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The top 5% are overwhelmingly conservative!

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  • LKS

    Here’s my shocked face:


    • Bill Murray

      I would have guessed that was your “O” face

  • Manju

    Red State – Blue State does to Thomas Frank what Marx did to Hegel.

    IIRC, the poor have not shifted to the RWing party in any meaningful way, outside of the south where their votes for the more economically progressive party was exaggerated due to said party’s racially coercive monopoly.

    Once the Regime fell, liberals freaked out by going all false-consciousness on us (or me, since most of you are them). Having failed to grasp that Jim Crow benefited the more progressive party, they clung to the idea that republicans were tricking the poor into voting against their economic interests by using divisive social issues…first amongst them, race.

    But the only folks who vote on social issues over economic ones in any meaningful way are rich folks in blue states. Ha!

    • Jeremy

      At first, I misread this as being my Murc and was trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about. Then I saw who it was and realized I could ignore you.

      • Murc

        I admit to inflicting my share of abuses on a poor, unsuspecting English language, but to confuse me with Manju? I challenge you to fisticuffs, sir!

        This is what I get for being away from my computer for a whole day and not wading into another debate with joe. My reputation goes RIGHT to hell.

        • firefall

          instead of lingering in Purgatorio?

    • Malaclypse

      or me, since most of you are them

      I am he as you are he as you are me
      And we are all together
      Manju’s the Walrus
      Goo goo g’ joob

      Yellow matter custard
      Dripping from Robert Byrd’s eye
      Crabalocker fishwife
      Democratic racists
      Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl

      • c u n d gulag

        LG&M Hall of Fame worthy!

      • rea

        Here’s another clue for you all
        The Walrus was Ron Paul

        • dave3544

          I once got a trivial pursuit question – Which Beatle was the walrus? – wrong because I answered Paul. Everyone laughed and said of course it was John.

          I learned that day that I Am the Walrus is canonical and Glass Onion merely apocryphal.

          • Bobby Thomson

            Interestingly, Lennon later said that he hadn’t grokked the politics behind The Walrus and the Carpenter and that if he had, it might have been “I am the Carpenter.” Which doesn’t track for shit.

    • Uncle Kvetch


      Boy, you sure told us…something.

      • Walt

        I was surprised when I could understand his point after reading it only three times. A new personal best.

        • Uncle Kvetch

          I was surprised when I could understand his point after reading it only three times.

          Care to share, Walt? All I’m getting is bog-standard “liberals are the real racists, heh indeed” with an overlay of ranting street-corner lunatic. Just another Manju comment, IOW.

          • Njorl

            I think he’s trying to say that the scarecrow represents agricultural interests, the tin man represents industrialists and the cowardly lion represents the lion tamer’s union.

            • Uncle Kvetch

              And the Walrus was Paul. It all makes sense now!

              • Uncle Kvetch

                Oops, rea got there first.

                • rea

                  Although, actually, if you look at the cover of Magical Mystery Tour, it’s fairly clear that the Walrus was John–the Walrus is playing the piano, and there’s a non-Walrus lefthanded bass player in the picture.

                • Hogan

                  Not if you’re looking through a glass onion.

        • firefall

          If you achieved understanding of Manju after only 3 readings, then clearly you have achieved a state of false manju-ness, more study is required.

        • Bill Murray

          practice makes permanent

      • DrDick

        Yes, but we will still be trying to decipher exactly what he told us when the sun goes supernova. I think this takes a prize for incoherence, even for Manju.

        • rea

          The sun is insufficently massive to go supernova on us–the best it can do is an ordinary nova

          • DrDick

            WE will obviously be waiting a very long time to understand this, provided anyone even cares what it means.

        • Halloween Jack

          Manjuology is really pretty simple once you grasp the basic formula: I read this book once, and regardless of what it actually said, it confirms my personal prejudices precisely. (Really your basic wingnut-who-thinks-he’s-a-smart-guy trope, once you discard the extraneous word salad.)

          • Anonymous

            I thought Manju was some kind of parody ala Colbert.

            Maybe the “Santorum surging from behind” comment was just a fluke or a moment of clarity

  • shocking

    Who would have guessed, that among Democrats, the donor class is both the most socially liberal and the most conservative on economic issues.

  • c u n d gulag

    Golly-gee, why would anyone suspect that the richer that people are, the more conservative they are?
    What a dumbass!

    Mr. Murray – George Soros and Warren Buffet are outliers.
    The Kochsucker Brothers are more indicative of reality.
    Well, as long as it “felt right” to enough Conservatives, Mr. Murray knew he should go with it.

    Btw – my favorite part of Frum’s take-down, was when he pointed out that Murray spent all of his time whining about things “coming apart” from 1960-2010, without spending a second telling how things had been put together enough from 1910-1960 to make him feel like things were “coming apart” since then.

    • Charlie Sweatpants

      “Murray spent all of his time whining about things “coming apart” from 1960-2010, without spending a second telling how things had been put together enough from 1910-1960 to make him feel like things were “coming apart” since then.”

      Oh, come on! Everyone knows that the “Founders” killed George III, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne took care of the Indians, and then a Judeo-Christian deity molded some dirt into the shape of Ward Cleaver, breathed life into it, and everything was perfect. Any other reading of American history is politically correct hogwash.

      • efgoldman


      • snarkout

        The man with no name has been made an unperson thanks to his support for Chrysler/Obama/the Wisconsin protestors/Communism. We have always been at war with Eastwoodasia!

        • Hogan

          I don’t remember him killing that many Indians anyway. Mexicans, sure, but not Indians.

  • rea

    It’s not so much that the top 5% are overwhelmingly conservative.

    It’s more that the top 5% arre overwhelmingly pro-top 5%.

    • ploeg

      Hey, I didn’t get to be top 5% from subsidizing looters like you, Looty Loot McLooter.

    • DrDick

      On economic issues, those are the same thing.

  • Steve LaBonne

    Our political system bears a striking resemblance to, say, the France of Louis Philippe. Pretty much naked plutocracy with an extremely perfunctory democratic figleaf.

    • mpowell

      The interesting thing is, this is kind of a system that works. As long as the major power players all have a seat at the table, the chance for major political upheaval is substantially reduced.

      • wengler

        Yeah it works until it doesn’t.

        There’s a difference between suppression of upheaval and actively taking on the issues behind it.

    • John

      Surely somewhat less perfunctory than the July Monarchy. Something like 2% of the adult men in France were allowed to vote under that regime.

  • Honorable Bob

    I think this is a better picture of America.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Until you look at the actual policy preferences of most of the people who call themselves “moderates” (and even some of the “conservatives”)- which turn out to be to the left of Obama.

      Labels, like your comments, don’t mean shit. Especially since your wingnut tribe has labels long and mightily to make the word “liberal” a dirty word among the not-too-bright (who form the real majority group.)

      • Halloween Jack

        Not to mention that the poll is over 2 1/2 years old.

    • DrDick

      I think this is the best picture of disHonorable Boob’s AmeriKKKa.

    • Matt

      The funny thing about that chart is this:


      Dig into the data, and you find that a huge chunk of people who identify as “conservative” are actually (from a policy perspective) to the *left* of about half of the nominal Democrats in Congress.

      • witless chum

        If the Republican Party started advocating for Canadian-style healthcare, a national guaranteed income and a 40 percent cut to the Pentagon tommorrow, anyone think Bob would change his affliation? But if they changed their name, he might.

        A lot of this shit is just tribal. I was looking up cable news ratings the other day and conservatives were posting comments crowing about how the O’Reilly Factor won in the ratings. Even though in conservative imagination, Fox News is the only conservative channel, so the audiences of MSNBC, CNN and HLN should be counted as liberal.

        These people exist on the Dem side too. See anyone who’s a vociferous, but moderate on policy, Democrat.

      • Malaclypse

        Dig into the data,

        Yea, like Boob cares about “facts” or “data.”

        • DrDick

          Or even knows what they are.

  • bobbyp

    What did Marx do to Hegel anyway?

    • Hogan

      Turned him right side up. What this has to do with Thomas Frank I can’t begin to guess.

    • DrDick

      Grounded him in material reality.

    • Bill Murray

      honked a horn at him rather than making an argument

    • Njorl

      What didn’t Marx do to Hegel?

  • If you follow the linkage back to Andrew’s original post, you’ll find a raft of Charles Murray defenders. They seem to have a point about Murray’s argument not being as inconsistent with the data as the quotation suggests.

    That being said, their explanation of Murray’s argument is even more damning (ecological fallacy as applied to “superzips” defined by Murray as New York, Hollywood, and San Francisco). In short, this is just another iteration in the war started by Buckley back in the 1950s: to redefine “elite” as synonymous with “liberal.” For Buckley it was college professors. For Murray wealthy people living in liberal urban areas.

  • BradP

    Anybody have a link to the source data on this?

  • Well of course. In most cases to become rich you need to be smart, and in most cases when you are smart you are conservative :)

    Malaclypse, Uncle Kvetch, I eagerly await your replies…

  • Manju

    Translation of my first comment:

    Thomas Frank popularized a major democratic mythology. In short, Movement Conservatives produced a Republican base made up of working class whites. These folks started voting against their economic interest because Republicans deployed divisive social issues—race, religion, values—in order to get the former democrats to vote for them.

    Statisticians, most notably Larry Bartels, have largely debunked this anecdotal narrative. Bartels determined that the white working class has not abandoned the Democratic Party by doing something obvious. He controlled for Jim Crow…revealing that the electoral shift over which Liberals were so anguished was “entirely confined to the South, where Democratic identification was artificially inflated by the one-party system of the Jim Crow era”.


    Andrew Gelman, who is featured in Scott’s post, takes this one step further. He determined (in 2007) that low-income whites in the South vote in a similar manner to low-income whites in the rest of the country. Contradicting Whats the Matter with Kansas, he told us that the basic CV: The Rich vote Republican, the Poor Democratic, is even more truer today than it was in Frank’s good ‘ol days.

    Values don’t appear to mean much. Except for one quirk. Wealthier states tend to vote Democratic while poorer ones go Republican. Why would this be?

    It turns out that rich southern whites are very very Republican while their Blue state counterparts are much less so. Indeed, they may even vote on values…only liberal ones, like gay marriage. So, after years of hand-wringing over values-voting being bad, it turns out to be good. And while liberals were so upset with the deluded poor, it turns out rich folks were the problem all along.

    Ergo, Frank has been turned on his head. Ha!

    • Malaclypse

      Values don’t appear to mean much. Except for one quirk. Wealthier states tend to vote Democratic while poorer ones go Republican. Why would this be?

      Because liberal economic policies, unlike conservative polices, actually work, and make people wealthier.

      Goo goo g’ joob.

      • Honorable Bob

        Because liberal economic policies, unlike conservative polices, actually work, and make people wealthier.

        Ummmm….I guess that’s why blue states are so wealthy and places like Texas are sucking wind in this recession.

        Also, maybe this explains why the economy is the northeast is so great compared to the South.

        Thanks….thanks for that!

        • witless chum

          Wow, is Bob actually Rick Perry? I figure nobody else is dumb enough to believe this Texas is Awesome! bullshit. And it would really explain a lot.

    • witless chum

      That’s not what Frank actually said. It’s what a lot of people seemed to believe he was saying.

      His book, as I recall it, was actually about people in Kansas. And Kansas is a fairly atypical state nowadays, just as it was in William Jennings Bryan’s day. The actual people Frank profiled, Operation Rescue types, seemed middle class as opposed to working class.

      In short, the book is mostly about rhetoric, not demographics or actual voting pattern.

      The actual argument I read from the book is “(White) Social conservatives vote Republican, even though the Republicans don’t really give them much. They do this because the Democrats no longer deliver the populist economic goods that would give these people a reason to forget about abortion. Also, (this is a huge part) Republicans have redefined the term ‘elite’ from it’s true meaning of the richest and most powerful in the land, to a word meaning college professors and snooty journalists, thus directing populist ire into culture war instead of its proper place in class war.”

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