Wed. Dec 7th, 2022

Jorge Alberto Chico’s letter (October 5) suggests conspiracy theorists will continue to dominate American politics as long as the top 10 per cent of income earners “remain uninvolved in the political process”.

I’m not sure if Chico was trolling us all, but some quick research confirms my suspicion. Of the 117th US Congress, 96 per cent of its members were college educated. The best represented professions are law, business and “public service”. For some time the median net worth of a representative in the House has been about $800,000, and in the Senate between $1.5mn and $3mn.

That compares to about $120,000 or less for average Americans (except for just before the 2008 crash). What Chico calls the “establishment”— the wealthy, the educated — are the conspiracy theorists, even if they’re only feigning outrage.

The real problem is that small minorities of centrists and extremists have far too much influence on American politics. Neither education nor wealth make you immune to conspiracy theories. So, getting more leftist bartenders (Chico mentions Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) or conservative farmers involved would improve American politics far more than yet more lawyers and businesspeople.

Justin Evans
Washington, DC, US

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