I’ve thought for years that the great divide in American life is education, and Paul Krugman seems to be coming around to my way of thinking.
How did Georgia turn faintly blue? As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson wrote, in a phrase I wish I’d come up with, the great divide in American politics is now over “density and diplomas”: highly urbanized states — especially those containing large metropolitan areas — with highly educated populations tend to be Democratic.
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In practice, density and diplomas tend to go together — an association that has grown stronger over the past few decades. Modern economic growth has been led by knowledge-based industries; these industries tend to concentrate in large metropolitan areas that have highly educated work forces; and the growth of these metropolitan areas brings in even more highly educated workers.
Yes — and close association with a wide variety of people with different backgrounds and beliefs conduces toward their acceptance and the death of stereotypes. Four years at a residential university doesn’t ‘indoctrinate’ you with liberalism; it kills ignorant preconceptions.