identity politics on the Left and a culture war on the Right. An oligarchy of libertarians will continue to rule — and a nation of communitarians will suffer.


Michael Lind is a columnist at Tablet and a fellow at New America. His latest book is Hell to Pay: How the Suppression of Wages is Destroying America.


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Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

One thing I noticed after the Occupy Wallstreet protests, discussion of class disappeared almost overnight and now talks about race were everywhere.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Given that the Guardian reported on how the banks had a direct line to the FBI and liaised with them to crack down on the Occupy protesters, I am pretty certain the move towards divisive racial politics in the last decade is intentional. We are all being distracted so that nobody threatens the banks and corporations.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

This is not the arena in which to cite the Guardian. Prepare for opprobrium!

Shale Lewis
Shale Lewis
1 year ago

Waaah, libertarians are selfish, bankers are greedy because they type numbers in a computer and make money from your money, corporations make profits instead of giving everything away for free, working-class types are honest and industrious, blah, blah, blah… Oh, why can’t UnHerd be exactly like The Guardian, which has a vicelike grip on how the world works?

Shale Lewis
Shale Lewis
1 year ago

Waaah, libertarians are selfish, bankers are greedy because they type numbers in a computer and make money from your money, corporations make profits instead of giving everything away for free, working-class types are honest and industrious, blah, blah, blah… Oh, why can’t UnHerd be exactly like The Guardian, which has a vicelike grip on how the world works?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Of course that’s why accusations of racism are in everything, everywhere, all at once. If we’re not at each other’s throats, we’d be at the government’s.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

That suspicion has been voiced elsewhere. Can’t really discount it, especially considering who wields the megaphone.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Agreed. Both major parties continue to gorge themselves at the trough, whilst we commoners are told to shut up and squabble about the color of our skins.

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Very eloquently summarised

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Very eloquently summarised

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

This is not the arena in which to cite the Guardian. Prepare for opprobrium!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Of course that’s why accusations of racism are in everything, everywhere, all at once. If we’re not at each other’s throats, we’d be at the government’s.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

That suspicion has been voiced elsewhere. Can’t really discount it, especially considering who wields the megaphone.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Agreed. Both major parties continue to gorge themselves at the trough, whilst we commoners are told to shut up and squabble about the color of our skins.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There was a cross-party consensus back then, which although it had different origins, it certainly left the super rich a little isolated.
Conservatives were opposing capital flight, socialists opposing the increasing wealth gap and libertarians opposing centralised fiat currencies for instance (obviously overlap).
I’ve long been of the view that identity politics in its current form was born from this event as it was necessary to break this consensus and economics wouldn’t cut it at that point in time.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Of course; it’s useful. The more the wealthy and educated gas about racial privilege the less they must confront their own (far more significant) class privilege.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Villanueva
Jeff Hansen
Jeff Hansen
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Outward discussion of class dissipated. However the same anti corporate government anger that fueled Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party I see as a continuing through the past 2 presidential elections where the only “excitement” among voters was for “outsiders” Sanders and Trump. Of course neither act as outsiders in reality and are corporate/party shills. But the anger that was born of the bank bailouts of the great recession while the foreclosed homeowners got zero bailout is still there.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

IAS – “It’s Always Something – my favorite mantra : )

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Given that the Guardian reported on how the banks had a direct line to the FBI and liaised with them to crack down on the Occupy protesters, I am pretty certain the move towards divisive racial politics in the last decade is intentional. We are all being distracted so that nobody threatens the banks and corporations.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There was a cross-party consensus back then, which although it had different origins, it certainly left the super rich a little isolated.
Conservatives were opposing capital flight, socialists opposing the increasing wealth gap and libertarians opposing centralised fiat currencies for instance (obviously overlap).
I’ve long been of the view that identity politics in its current form was born from this event as it was necessary to break this consensus and economics wouldn’t cut it at that point in time.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Of course; it’s useful. The more the wealthy and educated gas about racial privilege the less they must confront their own (far more significant) class privilege.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Villanueva
Jeff Hansen
Jeff Hansen
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Outward discussion of class dissipated. However the same anti corporate government anger that fueled Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party I see as a continuing through the past 2 presidential elections where the only “excitement” among voters was for “outsiders” Sanders and Trump. Of course neither act as outsiders in reality and are corporate/party shills. But the anger that was born of the bank bailouts of the great recession while the foreclosed homeowners got zero bailout is still there.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

IAS – “It’s Always Something – my favorite mantra : )

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

One thing I noticed after the Occupy Wallstreet protests, discussion of class disappeared almost overnight and now talks about race were everywhere.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Although I have a university degree, I consider myself working class because I own a sole proprietor business. I certainly don’t begrudge policy that makes the wealthy even wealthier, as long as it makes the rest of us wealthier as well.

But this isn’t happening. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Covid policies and net zero have made us us all poorer, even the wealthy it seems.

There’s no question the working class has been ignored, but it feels like something greater is at play. The political class is simply incompetent. For whatever reason, they are just dumber and less capable than previous generations of the political class.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Democracy itself has been captured by Capital. If you think of the the working and middle classes as farm animals then everything makes sense.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Maybe but I think globalisation plays its part. In the past the very wealthy were tied to nation states in a way they aren’t today.
Here in Britain huge tracts of land and property are owned by people who hardly ever set foot here and don’t particularly care about the nation or its people or culture.
Thus there is a kind of asymmetric tension between the globalised elite and a sort of generalised, nationally based proletariat that includes both middle and working classes.
The political situation described here in the article in reference to the US is very similar to that in the UK – we have a globalised political class and a national electorate.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

This is very true. We always have copied Americans, however badly they have behaved. But we are much smaller and, ironically perhaps, we have more chance of avoiding their extreme problems.
Certainly, to bring in a couple of other posts today, this is the right time for the notion that small is best. Scotland (and Wales) must escape now. Perhaps Northern England and Scotland and Wales should combine politically against the political base in Westminster, which is taking us closer and closer to disaster.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

The real problem in the UK is the rent seeking of the professional classes. Politicians since Blair have got into the habit of buying their (our) support with artificially inflated asset prices, thereby driving blue collar workers out of the housing market and degrading the public services which are the only real wealth they have. The self-serving open borders ideology of the elites compounds the problem.

Meanwhile, as in the US, fatuous identity politics are used to silence all those who are being pauperised by this grift.

It ain’t going to end well.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

You are omitting that the British political elite – which has survived, largely intact despite multiple reiterations – STILL thinks of itself as an alien caste. There is no greater patent of nobility than to have “come over with the Normans”, to be the “fourteenth possessor of a foolish face”.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Well, perhaps. But the supra-nationalism of the current governing class has much more to do with economic self-interest and careerism than with identity.

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Nah, I clearly watched the Thatcher revolution of the 80-90s give a full blooded joyful coup de grace to the already stumbling hereditary upper class elite. The poshos are still around, but as a sad comedy pastiche of real power.
The new elite gain part of their credibility from not being hereditary (but it is allowed for an individual if you tone it down and downplay, deny or feel guilty about it). That new very globally and tech orientated elite (I worked in it for a while) are now really getting to grips with their power and have found they can leverage the woke left ideas overflowing from the institutions very nicely to consolidate their position as a brand new ruling class, holding their shiny iPhones as they push net zero in the face of working people.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Well, perhaps. But the supra-nationalism of the current governing class has much more to do with economic self-interest and careerism than with identity.

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Nah, I clearly watched the Thatcher revolution of the 80-90s give a full blooded joyful coup de grace to the already stumbling hereditary upper class elite. The poshos are still around, but as a sad comedy pastiche of real power.
The new elite gain part of their credibility from not being hereditary (but it is allowed for an individual if you tone it down and downplay, deny or feel guilty about it). That new very globally and tech orientated elite (I worked in it for a while) are now really getting to grips with their power and have found they can leverage the woke left ideas overflowing from the institutions very nicely to consolidate their position as a brand new ruling class, holding their shiny iPhones as they push net zero in the face of working people.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

You are omitting that the British political elite – which has survived, largely intact despite multiple reiterations – STILL thinks of itself as an alien caste. There is no greater patent of nobility than to have “come over with the Normans”, to be the “fourteenth possessor of a foolish face”.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

This is very true. We always have copied Americans, however badly they have behaved. But we are much smaller and, ironically perhaps, we have more chance of avoiding their extreme problems.
Certainly, to bring in a couple of other posts today, this is the right time for the notion that small is best. Scotland (and Wales) must escape now. Perhaps Northern England and Scotland and Wales should combine politically against the political base in Westminster, which is taking us closer and closer to disaster.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

The real problem in the UK is the rent seeking of the professional classes. Politicians since Blair have got into the habit of buying their (our) support with artificially inflated asset prices, thereby driving blue collar workers out of the housing market and degrading the public services which are the only real wealth they have. The self-serving open borders ideology of the elites compounds the problem.

Meanwhile, as in the US, fatuous identity politics are used to silence all those who are being pauperised by this grift.

It ain’t going to end well.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The problem is twofold. They are BOTH less capable than the ruling class of previous generations AND also wedded to an ideology (globalism) that has manifestly failed to deliver on the ‘end of history’ promises made after the end of the cold war. We were promised a more peaceful and prosperous world, yet the ruling class has delivered neither. Between China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and the continuing threat of terrorism, the world is much much less peaceful than it was when I was a child. Nor are we any more prosperous, unless you happen to be in the select group of corporate managers, bankers, wall street brokers, media personalities, celebrities, etc. who comprise that 1.8% the author mentions. What we have been given in lieu of peace is a series of wars that aren’t called wars until after they’ve gone so far off the rails that no sane person can call them anything else, and what we have been given in lieu of greater real wages, more economic security, better healthcare, and upward mobility is a series of distractions like social media, smart phones, and the internet which are held up as the great marvels of our age but pale in comparison to the achievements of the previous several generations, like landing on the moon, air travel, the automobile, the transistor, and I could go on. Absent a viable ruling philosophy, out of touch with reality, and aware at this point that history has turned against them, the ruling class are falling back on the same things every failed ruling class throughout history has fallen back upon, leveraging institutional control and economic power to hold back the tide of history. That will work for a while, as it usually does, but ultimately it will fail, as it nearly always does, either quickly and spectacularly in some crisis or another, or slowly through a process of institutional decay. I suppose it’s theoretically possible that the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world will somehow realize they are dooming themselves if they continue on their current path and implement reforms, but given what I know of history and human nature, that seems unlikely. Voices like Hawley and Rubio will ultimately be silenced by the arrogance and privilege that always accompanies generational wealth and power, and today’s ruling class will behave like almost all the other failed ruling classes and march right up to the guillotine with their heads high, convinced to the very end of their superiority and fitness to rule.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Could not agree more.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Agreed, particularly the bit about the guillotine

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Agreed, particularly the bit about the guillotine

Ian Lessard
Ian Lessard
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Well said. Hawley and Rubio however are part of the ruling class. They make noise about supporting workers when it suits them, I.E. when there’s no chance of a bill actually getting passed.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Lessard

I can believe that about Rubio, who, lest we forget, was one of the ‘establishment’ candidates who failed to stop Trump in 2016. The establishment did not want Trump OR Ted Cruz as the nominee, and they ended up with those two being the last two in the race. Hawley, however, I actually believe is legitimate. I have followed him for a while, since before Trump, and his rhetoric has always had a populist flavor. Pre-Trump, he was regarded as a maverick in the same way McCain once was. He has never been an establishment favorite, and still isn’t. He took a huge amount of flak for his equivocating stance on the Jan 6th protests and to this day he defends them, saying recently that some people who were charged did nothing wrong. He alienated the establishment and many of his own political donors by doing so. These actions seem inconsistent with trying to publicly court populist rage while quietly toeing the establishment line. If he’s an establishment stooge, he hides it well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Lessard

I like both of them, would have voted for Rubio in the primary.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Lessard

I can believe that about Rubio, who, lest we forget, was one of the ‘establishment’ candidates who failed to stop Trump in 2016. The establishment did not want Trump OR Ted Cruz as the nominee, and they ended up with those two being the last two in the race. Hawley, however, I actually believe is legitimate. I have followed him for a while, since before Trump, and his rhetoric has always had a populist flavor. Pre-Trump, he was regarded as a maverick in the same way McCain once was. He has never been an establishment favorite, and still isn’t. He took a huge amount of flak for his equivocating stance on the Jan 6th protests and to this day he defends them, saying recently that some people who were charged did nothing wrong. He alienated the establishment and many of his own political donors by doing so. These actions seem inconsistent with trying to publicly court populist rage while quietly toeing the establishment line. If he’s an establishment stooge, he hides it well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Lessard

I like both of them, would have voted for Rubio in the primary.

Jim M
Jim M
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Let’s just hope it comes to the guillotines. I’d settle for public immolation.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Could not agree more.

Ian Lessard
Ian Lessard
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Well said. Hawley and Rubio however are part of the ruling class. They make noise about supporting workers when it suits them, I.E. when there’s no chance of a bill actually getting passed.

Jim M
Jim M
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Let’s just hope it comes to the guillotines. I’d settle for public immolation.

Ben Shipley
Ben Shipley
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Well said. One should never ever underestimate the incompetence of the current crop of leaders, no matter which side.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Democracy itself has been captured by Capital. If you think of the the working and middle classes as farm animals then everything makes sense.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Maybe but I think globalisation plays its part. In the past the very wealthy were tied to nation states in a way they aren’t today.
Here in Britain huge tracts of land and property are owned by people who hardly ever set foot here and don’t particularly care about the nation or its people or culture.
Thus there is a kind of asymmetric tension between the globalised elite and a sort of generalised, nationally based proletariat that includes both middle and working classes.
The political situation described here in the article in reference to the US is very similar to that in the UK – we have a globalised political class and a national electorate.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The problem is twofold. They are BOTH less capable than the ruling class of previous generations AND also wedded to an ideology (globalism) that has manifestly failed to deliver on the ‘end of history’ promises made after the end of the cold war. We were promised a more peaceful and prosperous world, yet the ruling class has delivered neither. Between China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and the continuing threat of terrorism, the world is much much less peaceful than it was when I was a child. Nor are we any more prosperous, unless you happen to be in the select group of corporate managers, bankers, wall street brokers, media personalities, celebrities, etc. who comprise that 1.8% the author mentions. What we have been given in lieu of peace is a series of wars that aren’t called wars until after they’ve gone so far off the rails that no sane person can call them anything else, and what we have been given in lieu of greater real wages, more economic security, better healthcare, and upward mobility is a series of distractions like social media, smart phones, and the internet which are held up as the great marvels of our age but pale in comparison to the achievements of the previous several generations, like landing on the moon, air travel, the automobile, the transistor, and I could go on. Absent a viable ruling philosophy, out of touch with reality, and aware at this point that history has turned against them, the ruling class are falling back on the same things every failed ruling class throughout history has fallen back upon, leveraging institutional control and economic power to hold back the tide of history. That will work for a while, as it usually does, but ultimately it will fail, as it nearly always does, either quickly and spectacularly in some crisis or another, or slowly through a process of institutional decay. I suppose it’s theoretically possible that the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world will somehow realize they are dooming themselves if they continue on their current path and implement reforms, but given what I know of history and human nature, that seems unlikely. Voices like Hawley and Rubio will ultimately be silenced by the arrogance and privilege that always accompanies generational wealth and power, and today’s ruling class will behave like almost all the other failed ruling classes and march right up to the guillotine with their heads high, convinced to the very end of their superiority and fitness to rule.

Ben Shipley
Ben Shipley
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Well said. One should never ever underestimate the incompetence of the current crop of leaders, no matter which side.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Although I have a university degree, I consider myself working class because I own a sole proprietor business. I certainly don’t begrudge policy that makes the wealthy even wealthier, as long as it makes the rest of us wealthier as well.

But this isn’t happening. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Covid policies and net zero have made us us all poorer, even the wealthy it seems.

There’s no question the working class has been ignored, but it feels like something greater is at play. The political class is simply incompetent. For whatever reason, they are just dumber and less capable than previous generations of the political class.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The author keeps using the oxymoron, “college-educated”. People may go to these centers of conformity and propaganda to buy phony credentials, but that in no way makes them educated. And the fact that these people, largely women, vote for Democrats and embrace TikTok activism confirms that attending a college is the opposite of being educated.

Atticus Basilhoff
Atticus Basilhoff
1 year ago

I agree. I always question the comment “college educated” as well. What is the degree field that allows these people to claim some level of enlightenment? The following site is interesting and not what I was expecting for the breakdown of undergraduate degrees in the US in 2020.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/185334/number-of-bachelors-degrees-by-field-of-research/

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

College-indoctrinated would perhaps be a more accurate term.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

College-indoctrinated would perhaps be a more accurate term.

rue boileau
rue boileau
1 year ago

Absolutely. Everyone has a college degree these days, where I live (major metro area) you’d be hard-pressed to find someone under 50 who doesn’t. Due to the vast number of workers who possess degrees, the value of a college degree has gone way down. Also, I’ve read studies that show that college graduates have little to no critical thinking skills – which comes as no surprise at all.

Atticus Basilhoff
Atticus Basilhoff
1 year ago

I agree. I always question the comment “college educated” as well. What is the degree field that allows these people to claim some level of enlightenment? The following site is interesting and not what I was expecting for the breakdown of undergraduate degrees in the US in 2020.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/185334/number-of-bachelors-degrees-by-field-of-research/

rue boileau
rue boileau
1 year ago

Absolutely. Everyone has a college degree these days, where I live (major metro area) you’d be hard-pressed to find someone under 50 who doesn’t. Due to the vast number of workers who possess degrees, the value of a college degree has gone way down. Also, I’ve read studies that show that college graduates have little to no critical thinking skills – which comes as no surprise at all.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The author keeps using the oxymoron, “college-educated”. People may go to these centers of conformity and propaganda to buy phony credentials, but that in no way makes them educated. And the fact that these people, largely women, vote for Democrats and embrace TikTok activism confirms that attending a college is the opposite of being educated.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy provides an incisive analysis of how big business cynically uses race and DEI to camouflage its true interests. He doesn’t seem to be making much headway as a candidate, probably due to his lack of political experience, but hopefully his presence in the race will make the more serious candidates take a clear stance on the issue. Whether a successful Republican candidate would follow through on his campaign pledges is, of course, not certain.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I am convinced that whatever hope there is for real change within the structure of the current two party constitutional system, precious little there may be, it lies within the Republican party. The best hope for the populist movement would be for Trump to step aside and hand the movement to someone younger and more competent. That he appears unwilling and/or unable to do so convinces me fully of what I always suspected, that whatever his political virtues might be, however good his policies were, he entered politics for the same reason he did everything else in his controversial life, to satisfy his own ego, and he is unwilling or unable to set it aside for the good of his movement, his supporters, or his country.

Atticus Basilhoff
Atticus Basilhoff
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

It is that unsated ego that will destroy any hope for the right in 2024. I did not vote for Trump but I supported him in 2016. By 2020 it was apparent he was not a serious politician; he abandoned his domestic campaign platform, he abandoned his base and his “management by chaos” schtick had worn itself out. While he did some very good things as president, I, along with many others who hoped for some level of greatness from the man, were left feeling taken. I have to agree with the rabid TDS crowd that short of Trump coming to his senses and backing out (not a chance), he needs to be taken down by the courts and removed from politics to make way for someone who can carry forward his policies without the mania. I’m not sure who that is at this point.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

There are still few actual populists among the higher echelons of the Republican Party. It’s mostly pretenders who say the right things to ameliorate the new populist base while quietly governing the way they always have. Hawley, Rubio, Cruz, and the many other high ranking Republicans say the right things but I have my doubts as to how much they’ll be willing/able to push for real change if given actual power. They preceded Trump and may or may not actually believe their current rhetoric (Rubio and Cruz more so than Hawley, who has always been somewhat off the beaten path of traditional Republican policy). DeSantis at least has a record of mostly populist governance. He doesn’t go nearly far enough IMHO, but he’s better than a doddering old man serving as a figurehead for the powers that be or an orange haired clown performing for an ever dwindling and increasingly disinterested audience. I also like Rand Paul, as he’s an actual small government decentralizing libertarian. The author seems to confuse libertarianism with neoliberal globalism. Not sure why (perhaps fear of career repercussions), but it muddies the waters of an otherwise brilliant article.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Atticus Basilhoff
Atticus Basilhoff
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Good points.

Atticus Basilhoff
Atticus Basilhoff
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Good points.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

Well that doesn’t sound very democratic, does it?

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago

Trump being “taken down and removed by the courts” would not be a positive development for the American people.

It’s hard to say but there’s at least a chance Trump backs out or fails to secure the GOP nomination.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

I’m sure he would like to use lessons learned from mistakes to make changes and clean house, however He’s too thin skinned and lets emotion take over good sense. On the other hand I think he was cheated out of his legitimate right to govern because of the scheming and betrayals.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kat L
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

There are still few actual populists among the higher echelons of the Republican Party. It’s mostly pretenders who say the right things to ameliorate the new populist base while quietly governing the way they always have. Hawley, Rubio, Cruz, and the many other high ranking Republicans say the right things but I have my doubts as to how much they’ll be willing/able to push for real change if given actual power. They preceded Trump and may or may not actually believe their current rhetoric (Rubio and Cruz more so than Hawley, who has always been somewhat off the beaten path of traditional Republican policy). DeSantis at least has a record of mostly populist governance. He doesn’t go nearly far enough IMHO, but he’s better than a doddering old man serving as a figurehead for the powers that be or an orange haired clown performing for an ever dwindling and increasingly disinterested audience. I also like Rand Paul, as he’s an actual small government decentralizing libertarian. The author seems to confuse libertarianism with neoliberal globalism. Not sure why (perhaps fear of career repercussions), but it muddies the waters of an otherwise brilliant article.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

Well that doesn’t sound very democratic, does it?

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago

Trump being “taken down and removed by the courts” would not be a positive development for the American people.

It’s hard to say but there’s at least a chance Trump backs out or fails to secure the GOP nomination.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

I’m sure he would like to use lessons learned from mistakes to make changes and clean house, however He’s too thin skinned and lets emotion take over good sense. On the other hand I think he was cheated out of his legitimate right to govern because of the scheming and betrayals.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kat L
Atticus Basilhoff
Atticus Basilhoff
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

It is that unsated ego that will destroy any hope for the right in 2024. I did not vote for Trump but I supported him in 2016. By 2020 it was apparent he was not a serious politician; he abandoned his domestic campaign platform, he abandoned his base and his “management by chaos” schtick had worn itself out. While he did some very good things as president, I, along with many others who hoped for some level of greatness from the man, were left feeling taken. I have to agree with the rabid TDS crowd that short of Trump coming to his senses and backing out (not a chance), he needs to be taken down by the courts and removed from politics to make way for someone who can carry forward his policies without the mania. I’m not sure who that is at this point.

Jeff Hansen
Jeff Hansen
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Ramaswamy is impressive. However I can’t see him progressing through the corporate Red party as an accepted candidate. The party system is going to give us what they want, not what we want. As I heard recently, in North Korea you only have 1 person to vote for, America is completely different and free and a beacon of democracy because you have 2 choices.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Hansen

But they couldn’t stop Trump and they desperately wanted to.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Hansen

But they couldn’t stop Trump and they desperately wanted to.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I am convinced that whatever hope there is for real change within the structure of the current two party constitutional system, precious little there may be, it lies within the Republican party. The best hope for the populist movement would be for Trump to step aside and hand the movement to someone younger and more competent. That he appears unwilling and/or unable to do so convinces me fully of what I always suspected, that whatever his political virtues might be, however good his policies were, he entered politics for the same reason he did everything else in his controversial life, to satisfy his own ego, and he is unwilling or unable to set it aside for the good of his movement, his supporters, or his country.

Jeff Hansen
Jeff Hansen
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Ramaswamy is impressive. However I can’t see him progressing through the corporate Red party as an accepted candidate. The party system is going to give us what they want, not what we want. As I heard recently, in North Korea you only have 1 person to vote for, America is completely different and free and a beacon of democracy because you have 2 choices.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy provides an incisive analysis of how big business cynically uses race and DEI to camouflage its true interests. He doesn’t seem to be making much headway as a candidate, probably due to his lack of political experience, but hopefully his presence in the race will make the more serious candidates take a clear stance on the issue. Whether a successful Republican candidate would follow through on his campaign pledges is, of course, not certain.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago

“It’s not hyperbole to conclude that the United States is a nation of communitarians ruled by an oligarchy of libertarians.”

It’s not hyperbole; it’s nonsense.

I don’t know how anyone can look at the bloated, Byzantine bureaucracy that is the US Federal Government and conclude that it’s the product of libertarianism.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

It is more true to say that the United States is a nation of communitarians ruled by an oligarchy.
The concerns of the oligarchy are not the concerns of the ‘common people’. The concerns of the Oligarchy are not necessarily anything to do with reality, only those concerns that may be used to signal status or virtue to other Oligarchs.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

Yes – I found that an odd contention as well, particularly in light of the growing centralism and authoritarianism that we’re witnessing post COVID.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

“I don’t know how anyone can look at the bloated, Byzantine bureaucracy that is the US Federal Government and conclude that it’s the product of libertarianism.”
I see what you say but I do not think you are right.
The bloated, Byzantine bureaucracy serves a number of purposes. It was largely bought into being and is managed by the Democrats, which means there is a large block of voters on the pay roll who the Democrats can depend upon, who have a vested interest in the status quo and have become increasingly and more openly politicized as they exercise the power of the state against opponents.
Further, since the days of FDR, the state, in the sense of unbridled public expenditure, has been a safety net and a huge source of financial enrichment for the liberal elite. Think of all those lovely government contracts, particularly defence and IT contracts. No more capitalism, no more competition; straight to the trough.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

In order for him to “not be right” you have to negate the object of his sentence. The subject of his sentence is a premise or axiom if you will. You need to argue that the “bloated byzantine bureaucracy…” IS in fact the product of libertarianism.

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago

We should all treasure your well chosen phrase
”I see what you say but I do not think you are right.”
Long live good faith argument.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

In order for him to “not be right” you have to negate the object of his sentence. The subject of his sentence is a premise or axiom if you will. You need to argue that the “bloated byzantine bureaucracy…” IS in fact the product of libertarianism.

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago

We should all treasure your well chosen phrase
”I see what you say but I do not think you are right.”
Long live good faith argument.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

The number of government employees in the USA is way down the list of OECD countries, which doesn’t really support the term ‘bloated’. Interesting that the highest number by a long way, as a percentage of the workforce, is in the Scandinavian countries where surveys consistently put them at the top of international ‘happiness’ polls. I guess that the happiness of society is not of interest to so many of the moneyed inhabitants of the USA.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/1235570/share-of-people-employed-in-government/

David Brightly
David Brightly
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

The rulers are libertarians in the sense that they seek minimal constraints on their own personal freedom.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  David Brightly

That’s way too loose a definition. By that definition every criminal is a libertarian. If the rulers were libertarians they may want minimal constraints on their own freedom but they would want it by principal which would give it to everyone else also. Our rulers want it ONLY for themselves and their friends and families. Essential, they are tribalists. Great if you’re in the tribe.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  David Brightly

That’s way too loose a definition. By that definition every criminal is a libertarian. If the rulers were libertarians they may want minimal constraints on their own freedom but they would want it by principal which would give it to everyone else also. Our rulers want it ONLY for themselves and their friends and families. Essential, they are tribalists. Great if you’re in the tribe.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

It is more true to say that the United States is a nation of communitarians ruled by an oligarchy.
The concerns of the oligarchy are not the concerns of the ‘common people’. The concerns of the Oligarchy are not necessarily anything to do with reality, only those concerns that may be used to signal status or virtue to other Oligarchs.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

Yes – I found that an odd contention as well, particularly in light of the growing centralism and authoritarianism that we’re witnessing post COVID.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

“I don’t know how anyone can look at the bloated, Byzantine bureaucracy that is the US Federal Government and conclude that it’s the product of libertarianism.”
I see what you say but I do not think you are right.
The bloated, Byzantine bureaucracy serves a number of purposes. It was largely bought into being and is managed by the Democrats, which means there is a large block of voters on the pay roll who the Democrats can depend upon, who have a vested interest in the status quo and have become increasingly and more openly politicized as they exercise the power of the state against opponents.
Further, since the days of FDR, the state, in the sense of unbridled public expenditure, has been a safety net and a huge source of financial enrichment for the liberal elite. Think of all those lovely government contracts, particularly defence and IT contracts. No more capitalism, no more competition; straight to the trough.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

The number of government employees in the USA is way down the list of OECD countries, which doesn’t really support the term ‘bloated’. Interesting that the highest number by a long way, as a percentage of the workforce, is in the Scandinavian countries where surveys consistently put them at the top of international ‘happiness’ polls. I guess that the happiness of society is not of interest to so many of the moneyed inhabitants of the USA.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/1235570/share-of-people-employed-in-government/

David Brightly
David Brightly
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

The rulers are libertarians in the sense that they seek minimal constraints on their own personal freedom.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago

“It’s not hyperbole to conclude that the United States is a nation of communitarians ruled by an oligarchy of libertarians.”

It’s not hyperbole; it’s nonsense.

I don’t know how anyone can look at the bloated, Byzantine bureaucracy that is the US Federal Government and conclude that it’s the product of libertarianism.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

The most articulate and thoughtful proponent of working class politics on the ‘right’ is Steve Bannon, which is why the vulture class is so keen to have him jailed.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Maybe they want him jailed because he is convicted criminal fraudster?

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

But why Bannon? After all, to paraphrase Donald Trump’s infamous retort, “you think [the rest of the politicians] are so innocent?”

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Because he got caught!

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Because he got caught!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Is he? Not sure I trust the American judicial system to quite the extent you do.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

As I understand it, he called for money to build a wall then took that off and spent it as he wished, but not on any walls. Sounds like fraud to me!

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

As I understand it, he called for money to build a wall then took that off and spent it as he wished, but not on any walls. Sounds like fraud to me!

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Why the downvotes? He is exactly that, a fraudster who stole money. Or did he not?

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

But why Bannon? After all, to paraphrase Donald Trump’s infamous retort, “you think [the rest of the politicians] are so innocent?”

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Is he? Not sure I trust the American judicial system to quite the extent you do.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Why the downvotes? He is exactly that, a fraudster who stole money. Or did he not?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Agreed. I always thought it was a mistake to let him go.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Maybe they want him jailed because he is convicted criminal fraudster?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Agreed. I always thought it was a mistake to let him go.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

The most articulate and thoughtful proponent of working class politics on the ‘right’ is Steve Bannon, which is why the vulture class is so keen to have him jailed.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago

Mr. Lind mentions what many do, that the more educated tend to vote with the liberal left. Allen Bloom said that no one can seriously claim to be educated who has not read Plato’s Republic. And yet few we now call “educated” have ever done that or ever will. What I am asking is whether we have any hope of sorting out the subject Mr. Lind raises without first clarifying what “education” really is.

Peadar Laighléis
Peadar Laighléis
1 year ago

Seems to me that many people’s understanding of education, or indeed intelligence, can be summarised in the brief dialogue between the Scarecrow and the Wizard at the end of the Wizard of Oz – that all it amounted to is a piece of paper. At present, the US Democrats and centre left parties elsewhere are following intellectual fads which are popular in the academy but have every indication of being highly destructive in real life.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago

Say more please about that piece of paper.

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago

Why not just watch the movie?

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago

Why not just watch the movie?

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago

Say more please about that piece of paper.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Because of his argument I read The Republic. Shocked me, actually. What a fascist! The essence of Animal House is what I found in that book. Plato today would be a Communist.

Peadar Laighléis
Peadar Laighléis
1 year ago

Seems to me that many people’s understanding of education, or indeed intelligence, can be summarised in the brief dialogue between the Scarecrow and the Wizard at the end of the Wizard of Oz – that all it amounted to is a piece of paper. At present, the US Democrats and centre left parties elsewhere are following intellectual fads which are popular in the academy but have every indication of being highly destructive in real life.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Because of his argument I read The Republic. Shocked me, actually. What a fascist! The essence of Animal House is what I found in that book. Plato today would be a Communist.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago

Mr. Lind mentions what many do, that the more educated tend to vote with the liberal left. Allen Bloom said that no one can seriously claim to be educated who has not read Plato’s Republic. And yet few we now call “educated” have ever done that or ever will. What I am asking is whether we have any hope of sorting out the subject Mr. Lind raises without first clarifying what “education” really is.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

In 2022, the Republicans won more of the non-college vote (55%) than they had in 2016, while the Democratic share was only 43%, something unthinkable in the days of Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson.
This is largely due to the insanity gripping the Donkeys and the relative moderate (yes, moderate) policies of the Republicans by contrast, even Trump.
I wonder if Lind has ever been to America or only misinterpreted the things he watched on TV.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

In 2022, the Republicans won more of the non-college vote (55%) than they had in 2016, while the Democratic share was only 43%, something unthinkable in the days of Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson.
This is largely due to the insanity gripping the Donkeys and the relative moderate (yes, moderate) policies of the Republicans by contrast, even Trump.
I wonder if Lind has ever been to America or only misinterpreted the things he watched on TV.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I am thinking about the problems in America on this cloudy, miserable day and I see something in the sky – definitely not the sun. Is it a spaceship, a helicopter, a plane 
. no it’s none of these. But it’s orange all over.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

A new kind of Chinese balloon?

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

A new kind of Chinese balloon?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I am thinking about the problems in America on this cloudy, miserable day and I see something in the sky – definitely not the sun. Is it a spaceship, a helicopter, a plane 
. no it’s none of these. But it’s orange all over.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

Michael, your analysis makes good sense; it rings true and is probably statistically correct. However, you have neglected to mention the most important bone of contention that sharply divides us Americans: donald trump.
I am a college graduate (1973), an Unherd subscriber, who fits comfortably into the categories that you have analyzed here. But I spent most of my working life working as a carpenter and maintenance man, to provide for our family of five. Entering into my 60’s, I decided to write novels and blogs and have been occupied productively, in my opinion, having published four novels (Glass half-Full, Glass Chimera, Smoke, King of Soul).
Therefore, measured by education, I fall into the Democrat classification; but since 1978, having turned to Christ and spending many decades of fellowship with evangelicals, I would thereby be classified as conservative, and/or Republican.
But in 2016, along came an anomaly that has overturned all the classifications and categories that you have so adroitly analyzed: donald trump.
He is a truly a wild card, a powermongering, narcissistic fool who has rendered all the logical analyses almost meaningless. Therefore, all that matters, going into 2024, is whether he is the GOP nominee, or not!
After the GOP convention, which will determine who represents the traditionally conservative party, a legitimately accurate assessment can be made about the condition of the Republican party. Until that time. . . all power, authority, influence, media savvy and whatever other factors are relevant to who is in charge of this torn republic. . . all of it is beyond legitimate analysis.
Thanks, Michael, for your excellent analysis and report.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Perhaps you are correct however the Republican Party before Trump were nothing short of contemptible. They spouted off what we wanted to hear and then did the exact opposite once elected. What did they ever do for the base? Nothing.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Perhaps you are correct however the Republican Party before Trump were nothing short of contemptible. They spouted off what we wanted to hear and then did the exact opposite once elected. What did they ever do for the base? Nothing.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

Michael, your analysis makes good sense; it rings true and is probably statistically correct. However, you have neglected to mention the most important bone of contention that sharply divides us Americans: donald trump.
I am a college graduate (1973), an Unherd subscriber, who fits comfortably into the categories that you have analyzed here. But I spent most of my working life working as a carpenter and maintenance man, to provide for our family of five. Entering into my 60’s, I decided to write novels and blogs and have been occupied productively, in my opinion, having published four novels (Glass half-Full, Glass Chimera, Smoke, King of Soul).
Therefore, measured by education, I fall into the Democrat classification; but since 1978, having turned to Christ and spending many decades of fellowship with evangelicals, I would thereby be classified as conservative, and/or Republican.
But in 2016, along came an anomaly that has overturned all the classifications and categories that you have so adroitly analyzed: donald trump.
He is a truly a wild card, a powermongering, narcissistic fool who has rendered all the logical analyses almost meaningless. Therefore, all that matters, going into 2024, is whether he is the GOP nominee, or not!
After the GOP convention, which will determine who represents the traditionally conservative party, a legitimately accurate assessment can be made about the condition of the Republican party. Until that time. . . all power, authority, influence, media savvy and whatever other factors are relevant to who is in charge of this torn republic. . . all of it is beyond legitimate analysis.
Thanks, Michael, for your excellent analysis and report.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

There’s a concept called ‘Decision Fatigue’. This rests on the concept that the decision-making centers of the brain can make ‘decisions’ for only so many repetitions before feeling fatigued, working more slowly, prone to error, etc. Studies were done in which judges were shown to judge more harshly/hastily in the afternoons than in the mornings (even accounting for other factors), this being statistically significant. College-educated individuals are emerging from an artificial period of intense theoretical decision-making, which leaves them both strengthened and exhausted. ï»żOne must assume that their faculties in the short-term are impaired. (Anyone who has been in college understands the unique drain it imposes on the psyche.) This accounts for the bad decisions being arrived at by this population emerging from their period of theoretical education. In the long-term, the practical ‘life’ education they receive serves to ground their theoretical knowledge in the real world, but in the short-term, we all suffer from exhausted decision-making by this group.

Last edited 1 year ago by Samuel Ross
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Roy Baumeister’s book “Willpower” has an excellent discussion of this phenomenon. There are some really interesting experiments they’ve done to demonstrate it. He said to a first order it works kind of like a muscle. It esplains why there are some kinds of work(ers) you don’t want to have done at certain times of day. Judges have a tendency to be much more harsh on defendants just before lunch and near the end of the day, for example. Parole boards work the same way. Pays to be one of the first considered.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Roy Baumeister’s book “Willpower” has an excellent discussion of this phenomenon. There are some really interesting experiments they’ve done to demonstrate it. He said to a first order it works kind of like a muscle. It esplains why there are some kinds of work(ers) you don’t want to have done at certain times of day. Judges have a tendency to be much more harsh on defendants just before lunch and near the end of the day, for example. Parole boards work the same way. Pays to be one of the first considered.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

There’s a concept called ‘Decision Fatigue’. This rests on the concept that the decision-making centers of the brain can make ‘decisions’ for only so many repetitions before feeling fatigued, working more slowly, prone to error, etc. Studies were done in which judges were shown to judge more harshly/hastily in the afternoons than in the mornings (even accounting for other factors), this being statistically significant. College-educated individuals are emerging from an artificial period of intense theoretical decision-making, which leaves them both strengthened and exhausted. ï»żOne must assume that their faculties in the short-term are impaired. (Anyone who has been in college understands the unique drain it imposes on the psyche.) This accounts for the bad decisions being arrived at by this population emerging from their period of theoretical education. In the long-term, the practical ‘life’ education they receive serves to ground their theoretical knowledge in the real world, but in the short-term, we all suffer from exhausted decision-making by this group.

Last edited 1 year ago by Samuel Ross
leculdesac suburbia
leculdesac suburbia
1 year ago

Thank you for this. I HIGHLY recommend you look into the meme stock AMC “Ape” movement, because you’ll see a hidden-in-plain-sight highly racially diverse, working class movement of retail investors who’ve learned enough about the stock market and algorithmic naked shorting to become furious about how the SEC allows blatant crimes to occur, every day.
It’s mostly on Reddit but has spilled into other social media, and we’re talking hundreds of thousands of retail investors who were not stupid about trends and what was _supposed_ to happen but saw only their stocks halted when they started to rise, even with unprecedented short interest rates indicating that the stock would “moon” if normal rules applied.
I’ve been appalled to see Republicans as much as Democrats refuse to take this seriously and call out the SEC, because obviously, they have major donors in each. Citadel’s probably the largest donor and the worst offender.
THIS is where the organizing should start–not on some factory floor that only existed in 1950. These are people trying to make a little money in a system they feel rigged against them, knowing they can’t save enough just from labor or home-ownership alone. This is scandal as morally offensive as anything in 2008.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Are you sure this isn’t another “Mystic Meg”?

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Are you sure this isn’t another “Mystic Meg”?

leculdesac suburbia
leculdesac suburbia
1 year ago

Thank you for this. I HIGHLY recommend you look into the meme stock AMC “Ape” movement, because you’ll see a hidden-in-plain-sight highly racially diverse, working class movement of retail investors who’ve learned enough about the stock market and algorithmic naked shorting to become furious about how the SEC allows blatant crimes to occur, every day.
It’s mostly on Reddit but has spilled into other social media, and we’re talking hundreds of thousands of retail investors who were not stupid about trends and what was _supposed_ to happen but saw only their stocks halted when they started to rise, even with unprecedented short interest rates indicating that the stock would “moon” if normal rules applied.
I’ve been appalled to see Republicans as much as Democrats refuse to take this seriously and call out the SEC, because obviously, they have major donors in each. Citadel’s probably the largest donor and the worst offender.
THIS is where the organizing should start–not on some factory floor that only existed in 1950. These are people trying to make a little money in a system they feel rigged against them, knowing they can’t save enough just from labor or home-ownership alone. This is scandal as morally offensive as anything in 2008.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
1 year ago

How is “communitarian” a substitution for “populist”? Asking for a friend.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

A smart article which, yet again, begs the question of why parties of the centre left (Dems and Labour) are so much keener to suppress their mavericks – even popular ones – than their right-wing counterparts.

Sanders was undermined and the “squad” ruthlessly brought to heel etc in the US. In the UK, Corbyn’s groundswell was fiercely opposed by internal critics (see Labour Leaks, Forde Report etc), left candidates are routinely blocked for absurd micro-infractions on Twitter (e.g. once liked a tweet by a Green Party candidate) and the party has been busily vetting the membership for possible subversives.

Meanwhile, Vance, Hawley,and even Cruz can flirt with union support. MTG can stake out an (unprincipled but still eye-catching) opposition to the War in Ukraine and Jeffries gets to paint himself as a crusader for the first amendment simply by listening to the mounting evidence that there are a startling number of Government funded bodies currently engaged in helping Twitter to work out which messages might “contravene their terms of service”.

The Right is always looking for a way to form a new electoral coalition – (Nixon, Reagan, Trump) while the Centre Left is constantly trying to repeat a formula that last worked almost 20 years ago for a couple of candidates (Clinton and Blair) who look a lot less appealling in retrospect than they did at the time.

It is the sheer stupidity of this dynamic that makes people sound and feel like conspiracists. It’s pretty clear that a Democratic party running on Medicare for all, as well as a good faith effort to raise incomes and create jobs by investing in green infrastructure could be immensely popular. The fact that smart people on the “left” set their faces so resolutely against it, invites obvious questions about their motives.

At this point, I don’t know which would be more depressing – the thought that both Labour and Democrats have been entirely captured by a conspiracy of special interests who oppose a lefty economic agenda on principle or simply that, the middle class professionals who run the parties are so isolated that they genuinely can’t imagine these things being popular.