Last night on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah asked Bernie Sanders a question a lot of people have been wondering. Noah said that despite the diversity of the Democratic field, it’s still being led by “old white men.” Noah asked, “How do you respond to criticism that sometimes people say, ‘Oh, isn’t this a time for you guys to step aside?”
Bernie dodged the question, but gave a decent answer, I suppose. “Look, I think the American people have to make that decision, nobody else makes it,” Sanders said. “But I think it is appropriate for people to say, OK, who has been talking about this issue when? Who had the courage to go forward and at what time? So it’s important not to look at just personalities. I think, in American politics, in general, we do too much of that.”
After Bernie answered, Noah said something that kind of surprised me given the political bubble of which I belong, which is to say: Among all of you. Noah talked about how well Bernie has connected with 18-29 voters (which is not a surprise), but also, how he is also leading in the polls among minority voters.
Actually, yes. I mean, it’s early, yada yada yada, but yes: He is leading among black voters. In fact, among the declared candidates (i.e., excluding Biden), Bernie is leading the field among all demographics basically except for one: People with post-graduate degrees who earn over $100,000 a year.
As The Intercept put it, it’s not about race. It’s about class, because Bernie draws his biggest support among those who make less than $50,000, a category that, for systemic reasons, is disproportionately black among Democratic voters.
That’s interesting. It also makes me feel like I’m missing something as a dude with a post-graduate degree (although, sadly not a wealthy dude with a graduate degree), like I’ve suddenly got a blind spot where it comes to class, and well, that doesn’t feel good given my own class upbringing. I mean, I know roughly what the demo is here at Pajiba — the average reader is a 35-year-old woman with a liberal arts degree and a lot of post-graduate degrees in the mix — but if Bernie is the candidate of choice among younger people, minority voters, and those making less than $50,000, are we suddenly out of step with the demographic of the party with which many of us like to think we identity?
I don’t know, but it’s something to consider. All I know is that I don’t feel particularly comfortable identifying with candidates who most appeal to Democrats with post-graduate degrees who earn over $100,000. Are we liberal elitists?
I feel shook by this information.