David Brooks discovers Red State Blue State Rich State Poor State!

The New York Times columnist writes:

Our political conflict is primarily a rich, white civil war. It’s between privileged progressives and privileged conservatives. You could say that tribalism is the fruit of privilege. People with more stresses in their lives necessarily pay less attention to politics. . . .

I’ve had some differences with Brooks in the past, but when he agrees with me, I’m not gonna complain.

As David Park, Boris Shor, Joe Bafumi, Jeronimo Cortina, and I wrote ten years ago:

The cultural divide of the two Americas looms larger at high incomes . . . A theme throughout this book is that the cultural differences between states—the things that make red and blue America feel like different places—boil down to differences among richer people in these states.


Consistent with Ronald Inglehart’s hypothesis of postmaterialism, survey data show social issues to be more important to higher-income voters. This can be viewed as a matter of psychology and economics, with social policy as a luxury that can be afforded once you have achieved some material comfort. Our results stand in contradiction to the commonly held idea that social issues distract lower-income voters from their natural economic concerns.

It took a few years, but it seems that our ideas have finally become conventional wisdom.

The post David Brooks discovers Red State Blue State Rich State Poor State! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.