Here’s one we bet you didn’t know . . . or maybe you did and we’re just late to the party.
Your education level, more than even race and gender, appears to be the deciding factor on which candidate receives your vote.
Pew Research offered some data from the 2018 election that supports this proposition. It found that among all men, the trend is to vote Republican, 51 percent to 47 percent Democratic, while among all women, Democrats get the vote, 59 percent to 40 percent.
However, once we toss education into the mix, those numbers change. Noncollege-educated women vote Republican 56 percent to 42 percent, while noncollege- educated men vote Republican 66 percent to 32 percent.
Seeing that data got us thinking that this might explain Republicans’ overwhelming desire to make education less accessible to the average person.
Both at the federal level, under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the Republican-dominated Arizona Legislature, the push is on to use taxpayer funds to offset the costs for a select few to send their children to for-profit private or parochial schools.
These “voucher” programs are touted as a way to help all students in underperforming school districts have an opportunity at a high-quality education; however, the plan doesn’t help families in rural parts of the state or nation, which often have only the lone public school district to serve residents.
Vouchers also tend to discriminate against the poor and middle class in metropolitan areas because the voucher doesn’t generally cover the entire cost of tuition at for-profit private and parochial schools. Meaning only the wealthy, who could already afford to send their children to private school, would be able to use the voucher, thus receiving a rebate on tuition cost on the backs of the taxpayers who can’t afford to use the voucher.
What expansion of the voucher program also means is less taxpayer money going to public schools, which results in fewer teachers, increased class size and a reduction in the quality of education.
We’ve also seen a big push by Republican leadership to repudiate college education — calling colleges and universities “liberal indoctrination centers” — and it seems to be working on the rank and file. In August of this year, Pew Research found that 59 percent of Republicans hold a negative view of higher education in 2019, compared to 53 percent in 2012. Only 33 percent of Republicans have a positive view of college.
Meanwhile, Democrats have held steady with 67 percent having a positive view of higher education in both 2012 and 2019, while just 18 percent have a negative view.
The latest push is a call for more high school graduates to forgo college in favor of working in the trades. The trades are great jobs — and there certainly is a demand for skilled labor — but given this data, it makes us a bit suspect on the true motivation of the Grand Old Party.
The GOP has done a great job of convincing people to oppose self-interest — private health insurance that’s too costly to use (despite medical expenses being the most common cause for bankruptcy in the United States) and tax cuts for the wealthy but not for the middle class are good; unions that negotiate for higher salaries, and Medicare and Social Security “entitlements” are bad.
Now it appears we can toss education onto the “bad” list, too.
We beg to differ and prefer to live by the sage advice of Dean Vernon Wormer, who said, “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”