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Mon Jan 20, 2020, 10:03 AM

College educated voters are ruining American politics

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/political-hobbyists-are-ruining-politics/605212/


Many college-educated people think they are deeply engaged in politics. They follow the news—reading articles like this one—and debate the latest developments on social media. They might sign an online petition or throw a $5 online donation at a presidential candidate. Mostly, they consume political information as a way of satisfying their own emotional and intellectual needs. These people are political hobbyists. What they are doing is no closer to engaging in politics than watching SportsCenter is to playing football.

For Querys Matias, politics isn’t just a hobby. Matias is a 63-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic. She lives in Haverhill, Massachusetts, a small city on the New Hampshire border. In her day job, Querys is a bus monitor for a special-needs school. In her evenings, she amasses power.

...

Querys is engaging in politics—the methodical pursuit of power to influence how the government operates. If she and the community she represents are quiet and not organized, they get ignored. Other interests, sometimes competing interests, prevail. Organizing gives them the ability to get what they want. Much as the civil-rights movement did, Querys is operating with clear goals and with discipline, combining electoral strategies with policy advocacy.

Unlike organizers such as Querys, the political hobbyists are disproportionately college-educated white men. They learn about and talk about big important things. Their style of politics is a parlor game in which they debate the issues on their abstract merits. Media commentators and good-government reform groups have generally regarded this as a cleaner, more evolved, less self-interested version of politics compared with the kind of politics that Querys practices.


This is a really good piece.

12 replies, 1404 views

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply College educated voters are ruining American politics (Original post)
Recursion Jan 20 OP
defacto7 Jan 20 #1
Recursion Jan 20 #7
CTyankee Jan 21 #12
getagrip_already Jan 20 #2
murielm99 Jan 20 #3
Post removed Jan 20 #4
murielm99 Jan 20 #6
lagomorph777 Jan 20 #9
pnwmom Jan 20 #5
YOHABLO Jan 20 #8
Paladin Jan 20 #10
Blue_Tires Jan 21 #11

Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 11:12 AM

1. I generally find this article to be equating college educated voters

with afluent voters. College educated voters are not necessarily afluent and non-college educated voters are not necessarily well connected to the political needs of their community. To the contrary, I'm in contact with both lower educated well monied people who are oblivious to the political needs of their communities as well as well educated struggling individuals who are politically active, both groups being white and non-white.
My experience conflicts with the premise of the article and especially with the hyperbole of the title. There may be something to say about the effect of wealth on direct community service and political activity, but equating education with the ruin of American politics is kind of absurd.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 02:59 PM

7. Because it's true

The third of Americans with college degrees makes almost exactly to the richest third of the country. College has a huge wage premium even when you take student debt into account. That's why people keep doing it.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 21, 2020, 10:26 AM

12. Your experience hit a note with me. We have a friend who never finished college, was a union

plumber, worked for a state university and was a union activist. My husband and I are well educated and strongly pro-labor and pro-union so we align smoothly along political lines. Our friend also worked with the college's faculty union rep. (AAUP). Both realized they had common goals and were stronger for working together.

I think these things can be worked out in real life situations. And what this tells me is that in unions we are all stronger and live better lives. This is, to me, the essence of beliefs in the Democratic party and in American democracy.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 11:14 AM

2. sounds like they are yelling "elitist" to me....

So being educated and aware of politics is somehow just having a hobby?

Oh by all means lets leave iit to the trump voters who believe what fox feeds them. Sorry, but this is a bunch of self serving crap.

I applaud Querys for diving head first into the issues. But don't for a minute disparage someone for being educated and aware.

That is right wing talk.

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Response to getagrip_already (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 01:43 PM

3. Unfortunately, I do know

college educated white male voters who are just like this.

They listen to NPR and have Opinions! They show up to marches and vigils if the weather is nice, but they leave early. (They are summer soldiers and sunshine patriots). They may show up to a candidate or party open house, but they will do nothing to help in the planning or support for such an event. They will walk in a parade, if it takes place in their own community.

If they do show up to a county Democratic meeting, everyone is expected to greet their pronouncements with hushed reverence.

Why? Because they are a local science teacher or a small town business owner? Because they made some money in an unusual venture?

I run into these types all the time. Many of them are actually ignorant. We need their votes, but they need to respect those of us who do the work.

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #3)


Response to Post removed (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 02:41 PM

6. Who said anything about purity tests?

Guess what? I have a life and a family, too.

And who says I attack them? We are glad when people show up. As always, we take what we can get.

When people who contribute very little work think their opinions and contributions are more valuable than those who do the actual work, I take issue with that.

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Response to getagrip_already (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 04:09 PM

9. It's pretty offensive.

Let's just be ignorant tools.

There are many ways to engage; staying informed is one of them.

The article seems to want to deliberately alienate the reader.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 01:58 PM

5. Give me a college educated voter who votes for Democrats

over a non-college educated voter who votes for Republicans any day.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 03:21 PM

8. You know, good for Querys. (strange name) We need more like her.

I think many would like to be more involved, they just don't know how. Staying informed whether you're college educated or not, white or black or brown, male or female, is what's most important.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 05:47 PM

10. I'm glad Ms. Matias is amassing power, far away from me. (nt)

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Tue Jan 21, 2020, 09:05 AM

11. So all those days I spend canvassing

in 100-degree summer heat and heavy downpours in the fall was "ruining politics?"

Who knew?

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