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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


The great academic rift in the Grand Old Party

The Republican Party as we know it is in flux, and after the 2016 presidential election, it is going to change one way or another. This change is only partly related to the orange monster who likes to yell semi-coherent sentences about the immigrant boogieman. What a recent Pew Research Center poll reveals is that among Republicans, a festering crack is appearing between party members with and those without a college education.

Obviously, both sides of the aisle have courted a specific market of voters. The Republicans enjoy the votes of rural people in gerrymandered districts and Democrats enjoy the votes of those in dense urban cities. But the uneducated voters are where I believe the issue exists for politics as a whole.

To properly understand American politics, you can’t just read memes from Bernie’s dank stash on Facebook and get the whole picture. We need an educated populous to properly participate in a representative democracy. Again, this is where the divide in the Republican Party truly comes from.

Fifty-one percent of non-college-educated white Republicans believe that politics is a struggle between right and wrong, compared to only 35 percent of college-educated white Republicans. It is this exact mindset that has Congress gridlocked right now.

Good ol’ Canadian boy Ted Cruz believes that blocking something for the greater good of the country with no actual solution is the answer in this battle of right-versus-wrong. Cruz most famously (or, perhaps, most infamously) was one of the senators who helped engineer the government shutdown over Obamacare back in 2013. These obstructionists, who never fail to cite religion for every answer they give, try to come off as being on the moral high ground.

Democrats are no less guilty of this, though having President Obama on their side has allowed them to claim political leverage. Last fall, Cruz in the Senate and the Freedom Caucus in the House wanted to shut the government down over funding for Planned Parenthood. This was partly because of the series of videos released by an anti-abortion group and partly because the conservative bloc is still living in the 19th century, where women don’t have rights. Cruz and fellow conservative lawmakers want to go to war over every issue, but they don’t present actual solutions.

We probably all have debate fatigue after this cycle, but if you happen to recall, almost every single Republican candidate wants to repeal Obamacare. Yet the best they can muster up for an alternative is allowing for competition over state lines by insurance companies. It pains me to say it, but my party alienates a large portion of the population when they throw temper tantrums and then don’t tell anyone what they want instead.

Next, we come to the fake-tan-having, orange-colored Neanderthal’s favorite topic, (aside from himself): immigration. College-educated white Republicans, 44 percent of them to be exact, believe immigrants strengthen the country, whereas a measly 26 percent of non-college educated white Republicans believe immigrants help the country.

This is the issue that has made Trump the champion of those without degrees. All their lives, they have been told of an immigrant boogieman who was coming to take their job at a lower wage and that our country is being overrun to the point where it’s not recognizable anymore. 

Now, Republicans like Trump blame bad economic policy related to globalization and free trade on immigrants taking low-wage jobs because it’s easy.

College-educated and non-college-educated Republicans are two very different constituencies within a fractured and bleeding party. These differences are what will hand our nomination to a monster with the world’s worst hair piece, unless Reince Priebus and his boys change the rules and cheat Trump out of the nomination. Or we get the Zodiac Killer. Not exactly inspiring options for those of us on the right side of the spectrum.


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