Professor John Banzhaf of George Washington University Law School was a guest of Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, who began the conversation by mentioning the left-wing anti-election protests currently choking several cities.
“I have trouble understanding what they’re protesting against,” said Professor Banzhaf. “When people protested the Vietnam War, they wanted to get us out of the war. When people protest alleged cop killings, improper cop killings of black people, they want to make a change. But there’s no way in the world, of course, that anybody’s going to undo the election of Trump, so it’s hard to see exactly what they’re protesting.”
“I’d like to not correct, but at least challenge something you said before, and that is the idea that a lot of these people were stupid for not seeing the Trump potential,” he told Marlow, referring to Donald Trump’s potential to win the election. “I looked at it a little bit differently. I’m trying to look at it impartially. And I said, well, why is it that so many people all across the political spectrum – as you know, many Republicans, many conservatives, as well as many liberals and pundits and so on – didn’t see Trump’s potential, from the beginning when he first announced, through the night of the election?”
“It occurred to me that many of them probably do not understand – not that they’re necessarily stupid – they do not understand, they do not appreciate the very strong feelings that a lot of people, particularly without a college education – that was the big line that apparently divided a lot of people the other night – how they feel. So I am proposing that just as we have black studies and women’s studies and Hispanic studies and gay studies and so on at colleges, maybe we ought to have something like a blue-collar studies,” he suggested.
“Because many people at college, we as professors are totally insulated from the rest of the world. We only talk to each other, people with degrees talking to people with degrees. The students are much more likely, I think, my students, for example, to have people that they meet in class who are black or Hispanic or gay, then they are to have people coming up from a family which never had a college education,” he observed.
Banzhaf looked back to the Nixon years, when “somebody who was part of what you call the liberal establishment was quoted as saying, ‘I can’t believe Nixon won! I don’t know anyone who voted for him!’”
“That was the same thing. It’s probably true on college campuses today; we’re going to be talking with each other and saying, ‘I don’t know anybody who voted for Trump’ because we all have college educations; we largely talk with each other. Unlike other professions – you know, doctors talk to people without degrees. Lawyers do. Journalists do, such as yourself. Businesspeople do, but we largely talk to each other. We go to conferences with each other. We write learned papers with each other,” he said.
“And so many of us don’t really understand or appreciate or comprehend really the strength of the anger and objection that many people who do not have college degrees have felt, over the last ten or twenty years, with the way the economy goes, with the way a lot of issues are raised – whether it’s putting transgender folks in the other restroom or things like affirmative action or whatever, gun control. It’s hard for us to understand it. Maybe it’s time we started studying it,” Banzhaf suggested.
Marlow and Banzhaf commiserated on the frustrations of watching wrong-headed TV punditry, with the former complaining about political punditry – even from major media organs of the Right – that so completely misunderstood the nature and strength of the pro-Trump movement.
“I feel the same way when I’m watching a lot of these pundits, particularly the legal ones,” said Professor Banzhaf, “because they’ll give a legal analysis, and I’m sitting here tearing my hair out, saying, ‘No, no, no, that’s wrong, wrong, wrong,’ and then I try to correct it by getting on the air myself, or in some cases calling up and saying, ‘No, here’s the facts. Here’s the case. You don’t know about this one.’ And I see that both on the Left and on the Right, so I just go after anybody who tries to provide, or does provide, legal analysis which is just flat-out wrong.”
Banzhaf said a number of theories existed about why Trump performed so much better with voters who lacked college degrees.
“Of course, the liberals maintain that the smarter you are, the more likely you are to be a liberal,” he said. “Many conservatives say that conservatives are more likely – the bright ones, the ones that could be teaching at colleges and so on – are more likely to be interested in going out and running businesses and providing jobs and so on. What we do know is that the colleges, the professoriates, are overwhelmingly liberal – 10 to 1, 20 to 1, depending upon exactly how you look at it. We don’t know why this is, but it certainly does seem that students are not being presented with alternative points of view, whether you call that conservative, liberal, Republican, or the views of people who do not have a college education, what I’m calling the ‘Sheepskin Divide.’”
“The students themselves largely, particularly at the most influential colleges, the kids are most likely to go out and either make important decisions or to influence important decisions. They are overwhelmingly from homes where at least one parent, and perhaps both parents, have college educations,” Banzhaf observed. “So they’re simply not being exposed to that other side. And remember, the whole argument for affirmative action is that we’ve got to get the black point of view expressed in classrooms. We’ve got to get the Hispanic point of view or the gay point of view.”
“And what I’m suggesting is, particularly in the light of so many people all across the spectrum who got it wrong on the day before elections, that maybe we ought to be presenting the view – let’s not call them ‘hillbillies’ after that Hillbilly Elegy book, but people that don’t come from families that have a college education. Let’s do some blue-collar studies. Let’s expose students as well as professors to their viewpoints and particularly make them understand their angst. There’s such strong feelings because, as you know, many people voted for Trump even though he said or did things which they didn’t like. He had this strong disapproval rating. So something is motivating them, and many people don’t understand it.” he said.
Banzhaf elaborated on his “blue-collar studies” idea by saying, “The problem of having an overwhelmingly Left faculty is most pronounced in those areas which are furthest from the STEM – science, technology, engineering, mathematics – courses.”
“There isn’t a conservative vs. liberal way of integrating a faction. Circuit theory is the same for Republicans and Democrats,” he noted. “But when you get into areas like political science or women’s studies and so on, it’s where those differences appear. And my thought is that just as we have people now looking much more closely, much more detailed, for example at how blacks see the world or how Hispanics see the world or how gays see the world, and how they see themselves as being oppressed and needing all kinds of government relief and protection.”
“We should do the same with – call them blue-collar, or people without degrees, families without degrees, and make this information and their viewpoints and their angst available to students who want to study them,” he advised. “Provide in scholarly literature more information about it so that whether you are a conservative or a liberal, and you’re on the air or you’re a politico, and you’re trying to read the political tea leaves as to how we should vote, or what kind of programs a politician should promote, they will more accurately understand and take [those views] into account.”
Banzhaf suggested that with such an education background, politicians would be more likely to say, “Gee, I didn’t realize that if we do this, it’s going to get a lot of these blue-collar folks upset, so maybe I’ll put in an amendment.”
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