Despite hailing from humble beginnings in Pennsylvania, the CNN host confessed that over time, he had "unintentionally self-sorted." Now, he announced, it was time for him to check his own privilege, a desire sparked after failing a quiz in Charles Murray's 2012 book "Coming Apart."
The quiz consists of everyday questions such as "Have you ever walked on a factory floor?" "Who is Jimmie Johnson?" and "Have you or your spouse ever bought a pickup truck?"
An average working-class American scores 77. Smerconish, he confessed, had scored just 44.
"My poor results should have prepared me for the disconnect that I felt watching Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency, compelling evidence of my being out of touch with 46% of the nation," Smerconish said.
"Mine is a virtual gated community, defined by things like my zip code, or where our kids go to school, my graduate law degree, my political registration as a non-affiliate, my health consciousness."
He added: "I'm more into 'The Crown' than 'Duck Dynasty.' "
It's a bubble, Smerconish emphasized, that's at odds with his roots as the "grandson of Pennsylvania coal crackers." As a child, he said, his home didn't have a shower until he was in eighth grade, and his first job, when he was 16, was as a maintenance man at McDonald's.
So this year, he insisted, he intends to be "better grounded."
"I have resolved to keep an open ear and be a better listener," Smerconish insisted.
"You can look for me at Cracker Barrel, shopping at Walmart, driving my F-150 more and my sedan less, maybe even lingering in the parking lot at Eagles home games instead of side-stepping all those tailgaters," he said.
"In 2017, I am out to burst my bubble," he concluded.