Category Archive 'Hidden Tribes'

17 Oct 2018

Rich, White Civil War

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Dave Brooks links a new report offering an usual taxonomy of today’s divided America. The study finds, counterintuitively, that the big division is between rich, old, white geezers on the Left and on the Right.

Every few years one research group or another produces a typology of the electorate. The researchers conduct thousands of interviews and identify the different clusters American voters fall into.
More in Common has just completed a large such typology. It’s one of the best I’ve seen because it understands that American politics is no longer about what health care plan you support. It’s about identity, psychology, moral foundations and the dynamics of tribal resentment.

The report, “Hidden Tribes,” breaks Americans into seven groups, from left to right, with names like Traditional Liberals, Moderates, Politically Disengaged and so on. It won’t surprise you to learn that the most active groups are on the extremes — Progressive Activists on the left (8 percent of Americans) and Devoted Conservatives on the right (6 percent).

These two groups are the richest of all the groups. They are the whitest of the groups. Their members have among the highest education levels, and they report high levels of personal security.

We sometimes think of this as a populist moment. But that’s not true. My first big takeaway from “Hidden Tribes” is that our political conflict is primarily a rich, white civil war. It’s between privileged progressives and privileged conservatives.

RTW Brooks editorial.

Whack that hippie with your cane, Tripp!


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