Over the past 15 years, the motley coalition that makes up the Democratic Party has undergone what one researcher calls a “dramatic demographic change” in a new paper published by the neoconservative Manhattan Institute. Sociologist Zach Goldberg has uncovered a new and growing class divide not just between Democrats and Republicans, but within the Democratic Party itself. And it’s a divide that maps onto race.

Though the white share of Democrats has declined significantly, it’s mostly whites without a college degree who are abandoning the party. White Americans who remain Democrats are increasingly likely to be college-educated, while nonwhite Democrats tend to lack college degrees.

The current Democratic coalition thus marries white elites with working-class people of color, “exacerbating socioeconomic inequalities within the coalition,” as Goldberg puts it. “Those with a college education tend to be wealthier and have higher socioeconomic status than those without, but they also tend to be more socially liberal and more likely to prioritize post-material moral concerns over kitchen-table issues.” And because education and wealth correlate with political power, “the Democratic Party will likely become a majority-minority party relatively soon, but one that is still largely and disproportionately steered by liberal, college-educated whites.”

We have already seen where credentialed elites have navigated what was once the political vehicle of labor: nowhere near the working class’s priorities.

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