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April 23, 2018

SO YESTERDAY I MENTIONED THAT SALENA ZITO AND BRAD TODD HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS: The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Press analysis of the election returns and exit poll data highlighted Trump’s softness among college-educated voters, but it left out a critical exception to that trend. Trump did very well among the college-educated in counties further away from major cities — a vital component of the record margins he assembled in those non-metropolitan counties.

Part of this schism can be explained by social pressure that might be unique to the 2016 election. In counties with far more than the national average of 29.8 percent of adults with bachelor’s degrees, Trump fared poorly. Of America’s one hundred most educated counties, he carried only nineteen — Romney had carried twenty-six in defeat and outpolled Trump in almost all of them by significant margins. Simply put, Americans who live their lives among a group of friends and neighbors with varied educational backgrounds preferred Trump more than Clinton or Romney, while college-educated Americans who live exclusively among other degree holders were less likely to support Trump, even if they were otherwise Republican.

Trump’s performance among college-educated voters who live in counties below the national average in education levels was right on the republican par — particularly in midsize and smaller counties in the Great Lakes swing states that determined the outcome of the election.

These voters did not face the kind of social pressure to oppose the lewd and coarse Trump that their college-educated peers did in the suburbs.

I wrote about this phenomenon back before the election.

And GOP strategists might profitably look at ways to jam the Democrats’ self-herding mechanisms aimed at keeping voter populations on the plantation, whether for educated suburban whites or poor blacks. Allowing even modest amounts of defection there is disastrous for the Democrats’ narrow coalition.