The key theme is status — a fundamental conviction that elites of the big four metropolitan powers of Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Manhattan and Washington wore a collective, fixed sneer toward their lessers between the coasts. Midwestern swing voters felt, to use the cliche from sports, “disrespected.”
“Trump voters are acutely conscious of the disdain in which they are held,” Zito and Todd wrote, and the same emotional current runs through Balz’s reporting. That’s a profoundly bad dynamic for the country.
On my radio show last Friday, I spoke with historian and classicist Victor Davis Hanson about this deep divide. I noted that there was an analogy in the distant past: the “Social War” of the late Roman Republic, also known as the “Friends War” or “Allies War,” which pitted the peoples of the Italian peninsula against the vast might and wealth (and status) of Rome itself. Hanson spoke to the similarities and the differences, the greatest of which, thank goodness, is that the ancient battle was a blood feud and ours is a political struggle. But the similarity, too, is profound: The center of wealth and power allowed itself to become alienated from the much larger geographical region on which it depended.