New Poll Shows Just How Much Republicans Hate Higher Education
Majority Of Republicans Think Colleges And Universities Are Bad For America
In case you haven’t noticed, conservative Republicans have been ramping up their attacks on colleges and universities lately. Their hatred of these institutions of higher learning has recently centered on the idea of “safe spaces”, but their assault on intellectualism has been going on for decades. Some experts have even suggested the anti-intellectualism of the right played a key role in bringing us the rise and eventual presidency of Republican Donald Trump.
Now, a new poll from Pew Research shows just how successful this assault on colleges and universities has been by conservatives. In a startling finding, 58 percent of Republicans agreed that colleges and universities “have a negative effect on the way things are going in the country”. According to the polling organization, that is a significant increase from 45 percent of Republicans believing the same just a year ago. Just over one-third of Republicans think colleges and universities have a positive effect. Maybe most amazing, these percentages were roughly flipped for Republicans just seven years ago.
In contrast, 72 percent of Democrats polled say these institutions have a positive effect. Roughly one-fifth of Democrats agree with the majority of Republicans. That number is still shockingly high but clearly pales in comparison to Trump’s party.
Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, brutally summed up the decades-long assault by Republicans on intellectualism in an interview last year prior to the election of Donald Trump.
“It’s actually been part of the Republican Party brand for a long time,” Boot says. “Republicans going all the way back to [Dwight D.] Eisenhower have masqueraded by pretending to be dumber than they actually were by attacking elite intellectuals and snobs and so forth [as a way] to identify with the common man. This was a strategy pursued by Richard Nixon, by Ronald Reagan, and by George W. Bush…
“Those leaders were not themselves actually stupid or ignorant,” he says. “If you think about Eisenhower or Nixon, they were actually incredibly worldly, sophisticated, and knowledgeable. The problem is that Donald Trump is every bit as ignorant in reality as his predecessors only pretended to be. In a way, the joke’s kind of on the Republican Party because after masquerading for decades, the Republican Party has actually become the ‘Stupid Party.’”
Exit polls of the 2016 election showed a widening gap in regards to party voting and education level. Hillary Clinton won college graduates by more than four times the margin Barack Obama won in 2012 over Mitt Romney. She won the vote of people with post-graduate degrees by 21 points. And Nate Silver studied the 50 counties with the highest and lowest percent of college degrees and discovered huge shifts from 2012 to 2016. In the highest percentage counties, Hillary Clinton did 8.5 percent better, on average, than Obama. In the lowest percentage counties, she did 11.3 percent worse.
Republicans have attacked institutions of higher education as a boogeyman for decades and now they have no choice but to double-down on this lunacy. The danger of doing this should be crystal clear to everyone. In case Republicans aren’t aware of this, colleges and institutions are where doctors, engineers, and an array of other experts we desperately need are made.
But, then again, some elected Republicans recently needed a colleague to tell them where babies came from. Maybe GOP leadership doesn’t know what colleges and universities give the country.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images.