The battle between two elites: the haves and have-yachts

On the left and right, politics is an elite sport between two broad groups: the Brahmins and the merchants

"Elite" is the political hate-word of our time but, during a rant in Fargo, North Dakota, this summer, US President Donald Trump said something interesting. "They call it the elite," he complained. "We got more money, we got more brains, we got better houses and apartments, we got nicer boats, we're smarter than they are and they say they're the elite."

Mr Trump was on to something: in Western politics, there isn't one elite, but two. There's the liberal "cultural elite" that he despises, and his own big-boated, right-wing moneyed elite.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2018, with the headline 'The battle between two elites: the haves and have-yachts'. Print Edition | Subscribe