July 2, 2022

The Unbearable Lightness of White College Democrats

Eighty-five percent of counties with a Whole Foods store voted for Joe Biden. That factoid, relayed by The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman, tells you something important about the election — and about today’s Democratic Party.

“The Democracy,” as it was called in the 19th century, long thought of itself as the party of the people, the defender of the little guy, the side that stood up for the folks not able to stand up for themselves.

There was always something to this. From its formation to reelect Andrew Jackson in 1832, the Democratic Party has always been a coalition of groups not considered typical Americans but that together could form a national majority. Naturally, the precise composition of this coalition has changed over time.

Barack Obama’s Democratic Party was a top-and-bottom coalition of those at both ends of the income, education and occupational scales. Obama, who, as an Illinois legislator, gerrymandered a top-and-bottom district for himself, provided substantive and psychological sustenance to both sides.

Joe Biden’s Democratic Party has a different balance. The boy from working-class Scranton, as he is billed, ran best not in factory cities but in university towns.

His highest percentage in Michigan was in the county containing Ann Arbor, not Detroit. He ran stronger in Madison, Wisconsin’s Dane County than in Milwaukee County; stronger in Iowa City than in Des Moines; stronger in Missoula, Montana, with its university than in Butte with its copper mines; just as strong in metro Columbus (Ohio State University) as in metro Cleveland.

Biden’s strongest area in California was the San Francisco Bay (University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University). His strongest county in upstate New York was Tompkins (Cornell University). His strongest counties in North Carolina were Durham and Orange (Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

White college grads — Joel Kotkin’s “gentry liberals,” Arnold Kling’s “highly educated elites” — have become the dominant constituency in the Democratic Party. Even as the descendants of the party’s blue-collar constituents have become Donald Trump Republicans, Democratic percentages among white college graduates have ballooned.

Pew Research Center polling showed white college graduates 50% to 42% Republican in 1994 — the breakthrough year when Republicans captured the House after 40 years of Democratic control — and 57% to 37% Democratic in 2019. That’s happened even as they’ve become a larger percentage of the electorate.

To which an old-time Democratic Party boss — Tammany Hall’s Charles F. Murphy or Chicago’s Richard J. Daley — would have asked, “What do these people want?”

In the 1990s, the answers very fairly obvious. Affluent voters wanted tax rates held down, and they wanted their verdant suburban and trendy central city neighborhoods protected from violent crime and welfare dependency.

Led by Wisconsin’s Tommy Thompson and New York’s Rudy Giuliani, local Republicans and some Democrats cut violent crime and welfare rolls by more than half. In Washington, Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton assisted and encouraged this process and largely froze tax rates.

Today’s college graduates, more numerous than their 1994 predecessors and schooled on increasingly “politically correct” campuses, don’t have such concrete goals. They’re unfazed by marginal Obama-era tax increases and untroubled — so far, anyway — by the vertiginous increases in homicides after the May 25 incident in Minneapolis.

What they want out of politics is not so much anything concrete as it is symbolic: assertions of opposition to what they regard as America’s “systemic racism,” and opposition to assertions of “America first,” whether that means enforcement of immigration laws or “xenophobic” restrictions on travel from China, where COVID-19 originated.

In Democratic primaries, these voters, as I wrote in June, “flitted from one candidate to the next, tilting toward Sen. Kamala Harris after she whacked Joe Biden for opposing busing in the 1970s, then luxuriating in Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s stentorian assurances that, on every issue, ‘I have a plan for that,’ then swooning for the assured articulateness of then-South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”

They seem chemically dependent on denunciations of Donald Trump, to the point that subscription- or ratings-hungry news media feel obliged to lard not just news accounts but even food pages and movie reviews with “Orange Man Bad” sneers. Trump is routinely described as a “racist” with no evidence cited.

White Democratic college graduates’ central faith is that they oppose other Americans’ systemic racism. Nearly a majority of them told pollsters they were bothered that Joe Biden is a white male in his 70s. Only about 30% of black and Hispanic Democrats feel the same, according to Pew. One group has more concern for ethnic origin and personal style than for real-life consequences for actual people.

White Democratic college graduates complain that Trump acts childishly; is impervious to criticism and fixated on symbolic trivia; and refuses to confess error or admit defeat. Fair criticism or self-description? Or both?

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.


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alicia cervera (@guest_1088044)
1 year ago

All thse college rch kids have been indoctrinated into sociaism and think thats a good change for the US. litte do theyknow that withoutt capitalism, they wont have their luxury homes, cars clothes, trips, they will work for the party and party alone. and tthey will deserve it. ENJOY IT you punks! Yor transcripts might be impressive but your brains are totally emply and ignoant of what its like to live under communist rule like may biden will put you trough. Like I say, ENJOY it!

Billy Wilson (@guest_1088144)
Reply to  alicia cervera
1 year ago

Could not agree more.

dan neal (@guest_1088292)
Reply to  alicia cervera
1 year ago

better recognized as brainwashed

Ken Kraus (@guest_1088072)
1 year ago

these over educated under intelligent idots have been taught by the communist idots of the 60’s and 70’s that are now doctorate communist teachers in our over priced universities educating you unintelligent idot students that want every thing free. their communist ideologies will make them poorer than their parents

Bob Fallert (@guest_1088077)
1 year ago

Does anybody, Democrat or Republican really believe that Biden received 80 million votes? That is 15 million more votes that Obama received to set a record high. Does anybody really believe that any candidate can get 80 million votes by campaigning from his basement? Draw crowds of 15 or 20 when out in public. Least black participation since 1960, fewest Hispanic. Who voted for him? Biden won? COME ON MAN.

Billy Wilson (@guest_1088147)
Reply to  Bob Fallert
1 year ago

must check records for dead voting.

Mikeditka89 (@guest_1088195)
Reply to  Bob Fallert
1 year ago

Yeah Bob I been saying it GEORGIA sent out over 1 million ballots yet got back over 2 million, Pennsylvania sent out over 2 million got back over 3 million, and the rest the same there are more ballots returned than were registered voters!! No way Biden got that many votes legally!!!

DWB (@guest_1088207)
Reply to  Bob Fallert
1 year ago

Bob Fallert, I could not agree more about the vote fraud to upset the election.

Ralph Summers (@guest_1088417)
Reply to  Bob Fallert
1 year ago

Biden is and has always been a lier and now he lied his way into the WH , why should he have any reason to stop now??

Francisco Machado (@guest_1090767)
Reply to  Bob Fallert
1 year ago

The deceased are legion! They do not attend rallies, but they do vote.

A Seeker (@guest_1088081)
1 year ago

“As ye sow shall ye reap!” Strangely, the UNIVERCITY students are MINDLESS! They read, but they do not UNDERSTAND! “Seek, first UNDERSTANDING!” Understanidng comes before KNOWLEDGE! That is the reason why those Educated fools are leading people stray from what is Truthful Knowledge, and what is useless idealism!

Katydid (@guest_1088160)
1 year ago

Of course Biden didn’t get 80 million legal votes., Impossible. You college educated liberals should know how to do the math. IMPOSSIBLE.

Shay (@guest_1088175)
1 year ago

Having just conversed with one, it is apparent they are being ” guided” by the colleges to a leftist doctrine. I had to explain what MSM was. They have a ” scorecard ” of sorts that is required to be used when evaluating news networks. Surprise,…Newsmax is at the bottom and OAN isnt even mentioned. The scorecard is put together by the Board of Colleges and rates bias. You have to use this to get points that effect your admission. This is a short version but overall, this is sad. At least she asked. All I could do is tell her to,
keep an open mind and refer her to OAN for different perspectives. They are definitely brainwashing them and they are not even aware ots happened.

Hans Roland (@guest_1088199)
1 year ago

Biden did NOT win the counties you talked about in this article…clearly not doing research before saying what you said.

How about this research…

1. 155 million votes were cast (rounded by a little) from everybody…

2. Hum…there are 153 million registered voters in the country…hum

So if there was 100% turn out (never happens) then there are ONLY 2 million illigal votes in this election…


If 90 % turn out actually voted, then there are about 17 MILLION illigal votes cast…pretty sure none went for Trump, the best President this country ever had.

Case Closed….

Larry Gaines (@guest_1088266)
1 year ago

Democrats do not know what a Democracy is and they don’t want to know or want a Democracy. They are crooked and want to be Dictators

Wayne (@guest_1090724)
1 year ago

Conservatives don’t seem to realize who the real enemies of America are. The stolen election of Duffus Joe Biden, as horrible as it is, does not adequately identify America’s real enemies. As bad as it is… the democrat by illegal aliens, welfare dependents, convicts and ghetto criminals don’t adequately identify America’s real enemies….That distinction belongs to not only the Leftist Media but also to our Leftist universities. Face it…approximately 95% of our college professors are Leftist and not all-that patriotic or loyal to America…and they feel compelled to teach their students just how horrible America is. One need only look at the white kids joining the black racist bigots destroying our cities to see the results of anti-American indoctrination.

Francisco Machado (@guest_1090786)
1 year ago

“Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”
-Vladimir Lenin
Once a doctrine is implanted, like cancer it is difficult to remove. Dogmatists recognize only the implanted truth – all else is lies. A doctrine may represent truth or fantasy – that is irrelevant. It is not the truth but the belief that matters, e.g. Biden’s speech at the Iowa State Fair: “We choose truth over facts” – Doctrinal”truth” over veridical facts.

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