Are All Rich People Now Liberals?
Sort of—but it's not a wholesale, or even permanent, realignment.
And nor should we read too much into the 2008 election. It featured a Republican candidate who was unattractive on many levels, especially his economic ignorance. With Obama alienation currently shared by the left and right, I suspect that the long-term beneficiaries of the demographic forces Callahan describes will be socially moderate Republicans whom Democrats love to support. Callahan notes at one point the overwhelmingly Democratic registration in places like New York City—he says 6-to-1—but seems strangely uninterested in the fact that New York has not elected a Democratic mayor since 1989—by far the greatest GOP domination in New York's nearly 350 years of voting for mayors. When money dominates the political system, the palatable Bloombergian billionaire becomes its master.
The real message of Callahan's book is not that the rich have become liberal. It's that American liberalism itself no longer feels the need to espouse an economic agenda that is decidedly different from that espoused by conservatives. Economics has been surgically removed from the realm of politics and transplanted into a technocratic robot that is run by the Federal Reserve and its acolytes. At least for the time being, most liberal politicians don't seem to miss it.
Photograph of a Rolls Royce limousine by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images. Photo illustration by of Rolls Royce with Obama bumper sticker Natalie Matthews.