As we see in patterns of baby names, liberal elites use esoteric cultural references to demonstrate their elevated social position just as conservatives invoke traditional signals of wealth and affluence. Instead of divides between “Red and Blue states,” it is more accurate to say that America is divided not just by “Red and Blue elites,” but also in the ways these elites seek to differentiate themselves from the largely “purple” masses.

That is from a new paper (pdf) by University of Chicago political scientists Eric Oliver, Thomas Wood, and Alexandra Bass that I summarize in my latest post at Wonkblog.  Mike Munger, for his part, seems dubious.  But even if the underlying explanation is somewhat speculative, I thought this was an interesting exploration and a pretty creative use of data.

[You can buy the onesies from Michelle Lunsford at Etsy.]

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

John Sides

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.