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The divide

April 3, 2017

The graph left shows how the white vote has diverged on the basis of education. (Click graph for larger view.) Part of that may be a statistical flaw: the proportion of people with high school education or less has not remained constant over those decades. Part of that likely is real, and reflects similarly diverging fortunes in the modern economy:

Not only have Republicans turned against free trade since Trump began campaigning, but a December 3-5 Economist/YouGov poll found that these same voters have lost faith in the fairness of the free market as a whole. Asked if they agreed with the statement “The free market has been sorting the economy out and America is losing,” Republicans agreed by better than two to one, 57-23, while Democrats were split, 33-33.

Of course, by “America” they mean the “real” America. The rural areas where disability is skyrocketing. Not the multicultural, secular cities that are competing well in the global economy. Which creates the perfect ground for a myth and politics of ressentiment. Propagandists on talk radio trump the “real” America, declare its people the true rugged individualists, and proclaim that if the cities are doing well, it all is corrupt politics and crony capitalism. Of course, fundamentalist religion plays a role in that. Then along comes a presidential candidate singing the same tune, and promising that “real” America will win again.

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