Nils August Andresen: Why America’s Top Students Tune Out the GOP

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[Nils August Andresen is editor of the Norwegian conservative journal Minerva. He is writing his PhD in economics at the University of Oslo, Norway, and is currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University.]

Overall, the picture that emerges is alarming for Republicans and conservatives. In good universities across the nation, students flee the Republican Party. And the better the universities, it seems, the more drastic the trend.

To simplify: Republicans have gone from having a clear advantage among top students in the decade following the Eisenhower administration, to being competitive under the Nixon and Ford administrations, and from being an energetic minority during Reagan and Bush Sr. to being almost eradicated today.

So if we accept that the trend is drastic, that it is real and applies to most of the top universities – and I think that is reasonable – the next question is: How did this come about?...

Under Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, Republicans championed science and knowledge. But over the past 30 years, national Republicans have formed an intensifying alliance with religious conservatives more skeptical of science and knowledge. I don’t know whether discarding evolution goes against common sense; but I’m pretty sure it goes against most Ivy League-educated senses....
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