Anti-intellectual populism has reduced the Republicans to a resentful rump party, writes David Brooks in the New York Times. A movement that once prized good ideas began to rely on bashing the educated as a political tactic. “What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole.” In the process, the party drove away much of the country.
Whole professions have jumped ship on the GOP. “It took talent for Republicans to lose the banking community,” Brooks writes. Sarah Palin captures the essence of this populism, leading a party “squeezed at both ends,” unable to create policy to address working class anxieties, and unable to win the educated elites it demonizes.