Allen: “Elites Are Starting to Look Around”

Trump voters

The election of Donald Trump is forcing some educated elites to take a look around in an attempt to understand their fellow Americans who voted for the new POTUS.

Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen, one of those elites, thinks this is healthy for our democracy.

Here is a taste of her Washington Post op-ed, “Trump’s Presidency is Teaching Elites Like Me a Lesson.”

This brings me to the issue of we, the elites. One of the key questions for any effort to rebuild our capacity to collaborate is whether members of the professional elite can recover a commitment to the people as a whole, and not merely to those who live near them — near us, I should say — in urban enclaves.

The good news is that those of us who win coveted seats at the top colleges and universities, and jobs that earn the wage premiums of our knowledge-dependent economy, have started to try to see how we look from the perspective of those we often fail to see. There’s Nicholas Kristof journeying to Oklahoma and the huge popularity of J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy.” The research work of Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case about increases in mortality rates in the white working class has by now fueled many investigative reports about rural America.

Of course, the working class impacted by our economic travails also includes many black and brown people. We shouldn’t forget this in our hurry to see people we’ve been overlooking. Similarly, we shouldn’t downgrade the issue of mass incarceration. For that matter, too much of rural America is dependent on jobs in prisons in out-of-the-way places. That, too, is something we should notice.

But at least we elites are starting to look around.

Read the entire piece here.