The latest polls of the Republican presidential primary show a party badly divided by education: Donald Trump’s strong showings are entirely attributable to huge leads among voters without a college degree, while voters with a degree are split among several candidates.
But the Republican Party’s “diploma divide” isn’t new: It was central to the 2012 race, with roles reversed. That year, Mitt Romney’s nomination was attributable to GOP voters with college degrees, while voters without a college degree were split. Ultimately, the 2016 race may come down to which side of the diploma divide unites the fastest and most thoroughly once voting begins.
At a time when Republicans’ leading candidate in national polls and many of his supporters are in the throes of nativism, worried party elders are doing their best to stave off long-term damage to the party’s brand. And while it’s true that the base is seething with hostility toward political correctness, Washington and media elites even more so than in 2012, it’s far from time for party elders to panic.