Donald Trump may own some of the nation’s most chichi country clubs – they don’t let just anybody in the Mar-a-Lago! – but his base of political support comes from clubs of a different sort. Ten years after two writers took to these pages to urge Republicans to appeal to people at Sam’s Club rather than the country club, the boisterous billionaire is doing just that.
Consider the results of an ABC News/Washington Postpoll released Wednesday. Trump, the poll found, “continues to rely on less-educated adults for his support – among all adults, a 22-point [approval] gap between those who have and have not earned college degrees; and among Republicans, an even wider 46-point . . gap.” That is to say, among Republicans with college degrees, Trump’s favorable/unfavorable numbers are 46-48. Among Republicans without college degrees, 71 percent have a favorable opinion of Trump versus 27 percent who don’t.
More education, of course, is strongly correlated with higher earnings: It’s safe to infer from that poll that Trump’s base is primarily downscale. Trump may not end up as the next president, but now that Macy’s has kicked his branded ties to the curb, I know where he should start selling them.
After great fanfare, and much handwringing from an anxious higher education community, the Obama administration finally launched its ballyhooed College Scorecard. It disappoints, but not, perhaps, for the reasons that many think.
Nearly everyone recognizes that student debt has risen to a level that will be difficult to sustain, given the nation’s slow-growing economy and the sagging incomes of too many college-educated Americans. Nearly 40 million Americans carry some form of student debt; more than 7 million are in default on their loans, and many more have missed scheduled payments. The total amount of outstanding student debt is estimated to be $1.2 trillion, with about two-thirds of this sum underwritten by the federal government.
Americans have long been skeptical of the liberal arts. Frequently this takes the form of a discussion of whether a degree in history or literature is “worth it” in a purely economic sense. Annual reports highlight the top-earning college majors, subtly encouraging students to forgo a class in literature or history in favor of something useful, like nursing or engineering.
Perhaps it’s a reflection of our innate American pragmatism.
In the July 3, 2015 “Notable and Quotable” column, the Wall Street Journal honors the school reformer, Marva Collins, who died this week at age 78, by resurrecting a 1982 opinion piece about her authored by Paul Gigot. Collins was a fearless supporter of funded tuition vouchers, and herself a celebrated teacher.
Scott Walker may not be a candidate for president yet, but the Wisconsin governor’s growing political action committee staff is already going after a potential rival in the Republican primary. GOP strategist Liz Mair, CNN reports, has just signed on to consult for Walker’s Our American Revival PAC, doing outreach to bloggers and other digital media outlets.
Scott Walker was never going to win fans among the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. Four years ago, Wisconsin professors were in the state capitol protesting the governor’s plans to limit public employee collective bargaining powers. But, boy, did he make enemies this month when he proposed $300 million more in budget cuts to the state’s university and altering the words of the school’s mission. Walker has clearly made some tactical missteps in recent weeks—and the fact that he himself doesn’t have a college degree doesn’t add to his credibility.