The Right's War on College: "Starving the Beast" Exposes the Fight to Destroy America's Great Public Universities
There was one unifying factor that drove Sanders’ unexpected groundswell of support.
Anyone who attended one of Bernie Sanders’ rallies during the Democratic primary campaign knows what the central issue was behind his call for “political revolution.” There was one unifying factor that drove Sanders’ unexpected groundswell of support, and that crystallized all the themes of economic inequality and social injustice he repeated in stump speech after stump speech. Not by coincidence, it was also the most prominent issue on which Hillary Clinton ultimately felt compelled to move almost all the way to Sanders’ position, after repeatedly insisting that she disagreed with him. That issue was the cost of a college degree, perhaps the most visible symptom of a far-reaching attempt by the super-rich and their ideological allies to reshape public education to serve their interests.
At a certain point in every rally, the Vermont senator would ask young people in the crowd to call out how much they owed in student debt. I’m twice the age of many Sanders voters, and I heard numbers that dwarfed any amount of debt I have ever amassed in a lifetime of irresponsible credit-card spending. Generally, the winner in a Bernie call-and-response session owed somewhere between $90,000 and $120,000 in higher-education debt, but sums in excess of $150,000 were not unknown. Maybe that level of debt seems almost comprehensible for someone who went to Harvard or Stanford and then straight into law school or medical school, although I still suspect it’s likely to have a baleful effect on those individuals and the whole society. But Bernie’s core audience went well beyond the Georgetown Law demographic — they were likelier to be graduates of Penn State or Arizona State, UMass or UConn or UCLA. When kids from those schools The Right's War on College: "Starving the Beast" Exposes the Fight to Destroy America's Great Public Universities | Alternet: