Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Inverted New Deal: Elites Vote Democratic; Working-Class, Republican

It was Bill Bishop who originally developed the “Big Sort” theory as well. Some research shows that education level is the primary dividing line in voting patterns, although on a cultural level I think it’s more a matter of WASPs vs. anti-WASPs with the most elite WASPs being on the anti-WASP side. Ultimately, it’s a rivalry within the ruling class itself, pitting the older industries like armaments, agribusiness, and fossil fuels against newer industries like technology and media, with the bankers having their hands in both, of course.

While I generally agree with Bill Bishop’s analysis in the below article, I think a problem with a lot of analysis of social conflict that focuses on electoral politics ignores the massive and growing lumpenproletarian class, who tend to be non-voters, along with non-voters generally, who are a third to a half of the US population. Many people view the system as illegitimate or merely don’t care enough to bother (which is a sensible enough position) while the red/blue tribal warfare takes place largely within the middle to upper classes.

By Bill Bishop, Daily Yonder

In counties where a smaller percentage of residents held bachelor’s degrees, voters were more likely to support Donald Trump. In counties where a greater percentage of residents held bachelor’s degrees, voters were more likely to prefer Joe Biden. (Daily Yonder/Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, U.S. Census)

Way back in 1976, political scientist Everett Carll Ladd, Jr., proposed that liberalism had turned “upside down.”

Coming out of the 1930s New Deal, Ladd explained, the American political system had clear class lines: Democrats represented the working stiff. Republicans were the party of the bosses, the professionals, the owners of small businesses, the families with college degrees. But beginning in the 1960s, Ladd found, there had been a slow “inversion of the relationship of class to electoral choice….” — a change that is readily apparent in the latest Presidential election.


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