Jocks, nerds, and presidents

Kyle Sammin argues in a Federalist column that Democratic writers considering potential 2020 presidential contenders fail to grasp an important truth.

The navel-gazing by some of America’s leading political writers makes sense, because in O’Rourke, Buttigieg, Yang, and others, they are looking at people like themselves. The right schools, the right hobbies, the right books, the right interests. They know the same people and talk about the same ideas.

The problem is that writers don’t really represent America. They are a self-selecting class of nerds, when most Americans know in their hearts that nerds cannot lead this country. Given the choice, Americans will pick a jock president over a nerd every time. …

… Every modern presidential election brings up the conversation about which candidate you would rather “have a beer with.” Which candidate “cares about people like me?” Who is relatable, who is authentic, who is sincere? These are all different ways of asking, “Which of these people is cool, and which is a nerd?”

Describing the traits that make jocks and nerds also show which is likely to be more numerous in society. Jocks’ primary attributes vary. The name I’ve picked for this article, “jock,” relates to sports, but it could just as easily be “bro” or “cool.” There are lots of ways to be cool; there’s only one way to be a nerd.

Jocks organize their lives and present themselves in a variety of ways: athletes, soldiers, physical laborers, hard workers, ladies’ men, hard-charging businesspeople, and more. Nerds, even those who are not actually that bright, have one organizing principle: I know better than you, and this chart I’ve made shows why. Jocks, by default, are more numerous.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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