Our country has been around long enough now that the tag “elite” no longer requires any connection to England; attending private prep schools and Ivy League universities will do the trick just fine. Kavanaugh gets a pass from Trumpist anti-elite disdain for obvious reasons: He’s a white Catholic conservative Republican. He’s a member of the tribe in good standing. Slightly less obvious, perhaps, is his professed love of beer, lifting weights, and sports — these are “one of the guys” qualities that can get help you pass through the right wing’s anti-elite laser alarm system.
But being “one of the guys” can only take you so far. Outspoken liberals who come from humble backgrounds — say, LeBron James — will never endear themselves to Republicans. Anti-elitism on the right metastasized from its Anglophobic origin to include Buckley’s snooty Harvard professors — the “academic elite.” Today there is also the “media elite” and the “Hollywood elite.” Or a catchall “liberal elite” that resides in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington.