The Rightmost edge of the Left is beginning to understand the situation. Too little, too late.
In Matt Taibbi’s August 1 Racket News column, (RTWT linked below) he says:
The cognoscenti never figured out or accepted that the support for protest candidates like Trump or Bernie Sanders even is rooted in wide generalized rage directed their way. To this day they don’t accept it. They keep thinking they can wish it away, describe it away (see Bump’s description of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as “not at this point serious competition”), indict it away. If you drop 76 charges on a candidate and he goes up in polls, you might want to consider that you might be part of the problem. But they can’t take even that heavy a hint.
Just last week David Brooks, the New York Times token “Conservative” wrote a piece, “What If We’re the Bad Guys Here?” (also linked below) in which he asks:
We built an entire social order that sorts and excludes people on the basis of the quality that we possess most: academic achievement. Highly educated parents go to elite schools, marry each other, work at high-paying professional jobs and pour enormous resources into our children, who get into the same elite schools, marry each other and pass their exclusive class privileges down from generation to generation.
Daniel Markovits summarized years of research in his book “The Meritocracy Trap”: “Today, middle-class children lose out to the rich children at school, and middle-class adults lose out to elite graduates at work. Meritocracy blocks the middle class from opportunity. Then it blames those who lose a competition for income and status that, even when everyone plays by the rules, only the rich can win.”
The meritocracy isn’t only a system of exclusion; it’s an ethos. During his presidency Barack Obama used the word “smart” in the context of his policies over 900 times. The implication was that anybody who disagreed with his policies (and perhaps didn’t go to Harvard Law) must be stupid.
Over the last decades we’ve taken over whole professions and locked everybody else out. When I began my journalism career in Chicago in the 1980s, there were still some old crusty working-class guys around the newsroom. Now we’re not only a college-dominated profession, we’re an elite-college-dominated profession.”
Seriously read that entire thing.
Then read Angelo Codevilla’s 2010 piece “America’s Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution.” Pertinent excerpt:
Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.
Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.
Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg’s tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences “undecided,” “none of the above,” or “tea party,” these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate — most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class’s prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans — a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents — lack a vehicle in electoral politics.
Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled.
Taibbi is observing what Codevilla predicted. Brooks is echoing what Codevilla explained with precision in 2010.
“The cognoscenti never figured out or accepted that the support for protest candidates like Trump or Bernie Sanders even is rooted in wide generalized rage directed their way.” – Taibbi
“As the sociologist E. Digby Baltzell wrote decades ago, “History is a graveyard of classes which have preferred caste privileges to leadership.” That is the destiny our class is now flirting with. We can condemn the Trumpian populists all day until the cows come home, but the real question is when will we stop behaving in ways that make Trumpism inevitable.” – Brooks
“Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled.” – Codevilla
I’m betting on sooner, and badly.
Links: Campaign 2024, Officially Chaos – Matt Taibbi https://www.racket.news/p/campaign-2024-officially-chaos
What if We’re the Bad Guys Here? – David Brooks https://dnyuz.com/2023/08/02/what-if-were-the-bad-guys-here/
America’s Ruling Class, and the Perils of Revolution – Angelo Codevilla https://spectator.org/americas-ruling-class/
I found this piece after writing the above: Yes, David Brooks, You Are the “Bad Guys” – Sasha Stone Excerpt:
Your question, “Are we the bad guys”? The answer is yes. You are the bad guys. You have systematically dehumanized half the country because they dared to want to be represented by someone you don’t like. You have gone along with a warped distortion of who Donald Trump actually is, and you have perpetuated that lie to your own detriment.
Oh, it’s much worse than that, Mr. Brooks. Are you sitting down? This is the moment just before the aristocracy you write so eloquently about comes crashing down around you. You might say you have just spotted the iceberg on the horizon. The water is too still. The ship is moving too fast. It can’t be turned around in time. The ship is made of iron, and it will sink.
Like so many times before, an aristocratic minority can only stave off its ultimate collapse at the hands of the discontented majority for so long. Just look around at the abandoned mansions of the Gilded Age, a world that once was. Or take a trip to France and look at the chateaus in the countryside, or you might even look around in the American South at the plantations and high society before it was all Gone with the Wind.
I’m not necessarily saying the red states are going to drag America back in time – that’s your narrative and the false opinion of the ruling class. This is about a new America waiting to be born once the establishment elite gets out of the way.
You do get points for noticing, Mr. Brooks, even if it is too little, too late.
Do read that whole piece as well.