The Republican Party was once, and not that long ago, primarily the party of Greed and Selfishness. To win elections, it was forced to embrace another wing: Hatred and Bigotry. The cross pollination between the two wings evolved into a most unfortunate Frankenstein's Monster: the party of Ignorance, Delusion, Cheating, increasingly populated by just one overriding demographic: the poorly educated.
On Meet The Press this morning, John Boehner-- who's been all over the news peddling his new book and who may have been sober today-- called Marjorie Taylor Greene's now abandoned Anglo Saxon Caucus "one of the nuttiest things I've ever seen... America is a land of immigration. We've been the world's giant melting pot for the last 200 years. And we've got to celebrate that we're this giant melting pot; [members of the GOP should] denounce it." Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) already did and said that anyone who joins, should-- like Greene-- be kicked off their committee positions. So far that would mean neo-fascists Paul Gosar (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Louie Gohmert (TX) and Barry Moore (KKK).
Greene's appeal, though, is undeniable. This quarter, she raised more money-- most of it in small donations-- than any other members of Congress other than Nancy Pelosi and GOP whip Steve Scalise (and basically tied Scalise at $3.2 million). But that appeal is basically to bigots and morons, mostly bigoted morons. Educated people? Ahhh... no.
And that helps illustrate Dante Chinni's report for NBC News on the partisan realignment that is gripping America. Uneducated voters with limited or no critical thinking abilities are embracing the GOP, as college educated voters flee a party increasingly tied to an alternative reality. she reported that "Data from the Pew Research Center show that, increasingly, different people are populating the two major political parties-- with Republicans and Democrats moving in sharply different directions among college-educated voters. At the beginning of this century, Republicans held an 11-point edge on party affiliation among college-educated voters. By the time Barack Obama was president, the figures had flipped to become a 4-point edge for the Democrats. And as President Trump’s term was winding down, the numbers had come full-circle and the Democrats had a 13-point edge among college-educated voters on party affiliation."
That's a big deal because the higher the level of educational attainment, the higher the propensity to vote-- especially in non-presidential elections, like, for example, midterms. In the 2018 midterms, 64% of college graduates voted, as did 52% of people with some college and 39% of people with high school diplomas. Among highs school dropouts-- the new GOP base-- only 20% voted.
This is going to prove especially difficult for Republicans to contend with when it comes to decidedly anti-intellectual candidates espousing crackpot QAnon theories, claiming Trump was robbed of the presidency and that the pandemic is a hoax, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Lauren Boebert (CO), Mad Cawthorn (NC), Paul Gosar (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Mary Miller (IL), Devin Nunes (CA), Gym Jordan (OH), Beth Van Duyne (TX), Jody Hice (GA), Clay Higgins (LA), Andrew Clyde (GA), Andy Biggs (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX) and Mo Brooks (AL). The only thing that can save their political careers are districts gerrymandered to include massive numbers of uneducated, low brain-function voters.
A few years ago, the NY Times published a piece by Nate Cohn with a list of the 15 most highly-educated districts in the country, the only districts where at least half the population was college-educated. Regardless of state, none voted for Trump and none have Republican representatives in Congress. These are the districts, along with their current member of Congress (and Trump's 2020 percentage of the vote):
NY-12-- Carolyn Maloney (14.8%)
CA-33-- Ted Lieu (29.0%)
CA-18-- Anna Eshoo (21.3%)
VA-08-- Don Beyer (21.1%)
NY-10-- Jerry Nadler (22.9%)
GA-06-- Lucy McBath (43.7%)
WA-07-- Pramila Jayapal
CA-12-- Nancy Pelosi (11.9%)
MA-05-- Katherine Clark (23.9%)
CA-52-- Scott Peters (34.2%)
CA-17-- Ro Khanna (25.6%)
VA-10-- Jennifer Wexton (39.6%)
MD-08-- Jamie Raskin (28.9%)
VA-11-- Gerry Connolly (28.3%)
IL-05-- Mike Quigley (26.0%)
A year later, the New American Economy Research Fund published a study showing the education levels of districts that flipped in 2018. They reported that 43 districts flipped from Republican to Democratic. The chief common theme to nearly every one of these districts was demographic change in suburban and swing districts.
In all districts that flipped, the number of college-educated adults increased sharply. In all but two there were at least 10,000 more college-educated adults in 2018 than there were in 2013.
In all districts that flipped, the share of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree increased. In the district with the greatest change, California’s 45th district, the college-educated share of the population grew by 8.5 percentage points in just 5 years, or 75,868 people. Even in the district with the smallest change, California’s 21st district, the college-educated share in population increased by 0.1 percentage points, or 2,771 people, more than three times the margin of victory for Democrat T.J. Cox.
In 23 of the districts that flipped, the number of new, college-educated residents outnumbers the margin of victory in this year’s midterm elections.
In all but four of the districts that flipped, the share of Asian American and Hispanic American eligible voters increased in the last 5 years.
...In many of these districts, the Republican candidate ran on an explicitly anti-immigrant platform. And while it’s impossible to know exactly why any voter votes the way they do, it is clear that among these rapidly growing groups-- college-educated, Hispanic, and Asian American voters-- that message did not resonate. In Virginia’s 10th district, incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock ran anti-immigrant ads that focused on MS-13 in an area that has added more immigrant residents than any other major county in the United States in recent years, including 13,000 immigrant voters in the last two years alone. Add that to the nearly 38,000 new college-educated voters this district has added since 2013 and it is not surprising Rep. Comstock lost to pro-immigrant Democrat Jennifer Wexton by more than 45,000 votes.
Last November, Brookings reported that "among white voters with college educations, there were notable shifts in Biden’s direction. White male college graduates reduced their support for Trump from 14% to 3%. At the same time, white female college graduates boosted their Democratic support from 7% to 9% nationally. Moreover, in key battleground states, white female college graduates generally registered greater support for Biden in 2020 than they did for Hillary Clinton in 2016... [Arizona] is a state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996. While rapidly diversifying, its older white population has leaned heavily toward Republicans. This time was different; white college graduate women and men flipped sharply toward Democrats, from 2016 Republican advantages of 2% and 12%, respectively, to 2020 Democratic advantages of 15% and 3%... The biggest swings from Georgia’s 2016 results were reduced Republican support among white college-educated men and women. The former saw its Republican margin shrink from 55% to 12% between 2016 and 2020; the latter’s shrank from 29% to 10%.
Remember Dante Chinni's report for NBC on partisan realignment up top? The Wall Street Journal published a close up political look at Ohio by the same reporter this morning. He wrote that politically, the state is in far more flux than it appears on the surface. Trump won by 8.07 points in 2016 and 8.02 points last year-- but there was a lot of change to see when you scratch the surface. He focused on 2 counties, writing that "Delaware County, just north of Columbus, the state capital, moved away from Trump by 9 percentage points. Pike County, 90 minutes to the south, moved toward him by 12 points. Both have voted for the Republican candidate for president in every election since 2000, including 2020. But stark demographic differences between them illustrate larger political shifts in Ohio and beyond. Delaware County is growing, and Pike is shrinking. More than half the adult population in Delaware has a college degree. In Pike, the figure is about 13%. Delaware’s median household income is well over double that of Pike. The population in both counties is mostly white, though Pike’s is more so. And in the past few elections the two have changed places. Delaware, once solidly GOP, voted for Trump by less than 7 percentage points, and Pike-- once a hotly contested battleground that Republican Mitt Romney won by a single vote in 2012-- gave Mr. Trump a 49-point margin of victory in 2020."
The two counties illustrate a broad trend in American politics, particularly in the industrial Midwest, where Trump has changed the political dynamics in a big way. Since the turn of the century, poll data show suburban and college-educated voters have trended Democratic, while rural voters without degrees have drifted toward the GOP. Mr. Trump seems to have speeded that shift. What happens with the vote in Pike and Delaware in Ohio’s 2022 gubernatorial and Senate races might shed light on Trump’s long-term impact on American politics.
...The seven counties in the state that shifted more than 4 percentage points away from Trump were above the state’s average for college degrees, and most were far above it. The 34 counties that shifted toward Trump by more than 4 points were below the state’s average for bachelor’s degrees, most far below.
...Delaware County’s population has grown by more than 20% since 2010, and in that time the percentage of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree, increasingly a group of strength for Democrats, has climbed 5 percentage points to more than 54%.
...Brindi Hellinger, a registered Republican in Delaware County, voted for Trump in 2016, but his behavior pushed her to vote for Biden in 2020. “As time went by it just got more and more ridiculous,” she said. “I thought [Trump] was buying into his own propaganda and in the end he just wanted to be a potentate.”
Previous election results suggest Trump cost the GOP a lot of votes in the county in 2020. Between 2000 and 2016, every Republican presidential candidate won the county by at least 16 points. As recently as 2012, Romney carried the county by more than 23 points in an election in which Ohio voted for Democrat Barack Obama.
The question is whether the movement in Delaware County will continue with Trump out of elected office. Jon Bennehoof, a Republican city councilman in Powell in Delaware Co., has concerns about the coming U.S. Senate race because county Republicans are already divided.
“You know, I think we’re going to have a problem here,” he said. “I think we’re going to have like seven people running for this seat…It’s going to be a highly fractured decision.”