Panic Button!

Uh oh, things must be worse on the campaign trail than it appears if the “they’re going to abolish the Department of Education” gambit is being unleashed by Dem candidates. This is the Hail Mary of Democratic education politics and it rarely works.  In fact, sizable numbers of Republicans have been elected in the face of this tactic some years.

In general it doesn’t work because – despite the rhetoric education –  doesn’t move a lot of voters by itself in national elections.   And this year, in particular, the big issue is jobs, jobs, and also jobs.  Don’t tell them this in Rockefeller Plaza, but right now education ranks very low in polls where Americans are asked to name issues of greatest concern.

3 Replies to “Panic Button!”

  1. Are you kidding? The strategy works extremely well. That is why most Republicans abandoned their pledge to abolish the Department after 1994. It hasn’t been a powerful electoral issue in most races in the last decade precisely because Republicans backed off from their extreme position.

    It IS true that the economy is the top issue today, and also true that Republicans will make gains this year no matter what. But calling for abolition of the Dept of Education is a clear signifier that a candidate is out of the mainstream, and Democrats are correct to use the issue wherever they can. Indeed, the electoral reality is is already clear from the fact these GOP candidates are now denying they want the Dept abolished.

    Jonathan Chait offers a much better read on the issue here:

  2. I can’t tell you the number of Democrats who I’ve heard say they’d be happy to see the DoE abolished, as it is being run by this administration.

  3. Great. We have to do everything we can do to prevent education. Uneducated voters are more likely to vote against their own interests.

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