The media seems obsessed with discussing how many voters in any given precinct have a college degree, especially if those voters vote Republican. In every article I read, or news story I watch, pundits and politicos champion the chances of Democrats in congressional districts where there are high numbers of college degrees, and write-off as Republican the districts where not as many people walked across the stage to pick-up their bachelors degree diploma. The implication is pretty clear: if you are college educated you are smart, sophisticated, and definitely a Democrat. If you didn’t go to college, in their mind, you’re a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal who doesn’t know any better than to vote Republican. This narrative has been used in-force in the aftermath of the Virginia elections earlier this month, and its horribly unfair.
As a man who grew-up in rural Spartanburg County, South Carolina, this “logic” offends me. I am the first member of my immediate family to go to college, the first to attend graduate school, and I know plenty of people from where I am from who are brilliant without a bachelors degree. My own father never went to college, nor did my mother, yet they have built a thriving business that provides great jobs to a good number of people. I know people from my hometown who run construction companies, manufacturing plants, and sell real estate who have never sat in a traditional college classroom. Many of these folks make more money than most of the college-educated writers at the Washington Post who deride them as dummies.
Liberals love to tout that people with four year college degrees are more likely to vote Democrat, which fills them with a sense of self-pride. This sentiment, however, is misleading for several reasons. First, there are millions of American voters, myself included, who are college educated and are still conservative. Additionally, not having a college degree does not make someone automatically less intelligent; I know plenty of people who went to college who don’t have the good sense to get out of the rain. The only correlation between college degrees and Democrat voters may be that most colleges indoctrinate their students with liberal orthodoxy in a decidedly secular-progressive atmosphere.
I am by no means against higher education; I encourage people to pursue higher education and / or skills training to build a better life for themselves and their families. I do not, however, appreciate the liberal tendency to use educational statistics to berate the intelligence of their political opponents. Further, I believe that the fact that bachelors degree holders are more likely to vote Democrat than Republican should serve as a rallying cry for conservatives to reengage in education policy at every level.
Lincoln was right, the philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next. This warning extends to higher education, and the culture of our country hangs in the balance. We need more voters, regardless of whether they went to college or not, to vote for conservative, constitutional principles to secure the future for all Americans.