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Re-engaging the educated

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks with reporters after meeting with Senate Republicans at their weekly luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Standing with McConnell are Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., left, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

While Republican strategists concentrate on mobilizing the white, working class voters that gave President Trump his crucial swing state victories last time, they face a real danger of mass defection from the best-educated segment of the electorate.

The percentage of Americans with a bachelor’s degree or higher has expanded dramatically — reaching 50% of all ballots in 2016, and backing Hillary Clinton by a ten-point margin. Two years later, in mid-term Congressional elections, college grads picked Democrats by a whopping 20 points — delivering the House to Nancy Pelosi.

This is a recent development: GOP nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain split university grads nearly evenly with Barack Obama, and in the five elections before that Republican candidates earned clear pluralities. Unless Republicans can do a better job of reconnecting with the growing proportion of voters who’ve earned university degrees — already fully half the electorate — our party faces challenging prospects.

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