According to a recent poll, 74% of Democrats said they believe graduating from college is “essential” or “very important” to being economically successful, compared with 40% of Republicans. Variations were only modest across incomes on that question, for both parties. I find this troubling and part of the reason why blue collar Americans are attracted to Trump and the Republicans. To put it another way, only 26% of Democrats believe that those without a college degree deserve to be economically successful versus 60% of Republicans who believe that even those with only a high school education deserve economic success. Trump and the Republicans do not look down on those without a college degree. People do not like to be looked down upon and told they are not good enough to succeed.
Only one third of Americans manage to graduate from college. Of the fifteen most popular jobs in the USA, only two (teachers and nurses) require a college degree.
Still, Democrats running for the White House in 2020 keep promising “free college” and/or big subsidizes for those who go to college.
To me, this comes across as elitist and at the very least, tone deaf to the realities of the working world. It speaks down to those without a college degree and it diminishes the value of the work done by those without a college degree.
Even if we all had a PhD in computer programming along with a M.D., a D.D.S. and so on, our world still requires that some of us drive the delivery vans, clean the hotel rooms, run the dishwashers at restaurants, stock the shelves, care for the elderly and the very young, and all the rest of the majority of jobs that do not require a college degree but are no less vital to the flow of our economy.
It’s not enough to press for a $15 minimum wage. It’s not enough to support labor unions. Free college is not the answer and might only widen the gap between the haves and have nots. Democrats must end their belief that graduating from college is “essential” or “very important” to being economically successful and instead, support working class citizens, regardless of level of formal education, as deserving economic prosperity.