Do the deep differences between the two groups of voters in any way reflect underlying genetics? I’ve dismissed studies purporting to identify gene variants associated with political party or conservatism. But now I fear they might be onto something, in the big picture.
No one will say it out loud, connect the dots, but the pieces of evidence leading to an obvious conclusion have been zipping around social media for months:
1. Educational attainment differs on the sides of the new divide. Yes, I know that PhDs can be idiots, and those with little or no post-high-school education, like Bruce Springsteen, can be gifted geniuses. But if educational level is even an imperfect surrogate for intelligence, we may be in trouble. The Wall Street Journal is one of many to point out this disturbing evidence: “The clearest dividing line in this year’s presidential election now falls along educational lines: Whites without a college degree have consolidated behind Donald Trump and those with a four-year degree are tending to back Hillary Clinton.” I’d love to see the breakdown in IQ or some other measure of achievement, and for groups other than whites.
2. Letters such as “375 Top Scientists Warn Us Not To Vote For Trump” and “Hundreds of Economists Say: Do Not Vote For Trump” alarm me. Being smart, it seems, no longer matters, and maybe never did. I fear especially for the fate of the Precision Medicine Initiative, and have to wonder if the new president has even heard of it. President Obama has a long-standing interest in genetics and would periodically invite the top minds in my field to the White House to pick their brains.
3. The all-important reproduction quandary is perhaps the most disturbing, in the long run that underlies evolution: “He Likes Trump. She Doesn’t. Can This Marriage Be Saved?“
And herein lies the seeds of speciation: a difference in a trait that genes influence – intelligence – affecting reproduction patterns. Coupled with policies of exclusion – building a wall, breaking up families to deport undocumented immigrants, targeting specific religious groups unified by their ancestry – the population sorting that may begin over the next four years could, with time and if sustained, alter the segregation of gene variants in a way that sets us on a path toward an unstoppable divergence.
Elite scientists predicting emergence of subhuman species based on stoopid Trump voters breeding? What could possibly go wrong with that? Where would we be without elite scientists…