by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Donald Trump’s entrance into politics scrambled both parties, accelerating a realignment of voters that continues to confound the Beltway nearly five years after he arrived on the scene. Patterns emerging from the vote in 2020 underscore these shifts, as Republicans made further inroads with minorities and the white working class, while Democrats pulled in extra support from the suburbs.
As a result, the parties are now responsive to new coalitions. Culture and economics are obviously intertwined, but populist policy is most often discussed in the context of the latter, of trade and immigration and monopolies and student loans. Those issues worsen cultural ones and vice versa, but we tend to talk about the economic ones much more.
Elites don’t merely ignore the economic interests of the public, but are increasingly detached from their cultural interests as well. This is especially true as the highly educated media and corporate class imports radical cultural leftism into ostensibly mainstream corridors of society at a rapid rate, leaving a bipartisan swath of people reeling. It’s no longer just the “bitter clingers” who find themselves alienated by elites.
It’s the Clinton-voting parents of track runners who are losing scholarships to biological men, but are terrified to say anything critical. It’s the single millennial living alone in a city, unable to make it through a Netflix film, let alone a book, without constantly being pulled back to social media.
It’s the people addicted to pornography, the people who can’t stand Trump but can’t stand the media either. …
… It’s exceedingly easy to lose perspective on how quickly and dramatically technological advances are changing daily life. We’re running an experiment on human psychology in real time, and in a political and media environment that’s disproportionately responsive to wealthy interests, the policy discussion has yet to catch up.