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The new know-nothing party

July 14, 2017

collegesAccording to a new Pew poll, a majority of Republicans (58%) now say that colleges have a negative effect overall on our society, a large swing from just two years previous. The right-wing media has sounded a drumbeat against higher education for several years, but only in the last two has that had much effect on the rank and file. (See graph left.)

Thomas Edsall connects that to the closing of the Republican mind, and its exploitation of the cultural rift between “somewhere people” and “anywhere people.” He quotes Richard Florida:

The United States is the first advanced nation since Japan and Germany during World War II to turn its back on progress and liberalism. The political backlash from this divide can kill us. It is the only thing that can hold back our cities and stop talented and ambitious people from coming here.

That follows many similar analyses that attempt to explain why the white working class turned out for Trump. But, the GOP is hardly the party of the white working class. It has plenty of doctors and financial advisers and other professionals who went to college, and now are suspicious of it. That’s not easy to explain. No doubt, there is an important religious element that cannot be overlooked.

Today is Bastille Day, and the American King is visiting France.

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