Democratic elites don’t understand the class culture divide
Value of non-elite parents obedience more than creativity: Being disruptive may help entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, but among non-elite it just gets you fired. A huge amount of political science literature encodes this as “bossy personalitysubconsciously interpreting the lack of social privilege as a character flaw.
People in the middle of status hierarchies are more conformist than those above and those below, motivated by the fear of losing their status; Barbara Ehrenreich called him the fear of falling. While the elites feel free to hunt unicorns, the fragile middle class worries about losing what they have, leading to seldom understood class differences in taxation and social redistribution. Americans who have not attended college are 24 percentage points less likely than university graduates to support an increase in the top tax rate. Middle-income voters are less likely than rich or poor to think the government should provide more assistanceit is therefore not surprising that non-university voters in households earning $30,000 to $80,000 opposed making Biden’s child care tax credit permanent. Racism plays a role, but so does class: people who work very hard in unrewarding jobs don’t like paying taxes to support those who don’t work. About two-thirds of non-college white and Latino voters (and nearly 60% of black and Asia-Pacific Islander voters) support work requirements for those on food stamps … yuck. As a progressive, I am in favor of empowering the middle class rather than starving the poor, but Americans generally think that the G.O.P. is better for creating well-paying jobs and conveying respect for hard work. It is a political fault, especially since many Latinos and Asian Americans have come to the United States precisely to pursue the American dream through hard work.
The class culture divide extends to ‘social’ issues. It takes self-discipline to show up, on time and without “attitude”, for blue-collar and pink-collar jobs, so non-elites of all races highly value traditional institutions that anchor self-discipline: religion, the military, and “family values”. My crowd in San Francisco despises these institutions and instead insists on its “sophistication,” i.e. the way elites display their cultural capital to other members of the elite class through artisanal spiritualities and tiny labour-intensive portions of food. While the elites despise the non-elites as unsophisticated, the non-elites despise the elites as insincere and place a higher value on their own “straight talk”. Trump draws on it brilliantly. His own personal rage against elites is sincere – he was never accepted by New York society – and the crude and transgressive tropes that revolt me so much are delightful to his supporters precisely for this reason: Trump is their major.