Why America’s Top Students Tune Out the GOP
This is part two in a series of three articles. Also see part one, Smart Youth Voters Shunned GOP in Midterms, and my page about part three in the series, regarding Andresen’s thoughts on the academic elite.
This is a huge problem not only for the GOP, but for the entire country.
Overall, the picture that emerges is alarming for Republicans and conservatives. In good universities across the nation, students flee the Republican Party. And the better the universities, it seems, the more drastic the trend.
Some on the right see in these numbers a brainwashing effort from “liberal elites” on Ivy League institutions, rather than a brain drain from the Republican Party. People like David Horowitz try to gather evidence of how liberals conspire against conservative professors and students. To me, these accusations seem not only often to lack any real evidence, but also to lack substantial explanatory power, even when correct. Even conservative professors find themselves surrounded by students who vote for the Democrats. Furthermore, while students have fled the Republican Party, they do not seem to have moved very far to the left. The Weathermen are long gone. Hippies, utopian Marxists, socialists, anarchists – groups that were prominent in the 1960s and 1970s – are marginal today. Rather, today’s best students identify as slightly to the left of center, policy-wise liberals who massively prefer the Democratic party.
Let me advance another hypothesis. Today’s top students are motivated less by enthusiasm for Democrats and much more by revulsion from Republicans. It’s not the students who have changed so much. It’s the Republicans.