Can Trump get enough educated voters

My good friend from grad school, one-time co-author, and all-around political scientist extraordinaire, Barry Burden, has a nice piece in the Monkey Cage looking at the growing education gap in turnout and discussing how this likely negatively affects Trump:

For years, political scientists have known about the voting gap between college grads and everyone else. In the 2012 presidential election, 58 percent of U.S. voters actually went to the polls to cast ballots. But that overall voter turnout rate disguises a lot of variation among those with differing levels of education. Only about 48 percent – or less than half — of voters who had only a high school degree cast ballots, while roughly 68 percent of voters who graduated from college went to the polls.

Few have noticed how much that the gap has increased – so much so that a college education has become an increasingly important dividing line between voters and not voters. As my research shows, that educational voting gap widened in the 1970s — and has never looked back. The graph below, drawn from data from the American National Election Study, shows voting rates in presidential elections for those who report that their highest educational attainment was either a college degree or a high school degree. I have adjusted the data to correct for overreporting.

Here’s what that means for the 2016 elections

For Trump to win the presidency, he’d have to get a bigger share of Americans without college degrees to the polls. And that’s going to be hard. A number of overlapping factors hold them back…

Winning the presidency with non-college educated whites will be a long shot in 2016. Even if the Republicans pull it off this year, that will become more difficult as the years go on — because non-college grads are a declining share of the electorate. And neither party appears to have any idea about how to turn that around.

I think Trump’s biggest problem will be driving away so many people who aren’t white men, but I also that that– at least among some college graduates– there is an embarrassment/shame in supporting Trump that just would not be the case with other, conventional Republican candidates.

Who needs bloggers when you’ve got President Obama

Obama makes this point as well as any blog or Op-Ed I’ve read on the matter:

And let me make a final point. For a while now, the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize the administration and me for not using the phrase “radical Islam.” That’s the key, they tell us. We cannot beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists.

What exactly would using this label would accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this?

The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction. [emphases mine]

Since before I was president, I have been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As president, I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions.

There has not been a moment in my 7.5 years as president where we have not able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label “radical Islam.” Not once has an adviser of mine said, “Man, if we use that phrase, we are going to turn this whole thing around,” not once.

So someone seriously thinks that we don’t know who we are fighting?

If there is anyone out there who thinks we are confused about who our enemies are — that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists who we have taken off the battlefield.

If the implication is that those of us up here and the thousands of people around the country and around world who are working to defeat ISIL aren’t taking the fight seriously? That would come as a surprise to those who spent these last 7.5 years dismantling Al Qaida in the FATA, for example — including the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk, and the special forces that I ordered to get bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria.

They know full well who the enemy is. So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spend countless hours disrupting plots and protecting all Americans — including politicians who tweet and appears on cable news shows.

They know who the nature of the enemy is. So, there is no magic to the phrase “radical Islam.” It is a political talking point. It is not a strategy.

And the reason I am careful about how I describe this threat has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with actually defeating extremism.

Groups like ISIL and Al Qaida want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion of Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions.

They want us to validate them by implying that they speak for those billion-plus people, that they speak for Islam. That’s their propaganda, that’s how they recruit. And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims as a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with the entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.

No matter how much one may disagree with Obama about various aspects of foreign policy there’s really no arguing with this.  Spot-on and well said.

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