‘Meet the Press:’ Republican Party is Becoming the Party of the Less Educated

On Sunday NBC’s Meet the Press pondered the possibility of a new “realignment” of America’s two party system following the 2016 election. Moderator Chuck Todd and his panel fretted that the realignment would be based on education, with Republicans getting the short end of the stick. “And I can just point you to this break down of our New Hampshire poll, among college educated voters, she's up 20,” reported Todd, “Among non-college educated voters, he's up 20. There’s your realignment.

Todd was speaking to panelist David Brooks about his latest column in The New York Times about such a realignment. Reading form Brook’s column Todd said, ““Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide is between those who feel the core trends of the global information age economy as tailwinds at their back and those who feel them as headwinds at their face.”

On the show, Brooks warned of “chasms that open up socially” between the well-educated and the poorly-educated, and how you can measure other social aspects with that information. He also shared his worry about what it could mean for an educationally divided country:

And so my question and this is really a serious worry; suppose one party becomes the party of less college and who feel head winds, and that would be the Republican Party, I think. And suppose another party becomes the party of the tail winds because they’ve got college degrees, and that would be the Democratic Party. Suppose our partisan realignment over laps with a class alignment and that to me is extremely problematic for what it says about what’s going to happen.

His fellow panelist Tom Brokaw concurred this the prediction saying that it goes against all preconceived notions the media had about Republicans. “And also this is a profound shift because the Republicans are representing those who don’t have a college education,” Brokaw explained, “We've all grown up with Republicans who are at the high end of the income scale and are the elitists in American life. So this has been turned upside down.

Brooks concluded his column saying, “The social, mental and emotional gap between those two groups is getting wider and wider. That’s the future of American politics. Republicans are town. Democrats are gown. Could get ugly.”

Transcript below: 

NBC
Meet the Press
September 11, 2016
10:52:03 AM Eastern

CHUCK TODD: David Brooks, I want to start with a column you wrote about this idea of a realignment is coming based on a social divide. You write, “Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide is between those who feel the core trends of the global information age economy as tailwinds at their back and those who feel them as headwinds at their face.” And I can just point you to this break down of our New Hampshire poll, among college educated voters, she's up 20. Among non-college educated voters, he's up 20. There’s your realignment.

DAVID BROOKS: For the last 20 years, if you look how people is behaved, you can do huge predictions whether they completed college. How often do they vote? How many friends do they have? How many friends do they have? What's their marriage like? And there are just big chasms that open up socially and this is the first election that we began to see those chasms reflected in the political polling.

And so my question and this is really a serious worry; suppose one party becomes the party of less college and who feel head winds, and that would be the Republican Party, I think. And suppose another party becomes the party of the tail winds because they’ve got college degrees, and that would be the Democratic Party. Suppose our partisan realignment over laps with a class alignment and that to me is extremely problematic for what it says about what’s going to happen.

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TODD: Isn’t that what we’re seeing right now?

TOM BROKAW: And also this is a profound shift because the Republicans are representing those who don’t have a college education. We've all grown up with Republicans who are at the high end of the income scale and are the elitists in American life. So this has been turned upside down.

I think the big, big issue in this country and this election, cutting away everything else is just what David talked about, how do we pull the country back together again? It's separating and going in different directions and there is not been either one of these candidates whose been able to give a city shining on a hill speech like Ronald Reagan, or I have a dream like Dr. King because they’re so determined to separate the country and that is, I think, a terrible prescription for the future.

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