Wow, blinders surgically implanted in heads all around here.

As a 67-year-old lifelong (until 2022) liberal Democrat and activist who has worked as a volunteer on multiple Democrat campaigns at all levels (starting with George McGovern in 1972), I am here to tell you that Brooks is right and you are wrong.

I was first red-pilled by Will Thomas, the liar, coward, bully, and thief who stole a national championship from its rightful winner, Emma Weyant. (Say her name!) When the eight Ivy presidents wrote their heinous letter in support of the thief, I was ready to tear up my own Ivy diploma and mail the scraps back to the idiot who is now the puppet-show president of my formerly distinguished school (but I don't know which box in the garage has my diploma in it ...).

Related, but far far worse, is the crime against humanity of child mutilation and sterilization that is fully backed by all Democrats. Democrats in California (and many other blue states) have recently passed new laws allowing the State to remove custody of a child from parents who refuse to sign off on mutiliation and sterilization of their kid. It's grotesque, and it's as authoritarian and anti-liberal as can possibly be imagined.

Add to that the blatant crude disgusting anti-Asian racism of the Left (I was told 25 years ago by a University of California Dean about how UC suppressed Asian enrollment to keep the whites in the California Legislature from freaking out, despite "affirmative action" being illegal in California), and now it's finally, FINALLY, All Too Much.

I voted straight Republican in the California open primary in 2022 (first time in my life I ever voted for a Republican), and again in the general. And I will do it again in 2024, including for POTUS, even if Trump is the nominee.

And if you think there aren't more people like me out there, you're wrong.

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Yes, by all means, roll your eyes. Keep rolling them when Trump wins. You will have only yourself to blame when your strategy of Deplorables 2.0 crashes and burns: https://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Inside-Hillary-Clintons-Campaign/dp/0553447084

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"Keep rolling them when Trump wins." Right, just like you were right about McGovern. I remember well the impractical passion of McGovern supporters. Now you're a big fan the Trump party.

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I hope that most voters in 2024 will understand that there is more at stake in the Trump vs Biden 2024 election than what's wrong with transgender policy and with the most disgusting racist behavior of some of those on the left.

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Biden is one of those disgusting racists: "not a normal court" he said, when SCOTUS ruled that no, actually, anti-Asian racism is still racism. Has ANY Democrat given SCOTUS the praise they deserve on this? No.

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There are lots of non-racist reasons it's not a normal court and some non-racist reasons to oppose that particular ruling. I like the ruling because it has caused a focus on legacy admissions. Asians, like other minorities, don't get legacy admissions.

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Dan's critique is good on many points. I would add that Brooks' argument removes any agency from those supposedly left behind by American institutions. Trumpism wasn't the only option. In other settings, left populists have won this segment and countries with stronger parties political have incorporated this backlash without resorting to extremes.

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Re the staff of the NYT and the WSJ, one might note that the two papers have editorial pages that are almost diametrically opposed to one another. One might almost think that Mr. Brooks does not know that Saul Steinberg's famous map of the U.S. was supposed to be, you know, "funny".

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To nitpick a little more, "29 most elite" is sort of a ridiculous phrase. If you had to include 29 schools to get to 50%, the narrowness of the available pool may be less than you think.

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29 most elite is not ridiculous at all as US News rated 1452. How absurd us “top 2%”. Seems kinda reasonable to me.

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It's all relative I suppose.

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I'm appreciative of the article and think folks should realize Dan's not "cancelling," David Brooks--he's just providing some warranted critique. It's notable that, after 2016, Brooks admonished himself in a similar fashion and said he'd dedicate himself more to getting out to places like the rust belt and Appalachia, talking to people, and finding out why such places had allowed Trump a flanking maneuver in the election (how a place like W. Virginia, long a bastion of the Dems, had voted for W. Bush (only the 4th time since 1932) and become steadily more GOP since--69% for Trump in 2020). I think that's been his basis of thought ever since, but, as Dan pointed out, needs some updating. I THINK I have a partial explanation for that shift in the past 7 years--and it relates to Gen X--but it's just intuitional/anecdotal.

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Aug 5, 2023·edited Aug 5, 2023

Dan, have you read Ruy Teixeira on this same subject?

As a divergent analysis, you might want to consider this:


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David Brooks still has a job?

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Don’t cancel David Brooks. He has a right to say what he wants - it’s his free speech.

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A critique is not the same as canceling.

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(And especially not when the critique is so well done.)

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"To claim progressive elites control all of America’s important institutions, you first have to define the following as powerless:

The Supreme Court, many lower courts, U.S. Senators, the Electoral College, states (including two of the biggest, Texas and Florida), the most-watched news network, some of the most-read websites, some of the biggest podcasts, the most shared pundits on Facebook, a bunch of religious institutions (that don’t have to pay taxes), a lot of the business world (energy, finance, agriculture, etc.), police unions, and more."

This only works if you assume that at least the majority of elected Republicans support Trumps platform which they don't. Trump has a lot of support because many have finally seen that we don't have a 2 party system in DC but a 1 party, the uni-party. Granted those in the uni-party still put on a good show when the cameras are rolling just as they do in professional wrestling. Even behind teh scenes there are times when the 2 clash but regardless of whether DC is Democrat controlled or Republican controlled it's always working towards the goals of the global elite and not the desires of their constituents. Those on the LEFT can't see this because they view any/all acts against the Right including any that are unconstitutional, as being justified because orange man bad and yes it really is that childish a reason.

Those of us who can see the uni-party corruption call those people establishment hacks because they are hacks (i.e. political goons) for the elite, those with power and resources as well as influence. Any persons who claim to be Republican who view T rump as Hitler can't see the uni-party because they trust the news media which has since 2016 proven it does not report the news, it manufactures it to fit an agenda.

TIP: If you are going to continue to burry you're head in teh sand and ignore this be sure to make the most of what little time is left b/c your support of their plan whether you realize you are supporting it or not, is coming and when it gets here those who helped with the take over and over throw of the American Constitution will be just as imprisoned and beaten and killed as those who resisted as that's how all coups work.

NOTE: No January 6th was NOT an insurrection or a coup. You can't have those wiothout the person being armed with actual firearms and lots of them./ Only the #WokeAuthoritarianLeft can look at Jan 6thn and see an insurrection as they've been fully programmed to do/believe whatever the system tells them

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My first read of your work and it’s splendid analysis. Looking forward to reading more as more unbelievable plot lines play out in Trump Agonistes. In full agreement with your analysis of David Brooks, the last of the civilised conservatives. Reading him Is to nod in occasional agreement and head shake in disbelief at his blind spots. Like most non-Americans I got to know him playing right field to the irreplaceable Mark Shields on PBS Newshour. Back then, he always seemed to not quite get there as a pre-mature Never Trumper, and nowadays I find his explanations seems to lose clarity when the facts invite him to hold in contempt the contemptible. The whole Republican Party is ramshackle, reactionary and rotten to the core and needs to be razed to the ground rather than extensions built.

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I think you are confusing political and social power. The right has worked to gain political power. The federalist society took decades to fight back against left wing dominance of the courts and legal profession. But the right doesn’t have anywhere near as much social power: Hollywood, 98% of the press, the federal bureaucracy, almost every single university, all non-profits that aren’t explicitly right wing (so 99%), and the wealth centers of both coasts. These are all the domains of leftists or centrists that cave to the progressive left at the first sign of trouble. True there are conservative elites in Texas and Florida and they control some corporations (but look at the ESG plans of more Fortune 500s). It’s not like they have no power but they distinctly lack social power. I’m betting we are witnessing the birth of new conservative movements in those areas with Chris Rufo and Vivek Ramaswamy. I also think the declining margin for Biden and the Dems with minorities is something to really watch. It could be the left’s cultural power is backfiring and weakening it’s political power.

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" . . . centrists that cave to the progressive left at the first sign of trouble."

That's a RW myth about Dems. Biden and the center of the party has not caved on things that matter, though they are often silent on things that don't matter (e.g., pronouns.) They've opposed defund the police, open borders, and much else of the far-left agenda. Biden is against pack the court.

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David Brooks has made a career being wrong, but he serves his purpose of pretending that conservatives are better than they are. Read any of the many articles by Driftglass. An example:


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From the NYT Brooks article:


‘We anti-Trumpers often tell a story to explain that. It was encapsulated in a quote the University of North Carolina political scientist Marc Hetherington gave to my colleague Thomas B. Edsall recently:

“Republicans see a world changing around them uncomfortably fast, and they want it to slow down, maybe even take a step backward. But if you are a person of color, a woman who values gender equality or an L.G.B.T. person, would you want to go back to 1963? I doubt it.”

If a political scientist has the balls to posit this as a reflection of general republican preferences i.e. the truth, rather than as a reflection of his partisanship, Brooks probably has a point. Republican voters want to travel back to the year before the civil rights act?

And that’s not a ‘nut paragraph’?

The Brooks article has a link to another piece that sheds more light on the origins of the most recent polarization:


PS For the commenters below, and others, who couldn't access the NYT article because of the paywall i'd suggest you familiarize yourself with WayBackMachine:

1 Copy the link of the paywalled article;

2 Paste in Way Back Machine: https://web.archive.org/

3 Give it a few - or more - seconds

4 Scroll down to the calendar and put the cursor on one of the blue or green dots and click on one of the date-options. Give it a few secs again;

5 Most of the times you get the article, but sometimes you don't, mostly because the article is too knew and no one has uploaded it (i guess a well read columnist like Brooks gets uploaded quick). If you don't have success with your first option, try others where you find them on the calendar, that regularly works.

WaybackMachine is part of the Web Archive, you'll find an amazing amount of free articles, documentaries, music, series and movies there:


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Aug 5, 2023·edited Aug 6, 2023

Joël writes, "If you are a person of color, a woman who values gender equality or an L.G.B.T. person, would you want to go back to 1963?"

I might well want to go back to the LBJ era -- 1964-69, minus Chicago '68.

As a kid back east, I was thrilled when my folks moved to suburbia, a few minutes' drive from the Walt Whitman Mall. Eventually, I moved to the West Coast. To this day, I'll take Pat Brown's vision of California over Gavin Newsom's or Scott Wiener's stack-and-pack urbanism. A(n electric) car in every garage! If I wanted density, I'd have moved to the Bronx.

As a gay male, I resent being characterized as "LGBT" -- let alone "queer." I’ve fought all my adult life to advance a recognition that there's nothing "Queer" about same-sex attraction. I’m attracted to guys; I’ve never hidden that fact, and (as my parents raised me) I’m proud simply to be myself.

As I lament to my cat these days, "Lucy, I don't think we're in Woodstock anymore!"

Lots of experimentation (and cute, long-haired guys) back then. You can keep the current resurgence of race-consciousness and "gender identity"!

"Reckon" with that!

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I was with him right up until the line: "...whole epistemic regime that we rode in on."

That sentiment alone is enough to keep me laughing for the foreseeable future. Going to college and getting a degree these days is a fickle litmus test for ones "knowledge."

I am also highly dubious of anyone that says they have high level cognition (and is well educated) but also believes there are more than two genders.

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Joe Biden and every Democrat in Congress believes there are more than two genders.

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Yeah, they are the enlightened and intelligent ones! According to Drezner and Brooks...

...they are smarter and know more than the last 10,000 years of human history and combined intelligence before them that figured out there were two genders, and only two genders. It only took about 10 years, but he we are, among the enlightened.

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There are two sexes; that's biology. "Gender" is a social fiction. My cat is smart enough not to bother with "gender."

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I don’t know if Brooks point is accurate or not - the paywall makes it impossible to properly assess his arguments. But it IS true that a great many trump supporters, and right-wingers in general, believe it to be true.

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