Search This Blog

Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Education Polarization

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.

Eric Levitz at MSN:
In political-science parlance, the collapse of the New Deal–era alignment — in which voters’ income levels strongly predicted their partisan preference — is often referred to as “class dealignment.” The increasing tendency for politics to divide voters along educational lines, meanwhile, is known as “education polarization.”

There are worse things for a political coalition to be than affluent or educated. Professionals vote and donate at higher rates than blue-collar workers. But college graduates also comprise a minority of the electorate — and an underrepresented minority at that. America’s electoral institutions all give disproportionate influence to parts of the country with low levels of educational attainment. And this is especially true of the Senate. Therefore, if the coalitional trends of the past half-century continue unabated — and Democrats keep gaining college-educated votes at the expense of working-class ones — the party will find itself locked out of federal power. Put differently, such a development would put an increasingly authoritarian GOP on the glide path to political dominance.

And unless education polarization is substantially reversed, progressives are likely to continue seeing their reform ambitions pared back sharply by Congress’s upper chamber, even when Democrats manage to control it.