First Taylor Swift, and now the New York Times?

To paraphrase the pop star’s self-examining hit “Anti-Hero,” columnist David Brooks finally admitted to the New York Times and the world that, yes, he and all of the leftist elitists are indeed the problem.

This admission is one that nobody saw coming in either case.

However, like Swift, Brooks evaluates his mistakes but somehow ends up right back where he started — clinging to his myopic worldview while congratulating himself for a moment of insight that still misses the mark.

In his column published Wednesday, titled “What if We’re the Bad Guys Here?” Brooks acknowledged the left’s role in making former President Donald Trump the odds-on favorite to become the 2024 GOP presidential nominee.

Rather than shrink into relative obscurity the way other politicians do after a loss, Trump’s popularity is repeatedly given a boost by the left’s reaction to whatever latest thing they throw at him — and they still can’t quite figure out why.

“Donald Trump seems to get indicted on a weekly basis,” Brooks began with the truth. “Yet he is utterly dominating his Republican rivals in the polls, and he is tied with Joe Biden in the general election surveys,” he pointed out.

“Trump’s poll numbers are stronger against Biden now than at any time in 2020. What’s going on here? Why is this guy still politically viable, after all he’s done?”

Brooks began with the tired “because racism and bigotry” take but, in the pursuit of self-reflection, lands on a closer, if still inaccurate, explanation that also reeks of classism.

In his mind, Brooks believes he and his ilk have created a “meritocracy” that makes Trump’s voters feel excluded and that the former president paints himself as their ally against the system.

“The ideal that we’re all in this together was replaced with the reality that the educated class lives in a world up here and everybody else is forced into a world down there,” Brooks wrote.

“Members of our class are always publicly speaking out for the marginalized, but somehow we always end up building systems that serve ourselves. The most important of those systems is the modern meritocracy,” Brooks argued.

“We built an entire social order that sorts and excludes people on the basis of the quality that we possess most: academic achievement,” the University of Chicago alumnus said.

“Highly educated parents go to elite schools, marry each other, work at high-paying professional jobs and pour enormous resources into our children, who get into the same elite schools, marry each other and pass their exclusive class privileges down from generation to generation,” Brooks noted.

Of course, what he’s labeling a meritocracy is actually more akin to nepotism. Ivy League institutions keep the wealthy in their closed circle with legacy admissions that allow the institutions leverage to attain other woke goals.

That practice is under renewed scrutiny along with race-based admissions, but it reveals more about a rigged system than what Brooks has argued is some paragon of achievement-based rewards.

In fact, the equal rights organization Coalition for TJ tweeted that “elite colleges have ‘bought off’ alumni support for race-based admission preferences with generous legacy preferences – an example of corruption breeding more corruption.”

“We have a better idea. Admissions should be based on individual merit.”

Brooks also admitted that these elite institutions churn out half of all journalists at the major news outlets, despite producing less than 1 percent of college graduates.

This same wealthy, educated, anointed class also crowds America’s cities, which Brooks believes accounts for the stark divide in Trump’s popularity between the rural and urban areas.

What Brooks arguably gets most accurate is the frustration that comes from the way elitists have captured the language and created a chasm between the classes.

“Meanwhile, members of the less-educated classes have to walk on eggshells because they never know when we’ve changed the usage rules so that something that was sayable five years ago now gets you fired,” Brooks pointed out.

The author even brought up the problem of luxury beliefs, whereby the rich and powerful smash a social norm that then decimates the lower class when they adopt the change — only to have the upper classes live traditional lives anyway.


Brooks explained this phenomenon using the example of out-of-wedlock births.

“After this social norm was eroded, a funny thing happened,” Brooks explained. “Members of our class still overwhelmingly married and had children within wedlock. People without our resources, unsupported by social norms, were less able to do that,” he admitted.

Brooks went on to cite the statistic that 60 percent of births to mothers with only a high school education occur outside of marriage, while only 10 percent of births to those with a university degree are to unwed mothers. This is a problem, as single parenthood is the greatest obstacle to upward mobility.

After taking all of this into account, Brooks believes he settled on the reason for such undying allegiance to Trump.

“It’s easy to understand why people in less-educated classes would conclude that they are under economic, political, cultural and moral assault – and why they’ve rallied around Trump as their best warrior against the educated class,” Brooks said.

The author went on to claim that Trump identified the “professional class” as the working class’s adversary and has appealed to them as a person willing to “stick his thumb in our eyes on a daily basis and reject the whole epistemic regime that we rode in on.”

(Perhaps Brooks thinks less educated voters are too stupid to realize that Trump is himself a wealthy man who was educated at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.)

“If distrustful populism is your basic worldview, the Trump indictments seem like just another skirmish in the class war between the professionals and the workers, another assault by a bunch of coastal lawyers who want to take down the man who most aggressively stands up to them,” Brooks continued.

“Of course, the indictments don’t cause Trump supporters to abandon him. They cause them to become more fiercely loyal. That’s the polling story of the last six months,” he added.

“Are Trump supporters right that the indictments are just a political witch hunt? Of course not,” Brooks claimed.

“As a card-carrying member of my class, I still basically trust the legal system and the neutral arbiters of justice,” he acknowledged, again becoming the problem he set out to identify.

“Trump is a monster in the way we’ve all been saying for years and deserves to go to prison,” Brooks continued, essentially negating every other argument.

But still, he adds, “We can condemn the Trumpian populists until the cows come home, but the real question is: When will we stop behaving in ways that make Trumpism inevitable?”

Even while trying earnestly to assess where Trump’s adversaries are wrong, Brooks can’t get out of his own way.

The country club class will never understand Trump, because they can’t possibly understand his voters.

They view Trump through the same lens as they do the middle and lower classes and are blinded by the assumption that they are just stupid, bigoted and unsophisticated.

For all of the problems Trump has in winning over new voters, the biggest advantage is that his enemies don’t understand him or his appeal at all.

Brooks tried — bless his heart — but he reverted right back to “orange man and his voters are bad.”

Self-reflection is difficult, and change based on what it reveals is even more challenging — whether it’s a perenially jilted, aging pop star or a quasi-conservative columnist.

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