One of the Internet’s flaws has always been that for all its diversity, it is unrepresentative in important ways. Even left-leaning blogs and websites have tended to be disproportionately white. It’s an ongoing topic of conversation and source of controversy on these sites.
What makes this cycle so tricky is that the re-emergence of strong class and cultural divides in the election has brought new cleavages to the fore, which are likewise underrepresented among commentators. Not only do you have a whole lot of white folk on Twitter, but you have a whole lot of white professionals with college degrees, disproportionately granted from elite universities. Most of them live in cities and neighborhoods dominated by white professionals with college degrees, disproportionately granted from elite universities, and go to workplaces with similar makeups. Somehow, the pundits look even less like America this cycle than in the past.
I believe that most people in my Twitter feed, left and right, don’t know many genuine Trump supporters, if any. I can count two, maybe three among my Facebook friends, and I went to high school in Oklahoma. It’s the exact problem I discussed back in January: There’s a cosmopolitan vs. traditionalist divide that runs through our politics, with cultural cosmopolitans running both parties.
The fact that Trump is so firmly positioning himself against those cosmopolitans, more so than any national politician since Ronald Reagan, makes it difficult to evaluate his campaign, and deprives us of the conversation we need, because for the first time in a long time, a major party candidate isn’t really trying to curry favor with opinion leaders.