The reductio ad absurdum of populist posturing
The funny thing is that even if you think that cultural power is the only kind that matters, Trump has surely been part of that elite for a long time. For decades before he ran for president, he appeared on TV shows and wrote books (or claimed to write them) that many people followed, hoping to learn from his success. If that's not cultural power, what is? In fact, he could run for president precisely because he already had it.
Superbly said, Noah--indeed, I don't think any Marxist could say it better. Yes, of course, obviously over the decades, over the past two hundred years really, as economic and social and cultural transformations have become entwined and as the thinkers and organizers who have attempted to make a difference in the midst of that transformative stew have pushed forward various arguments, "class" has become extreme complicated. But still, class--unless you're just going to insist it means "sophisticated" or some such entirely aesthetic category--is about power, its about influence, its about social position, its about ownership, its about economic relations, its about...well, as you say, RULING. There are people who were, and may yet again, be in a position to exercise authority over others; Donald Trump was one of them. If that doesn't define his class, why use the word at all?
Well said. The fact that the members of our ruling class refuse to admit that they are in the ruling class is the surest indicator that they are and they know they are.