David Brooks thinks the old party coalitions are dying, and he predicts a new arrangement of American political parties:
Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide today is between those who feel the core trends of the global, information-age economy as tailwinds at their backs and those who feel them as headwinds in their face.Put me down as doubtful on this one. First, it would require Americans who consider themselves conservative to give up their ancient devotion to limited government and free markets. There may be much logic in that, since (as I have always argued) the free market is the greatest destroyer of tradition. But elections are not about logic, and anyway free markets and limited government really are major parts of the American tradition. It is hard for me to imagine Texas voting for a party that advocated higher taxes and more regulation in the name of preserving our heritage.
That is to say, the most important social divide today is between a well-educated America that is marked by economic openness, traditional family structures, high social capital and high trust in institutions, and a less-educated America that is marked by economic insecurity, anarchic family structures, fraying community bonds and a pervasive sense of betrayal and distrust.
These two groups live in entirely different universes. Right now each party has a foot in each universe, but those coalitions won’t last. Before too long the politics will break down into openness versus closedness, dynamism versus stability, what Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic described in 2012 as the Coalition of Transformation versus the Coalition of Restoration.
Second, it assumes that the culture wars will either fade away or somehow come to align themselves with economic interests. Brooks believes that many Sanders supporters, the ones who hate the wealthy elite and want to bring back union factory jobs, will end up in the Coalition of Restoration. But to the young people I know issues of race, homosexuality, trans-acceptance, and the like loom much larger than economics, and I can't see any way for these folks and Trump supporters to sign up together.
So I predict no realignment, just an ever larger percentage of Americans who feel abandoned by both parties.