The Right’s Quest to Marginalize Obama Supporters

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This essay from conservative Michael Barone about how Obama supporters are “academics and public employees” while Clinton/McCain supporters are Jacksonians (aka red-blooded Americans) is popping up around the web. Aside from being an overly simplistic reading of America’s culture wars, parts of it are downright loony (“Warriors are competitors for the honor that academics and public employees think rightfully belongs to them,” writes Barone. “Jacksonians, in contrast, place a high value on the virtues of the warrior”).

Jonathan Chait, who efficiently shreds Barone’s argument, calls this what it is, “a conservative anti-intellectual slur.” I think a better way to understand what Barone is getting at is something I linked to in my “dating map” blog post yesterday — Obama takes his support from young voters, African-Americans, and what Richard Florida calls “the creative class.” The creative class is composed of “inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, artists, musicians, designers and professionals in idea-driven industries.” By Florida’s calculations, the creative class makes up about 35 percent of the working population, while the “working class” as traditionally understood makes up just 23 percent. To prove his theory, Florida did some fancy polling with John Zogby that you can check out here. It’s pretty persuasive, though we don’t know their methodology.

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