Anti-Trump New York Times columnist David Brooks shocked political commentators on Twitter when he admitted he and the so-called “elite” have used self-serving tactics to maintain power and a sense of moral superiority over the Trump supporters they detest.
“I ask you to try on a vantage point in which we anti-Trumpers are not the eternal good guys. In fact, we’re the bad guys,” Brooks wrote in a column Wednesday.
“Over the last decades we’ve taken over whole professions and locked everybody else out,” Brooks wrote of the liberal elite in America. The column detailed how the “educated class” imagine themselves as the “forces of progress and enlightenment” to appease their own egos, as part of a broader tale that paints them as enlightened and Trump supporters as bigots and fools.
Brooke pointed out that in the media world that was once a working-class profession, Ivy League and other elite-level college graduates have come to dominate major newsrooms.
“When I began my journalism career in Chicago in the 1980s, there were still some old crusty working-class guys around the newsroom. Now we’re not only a college-dominated profession, we’re an elite-college-dominated profession,” he wrote.
Brooks wrote that members of the liberal elite “also segregate ourselves into a few booming metro areas: San Francisco, D.C., Austin and so on.”
The “educated class'” dominance also extends to politics on a national level, he wrote. “Armed with all kinds of economic, cultural and political power, we support policies that help ourselves.”
“We built an entire social order that sorts and excludes people on the basis of the quality that we possess most: academic achievement. Highly educated parents go to elite schools, marry each other, work at high-paying professional jobs and pour enormous resources into our children, who get into the same elite schools, marry each other and pass their exclusive class privileges down from generation to generation,” Brooks wrote.
He added this same group has increasingly used buzzy language like “problematic,” “cisgender” and “Latinx” that alienates the less-educated class and further divides.
Brooks, a fierce opponent of Trump who has called for his imprisonment, said it made sense that working-class Americans would flock to a candidate who’s waged war on the establishment that’s only out for itself, adding Trump was a “monster” and the elites had correctly identified him as such.
“It’s easy to understand why people in less-educated classes would conclude that they are under economic, political, cultural and moral assault — and why they’ve rallied around Trump as their best warrior against the educated class,” he wrote.
Trump, who faces unprecedented criminal charges on multiple fronts, has opened up an enormous lead in the 2024 GOP field and is the clear frontrunner to win the Republican White House nomination for the third straight time.
Journalists and political commentators were divided between praise of Brooks’ apparent honesty and criticism of his piece on Twitter.
Economic Progress senior fellow Russ Greene lambasted Brook for his analysis of elite control of American institutions in a tweet Thursday.
“Surveying modern America. One does not get the impression of elite institutions ruthlessly focused on competence and bottom-line outcomes. Not sure what David Brooks is smoking.” He wrote in another tweet that America’s problem isn’t “excess elite competence.”
“I give David Brooks a lot of credit here. There is self-awareness here, and a willingness to admit that perhaps his position in life wasn’t entirely due to his talent and intellect. He’s so close,” longtime radio journalist Celeste Headlee wrote Thursday.
“Holy cow this David Brooks column is a barn-burner!” National Pulse junior editor Will Upton tweeted. “I mean… he’s finally figured it out!” Upton shared screenshots of Brooks’ claims that “Trump understood that there was great demand for a leader who would stick his thumb in” the eyes of the liberal elite “on a daily basis and reject the whole epistemic regime that we rode in on.”
“We can condemn the Trumpian populists all day until the cows come home, but the real question is when will we stop behaving in ways that make Trumpism inevitable,” Brooks wrote. The line prompted a response from Fox News contributor Ben Domenech.
“Read this, my anti-Trump friends,” Domenech told his followers.
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