To the editor: I’ve learned a lot from insightful opinion pieces in the Los Angeles Times, but I was dismayed to read Joel Stein’s assertion in his article on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential candidacy and the public’s aversion to elites that the “main factor in Donald Trump’s win wasn’t economic anxiety.”
Deaths of despair (suicide, drug overdoses and alcoholism) have become so widespread in the U.S. that they’re dragging down life expectancy for the whole country, and the correlation between electoral districts hardest hit by this scourge and their votes for Trump ought to make Stein reconsider his claim.
Maybe we Americans resent the elites of both major parties because our jobs are precarious, we’ve mortgaged our futures for our kids’ education, and our healthcare system is a cruel joke — not to mention an infrastructure that’s crumbling in the face of climate catastrophes. I suspect that the Joel Steins of our country have been too busy preening themselves to notice all the frustration, pain and dashed hopes.
As an egghead academic with a doctorate from Columbia University, I resent getting lumped with our feckless political elites in lame apologias for their egregious failures.
Sam Coleman, Huntington Beach
To the editor: Stein loves Warren, a Harvard law professor and member of the intellectual elite, which is made up of people that he says “think they are better than you. People like me.”
No, they only know more facts than the “non-elite.” They may know a Monet from a Mondrian and the names of the Karamazov brothers, but that does not make them better than the guy who parks their car.
Stein likes Warren because she has a plan for everything. How many of her plans have been successfully tested outside the academic world? The Soviets had decades of plans designed by experts.
Knowing facts does not make one wise or good.
David Goodwin, Pasadena
To the editor: Stein makes a compelling case regarding elitism and the 2016 election, but I believe the case against political elitism is just a well-honed propaganda tool.
Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in 2016, did not come from a wealthy family yet built a stunning resume from hard work. Warren attended a public law school. We know the rest of the story.
President Trump has made a career out of being the rich spoiled guy. If having the audacity to bleed through a billion dollars in failed business ventures isn’t elitist, I don’t know what is.
Trump doesn’t represent corporate elitists; he is the corporate elite.
Bethia Sheean-Wallace, Fullerton
To the editor: As I read Stein’s very funny piece, I reflected on the obstacles I face in my aspirations to be an elite like him.
I graduated from college, but from a mid-tier school (Virginia Tech), and not in an elite major such as philosophy or history, but with a utilitarian degree in civil engineering. I did earn a graduate degree, but only a master’s, not a doctorate. I enjoy doing the L.A. Times’ Sudoku, but I don’t create them myself as any self-respecting elite would do. Most damning of all, I like beer.
I shall remain a wannabe elite. As I stumble through my non-elite life, I can at least take comfort in knowing the elite Warren has a plan for me that I wouldn’t understand.
Bruce Bates, Laguna Beach