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recruit more congressmen without college degrees to rebuild public trust

recruit more congressmen without college degrees to rebuild public trust

Since 1967, the per capita undergraduate plus postgraduate degree (longitudinal axis) of all members of the U.S. Congress (blue) has been increasing. Photo by: Brookings Institution

Although Trump basically lost the election, the American media are still reflecting on “Trumpism”. The New York Times commented on the 21st that one of the reasons why Trump’s basics are stable is that the “highly educated elite” of Congress are getting stronger and more people, but their jobs have not done better.

The article believes that there is no inevitable relationship between the academic qualifications of politicians and the level of governance. The “prescription” it proposed is not how to improve governance ability, but to continue to “be a person”: it is suggested that the U.S. Congress recruit more members without college degrees to create a “down-to-earth” image.

The New York Times: 95% of Reps Have College Degrees, See What This Has Made Us Through

New York Times columnist and book critic Jennifer Sennear notes that in addition to the increasing number of millionaires, U.S. congressmen are “off the wrong” and “the more inventing boldly disconnected from society”, which is, that is, high education.

According to a report released by the Research Office of the United States Congress on December 17, of the 538 members of the current U.S. Congress (three who died during this period), all 100 senators and 95% of the representatives have bachelor’s degree or above. Among them, there are 161 law degrees and 99 master’s degrees in the House of Representatives, and 53 and 18 people in the Senate, respectively, have law and master’s degrees. Twenty-five parliamentarians each received doctoral and medical degrees. Seventeen representatives have high school education.

According to the data of the U.S. Census Bureau, the proportion of people with bachelor’s degree or above in the total population of the United States is just over one-third.

Michael Sandel, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University, commented that this means that the United States is “a minority with [degree] certificates governs the majority without certificates”. Among them, the Democratic Party’s tendency to emphasize “elite people” and “separad from the masses” has promoted the rise of populism represented by Trump.

A long-standing view in the West since Plato is that people with more knowledge should govern. However, after Sandel’s research, it did not find that there is an inevitable link between the education of politicians and the level of governance, and gave two examples in the United States:

In the 1960s, the “smartest brain” made the decision to plunge the United States into the mire of the Vietnam War; what did highly educated government officials bring to the United States from the 1990s to the present?” Stagnant wage growth, financial deregulation, income inequality, the 2008 financial crisis, the guarantee big banks that are not beneficial to ordinary people, dilapidated infrastructure and the highest incarceration rate in the world.”

Nicholas Kearns, a professor of political science at Duke University, also concluded that university-educated politicians can’t govern the country better, whether it is to promote economic growth, narrow the gap between rich and poor, unemployment, strikes. It is still to reduce military conflict as an indicator of achievement.

Of course, this paper does not mention China. For the U.S. Congress, which has been involved in the “no-politics” struggle in recent years and the average age of the Senate and the House of Representatives is more than 58 years old, the New York Times has no time to care about how to help them improve their governance.

Kearns said that some people think that the U.S. Congress is a “closed political class system” and that “the members of Congress are all in ivory towers and do not care about people’s livelihood”. The authors of the article believe that more members of Congress who have not attended college should be recruited to help “subtlely rebuild public trust”.

She quoted Sandel as saying that the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament are “slowly dominated by the technocratic elite” and creating a “political class that overly tolerates nepotism”. This necessarily leads to the decision to outsource manufacturing work and deregulate finance. The result is the populist resistance that is sweeping the West today, including Trump’s election.

Among them, Sandel believes that the Democratic Party, which emphasizes “elite man-set”, has a greater responsibility, and there is a tendency to “valorize of credentialism”.

Studies have found that more Democratic lawmakers prefer to study in private liberal arts colleges rather than public universities, contrary to Republicans; Democratic lawmakers are also more inclined to recruit assistants from the Ivy League of Famous Schools.

Sandel said that the Democratic Party’s advocacy that going to college in the United States can change fate. The starting point is kind, but it also hides a kind of “critical” against people who have not attended college: if you don’t succeed, you can only blame yourself.

The article said that this kind of “class discrimination” was seized and exploited by Trump. He once publicly boasted, “I like people who have little education!” The daily common words are also straight, which is different from what politicians such as Obama and Hillary talk about all day long. As a result, two consecutive U.S. elections, two-thirds of white voters with less than undergraduate degrees voted for Trump.

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