“Elite opinion” is admittedly a baggy construct—whose opinion? which elite?—but thanks to the weird convulsions of Campaign 2016, we’ve been granted a precious opportunity to behold it in all its lush and fulsome glory. Seemingly as one, the lead institutions of consensus-formation in the responsible American polis have discovered the white working class.
And when I say “have discovered,” I of course mean “have recoiled in horror from.” Over at The Atlantic, Jonathan Rauch decries the complete surrender of our politics to a “chaos syndrome” that has elevated the voices of spittle-flecked merchants of anger such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Like all good keepers of elite discourse, Rauch complains that we have reformed the structures of representative government into a state of “insanity” by eliminating the means by which bipartisan horse-trading and legislative compromise are achievable, or even thinkable. The incremental struggle to democratize Washington has instead created a vast megalomaniacal pseudo-populist playground for demagogues in the Trump mold.