Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Presidential Campaign

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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102 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I think that he is too old probably. So is Trump (age being the least bad disqualifier), as is Biden, and probably Warren too. The demands of the Presidency are probably best for someone in their mid 40s to early 60s.

    That being said, I’m skeptical of the Bernie Woulda Won arguments from 2016 for a variety of reasons:

    1. Even though a lot of people did not get that Sanders was Jewish like us Jews did, I think it would have become an issue as soon as he got the Democratic nomination. I suspect that the anti-Semitism against Sanders would rival the anti-Catholic baiting Al Smith received in 1928;

    2. He would have been red-baited for doing things like supporting the Sandinistas and praising Cuba;

    3. It would probably be 1 and 2;

    4. Despite the fact that he did well in states like Michigan in the Democratic primary, most of his support did seem to come from well-educated hipsters/hippies. This is only anecdotal as an observation.

    My one counter-thought is that Bernie could have combated Trump’s bullshit claims on being a self-made man more because of his gruff Brooklyn accent/background.Report

    • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I think there’s a LOT more stuff to throw at Bernie than whatever can be dredged up via anti-Semitism.

      As my rabbi observed back in 2016: “Sanders is Jewish, and I’d love to vote for a Jewish candidate for president someday, but he’s such a *putz*…”

      This summed up my own feelings on him pretty well at the time, and still applies.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to bookdragon says:

        True and there is a chance that a lot of journalists would not go for the anti-Semitism and give Trump a hard time for it but because Trump and the GOP are complete sleezeballs, I don’t think they would be able to help themselves. Kevin McCarthy posted anti-Semitic memes about George Soros and still tried to call Democrats the real anti-Semites because of Rep. Omar’s tweets.

        They are bad faith actors all around.

        We would get four years of Larry David impersonating the President on SNL. That is a plus.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Bernie really benefited from two things:

    1) Not Being Hillary Clinton

    Um… I started writing entries for #2 but they were mostly rephrasings of #1. He was a proud socialist, he was an unapologetic lefty, he had principles, he was charismatic, so on and so forth.

    So maybe I should say

    2) Not Being Donald Trump

    Now, the upside is that both of these things remain true for the upcoming primary but they’re a lot less interesting now because they’re true for everybody else in the field.Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    I am not expecting a particularly impressive performance from the Bern. Without 2016 his running mate De Fault at his side the Bern has pretty much nothing going for him.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      This might be true eventually but is not true now for a variety of reasons:

      1. He has name recognition and that counts a lot at this stage in the game;

      2. His fans still like him way too much.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Well sure but there’s no “performance” at this stage. Just a bunch of phone surveyors asking people (most of whom don’t think of politics at all this time or most times of the year) who they like. Name recognition is everything at this stage of the game and at this stage of the game all that’ll get him is money and the ability to move on to the next stage of the game.

        To be fair, that’s all you need at this stage of the game too of course.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The primary concern is that, with a large field, the sane candidates could split the sane vote, and the not-sane vote could be enough for Sanders to win. Basically what happened in the Republican primary in 2016.

        Men of reason can disagree; all the rest seem to agree on Bernie.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

      Sharing for the headline alone. (I do not know if the source is good nor even whether the facts as depicted are accurate.)

      Bernie Sanders breaks Kamala Harris’ Day 1 individual donations markReport

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        huh, that’s interesting if true.

        My priors are that Bernie was mostly (but not entirely) the Not-Hilary candidate… and, as Andrew and you note, not being simply Not-Hilary is hard to gauge how that will translate.

        Still, I’ll be surprised if he can carry the field with plenty of other options willing to co-op and even run to his left.

        But, those are pretty good numbers, even if they only reflect residual goodwill.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I think people are underestimating what it meant in 2016 that Bernie was the not-Hillary candidate.

          Hillary Clinton occupied a particularly exalted place in Rightward demonology, but on the Left she was Just Another Politician[tm]. She was the Establishment, bereft of authenticity and just itching for a chance to sell out progressive change to Wall Street.

          I was and remain of a Bernie skeptic and supported Hillary vigorously but the Leftward picture had a lot more truth to it than the Rightward picture.

          So maybe Bernie can still get some mileage out of being Not Hillary.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

        Doesn’t surprise me at all. Bernie has a fan-base, email lists and an established fund raising network from being the Not-Hillary candidate in 2016. How is Kamala Harris supposed to compete with that for dollars?

        Only way it’d be news is if he didn’t get that kind of outcome.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

          On that note:

          If Bernie Sanders announces for president, and no one hears it… The Sanders announcement not rating as a lead story on CNN/MSNBC.— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) February 19, 2019

          The narrative coalesces.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

            Pah, he got more coverage that Amy did and she’s an actual Democratic Party member.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

            The narrative coalesces.

            Which narrative and around what?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

              The narrative that Bernie shouldn’t be running at all because he doesn’t have a chance.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Ahh, OK. So is it your view that CNN / MSNBC are pushing that narrative?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                No, it hasn’t become official *YET*. Bernie’s only been announced for, what? 12 hours?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                So, you *do* think CNN and MSNBC are pushing the narrative that Bernie shouldn’t run because he has no chance?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I wonder if it would be more irritating for me, personally, if I retyped the first word of my comment above or if I copied and pasted it.

                I also wonder if I ought to have used a different word than “coalesces” because that one seems to be read as identical to “has completed” and I more intended a word that meant “begins the process of coming together”.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                The inference from your comments is that yes, you do believe that CNN and MSNBC are pushing that particular narrative. But when I ask you if that’s what you believe, you won’t just say yes or no. Oh well.

                A more interesting issue is why you believe that, since in my view, given the lack of evidence to support that conclusion, you’re imposing a narrative *upon* CNN and MSNBC rather than observing it. But we just can’t seem to get there…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                He hasn’t even been running for a day, yet, Stillwater.

                The narrative isn’t established. We don’t know what it will be when it is established.

                Personally, I think that the information that Bernie has raised $4 million so far will shatter any attempt to create a narrative that Bernie doesn’t have a chance…

                But I am not the journalist who said, and let me copy and paste this:

                “If Bernie Sanders announces for president, and no one hears it… The Sanders announcement not rating as a lead story on CNN/MSNBC.”

                But let’s check what CNN has on its front page right now.

                Do a search for “Bernie” and I see three headlines:

                “Trump comments on Bernie Sanders”
                “5 Reasons to be skeptical about Bernie Sanders”
                and
                “Bernie Sanders lost in 2016. Here’s what he needs to do in 2020.”

                Let’s look at MSNBC:

                There are two headlines.

                “This time around, Bernie Sanders has a tougher sale: himself”
                and
                “Bernie Sanders raises $3.3 million hours after 2020 announcement”

                So that’s what I see on CNN and MSNBC.

                There isn’t a timestamp on that last one, but I assume it was written after Bernie raised $3.3 million and not before.

                The invisible primary continues… but, sadly, we might have needed a new “we the people” first.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird: He hasn’t even been running for a day, yet, Stillwater. dotdotdot

                Also Jaybird: The narrative coalesces.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yeah, I should have used a word that indicated that stuff wasn’t yet set in stone rather than “coalesces”.

                I regret the error.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                So, you *don’t* believe CNN and MSNBC are pushing the narrative that Bernie shouldn’t run because he has no chance?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                As far as I can tell from the front pages of their website, they seem to have two different things going on.

                CNN doesn’t seem to have any purely positive Bernie stories, based on those three headlines I mentioned above.

                MSNBC seems to be talking about how much tougher it will be for Bernie this time around and, yes, the headline about how he seems to have raised $3.3 million so far.

                So it looks like CNN is interested in only talking about Bernie through one context and MSNBC was doing similar but the news that Bernie did…

                Well, we don’t know about how well he did. Apparently this is well within what we ought to have expected from Bernie…

                The news that Bernie is meeting expectations.

                But if we get rid of the headlines that mention facts and only look at the ones that editorialize, is there a pattern that we can see?

                I mean, taking into account how it’s early yet? Or should I conclude that it’s too early to tell and I shouldn’t even look for patterns among the headlines that might be editorializing?

                Because I am 100% down with the argument that it’s too early to look for a narrative just yet.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m trying to coin a term for an analysis that is a derivative of the mathematical function of the Cult Of The Savvy, sort of a one step removed meta analysis of meta Beltway divination.

                I’m going with Dilbertesque for now.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                …wasn’t the Dilbert guy the only guy who called it correctly a year and a half in advance?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s your takeaway from Scot Adams’ writing?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’m just saying that if you want to mock somebody for crappy political divination skills, you should give them a nickname of someone who got the election wrong.

                I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

                Edit: Why not Sam Wang?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                …wasn’t the Dilbert guy the only guy who called it correctly a year and a half in advance?

                Yes. And not only did he call it correctly but he called it for the correct reasons and explained the nuts and bolts of what Trump was doing as it happened.

                It was like someone explain inside baseball, i.e. “the coach will do X because of Y and aim for Z”.

                Trump pulls emotional levers. Adams has studied that sort of thing (he’d call it ‘mind control’ but that term carries a lot of baggage).Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

        I would expect the guy with a pre existing national fundraising infrastructure to have a better opening day than the rookie.

        The question is how much more can he draw from that well.

        Also, based on recent history earned media is as important as fundraising, and Harris has been doing fine with that. (I for one, liked the coat. I couldn’t pull it off myself, though).Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

          I don’t know what the expectation ought to have been. I don’t know when I need to switch from “okay, that’s what I expected” to “huh, that’s pretty good”.

          Kamala’s first 24 hours: $1.5 millionKlobuchar’s first 48 hours $1 millionWarren’s first 24 hours: $300KBernie’s first 12 hours: $3.3 million— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) February 20, 2019

          It’s apparently over $4 million now (from 150,000 people… that’s, um, an average of 26 dollars and 66.666666666666666666666666667 cents).Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kolohe says:

          “I would expect the guy with a pre existing national fundraising infrastructure to have a better opening day than the rookie.”

          haw. “We expected a KO in three rounds, but the champ lasted all the way through round five! Clearly this kid hasn’t got what it takes.”Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

            In the first 24 hours, he raised $6 Million, according to the New York Times.

            WASHINGTON — Just over 24 hours after announcing his presidential bid, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has already raised $6 million from more than 225,000 donors, his campaign said Wednesday morning.

            That amount far surpasses what any of his rivals have disclosed raising after their own announcements this year.

            I don’t know whether this fails to meet expectations, meets expectations, or exceeds expectations.Report

  4. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    Tangential…

    Milwaukee maybe not fancy enough to host Dem Convention.

    But maybe since Chicago is so close, they could use those fancy facilities and just come for the primetime stuff.

    Oh dear.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Semi-OT but CNN hires a GOP flack to oversee 2020 coverage:

    https://www.vox.com/2019/2/19/18231993/cnn-gop-operative-2020-election-coverage

    Maybe internet rage will get this person dismissed quickly but this seems to be kind of stuff that is leading to liberals being just as distrustful of the MSM as conservatives. Only this time with more of a basis in my view. The MSM hates the liberal bias charge so much that they will do anything to get it to go away, including unconditional and unquestioned hiring of GOP hacks.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    HOLY CRAP KARL LAGERFELD HAS DIED

    People will see pictures on television screens and think that Bernie grew a ponytail and started wearing sunglasses like Roy Orbison.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Here’s a story from Valentine’s Day that may or may not be particularly relevant:

    DNC announces fundraising, polling thresholds for early debates

    The Democratic National Committee will limit its first presidential debates this year to 20 candidates, dividing the field over two nights, if necessary, and requiring candidates to meet either a fundraising or polling threshold to participate, a DNC official said Thursday.

    The first debate will be broadcast on NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo on consecutive weekday nights in June, the official said. The second debate will be broadcast by CNN on consecutive weekday nights in July. The DNC and those networks will use random selection to arrange the candidate lineups for each night.

    For its first two debates this year, the DNC said a candidate may qualify for the stage either by reaching 1 percent support in three separate polls — including national polls or early nominating state polls — or by meeting a grass-roots fundraising threshold.

    For the first debate, a candidate seeking to qualify through the fundraising method must receive donations from 65,000 people in at least 20 different states, the DNC official said.

    Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    The number of people I see around the interwebz that blame Bernie for Clinton’s loss is remarkable.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kolohe says:

      Anything to have it not be the emails!Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

      Peter Daou’s twitter has been interesting as hell. He’s spent a while blaming the Berniebros for Clinton’s loss (there was a Verrit code demonstrating that Clinton lost because of Berniebros who switched to Trump, for example) but then eventually tried to build bridges between himself and the Berners because he seemed to notice that his unwavering support for Clinton to the point where he attacked Sanders came across (fairly or not) as attacks on the principles of the progressive left rather than being some variant of politics not being beanbag.

      FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS.
      The singular aim is to defeat Trump, Pence, Miller, McConnell, and their extremist, anti-constitutional cronies.
      If @KamalaHarris can do it, great.
      If @BernieSanders can do it, great.
      If @ewarren can do it, great.
      If [any Dem running] can do it, great.

      — Peter Daou(@peterdaou) February 20, 2019

      (This is after two years of yelling at Sanders supporters. Here’s a representative thread.)

      His feed is worth checking periodically. Whether you think he’s sincere as heck or whether you think he merely knows which side his bread is buttered on, he’s shifted his sights from Berners to… this can’t be right? Mainstream Media?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

      The number of people I see around the interwebz that blame Bernie for Clinton’s loss is remarkable.

      “If Bernie wasn’t so well liked my very disliked candidate surely would have won.”Report

      • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Stillwater says:

        And yet if Bernie was so well liked, why didn’t he win? Don’t say ‘superdelegates’ because they would have jumped over to a truly popular vs unpopular candidate.

        Bernie was popular in a certain set. He was also very unpopular and made himself disliked by other key parts of the party well before Nov. 2016. His remarks about African Americans for instance have been beyond tone deaf, and fed into the narrative that only *white* working class people count (and really only WWC men if you listened to a lot of his supporters). Plus the claims that primary wins for HRC in the south (which were fueled by 80+% AA turn out for Hillary) somehow shouldn’t count because those were red states, but his primary wins in western red states that are lily white absolutely should.

        In short, outside of a fairly closed circle he was not all that well liked by the democratic base in 2016. Given all the stuff that’s come out about how his campaign became a pipeline for disseminating Breibart smears against HRC to young progressives, I doubt that perception has improved.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to bookdragon says:

          And as I’ve said repeatedly, that Clinton won the primary is evidence of a broken Democratic party.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to bookdragon says:

          And yet if Bernie was so well liked, why didn’t he win? Don’t say ‘superdelegates’ because they would have jumped over to a truly popular vs unpopular candidate.

          He didn’t run a very good campaign. His staff was pretty lousy (even relative to Hillary’s, which, um), he got into the race too late, and he his slapdash approach to talking about policy needlessly alienated a lot of wonks, who are actually a somewhat important Dem primary constituency.

          I think he’ll probably make these unforced errors again, making it (more) likely that he won’t really get anywhere.

          But maybe he won’t. And maybe it will help.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

            The topic on this subthread is backward looking, that Trump-voting BernieBros are being blamed for HRC’s loss in the general election. I think that view deserves derision and mockery, but whatever. I’m not sure why establishment Dem voters are so antagonistic towards Bernie. At a minimum, given that Hillary lost, they should be at least *open* to the possibility that he would have defeated Trump in the general. Why think he would have done *worse* than lose?Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

              Because he’s not a Democrat! He’s an independent who caucuses with the Democrats except when he’s running for President.

              This is a silly reason to oppose a candidate if you’re just a voter, even an engaged and active one, but if you’re actually really invested in the Democratic Party as an organization and institution, it’s in your self-interest to oppose such candidates.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

                This is a silly reason to oppose a candidate if you’re just a voter, even an engaged and active one, but if you’re actually really invested in the Democratic Party as an organization and institution, it’s in your self-interest to oppose such candidates.

                Agreed, however I can’t help but view this comment as supporting my claim that the Dem party is broken, especially if liberal/Dem voters reflexively vote for whoever the party insiders tell them to.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Exactly backwards, IMO.

                This happens precisely because the party has something to offer insiders. When it doesn’t, that’s when we’ll know it’s really screwed.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

                Also generally speaking it makes a measure of sense for partisans to follow the lead of a party establishment. It’s not always the optimal approach but it’s a decent heuristic.Report

              • Avatar bookdragon in reply to pillsy says:

                I note that this ignores absolutely everything I pointed out about him alienating a major voting block in the Dem party – not establishment, but AA voters. He also said a bunch of stuff to hack off women. Alienating to a big chunk of people who can traditionally be counted on to turn out and vote for the party candidate generally makes any candidate a bad choice.

                Add in the flailing and bad decisions (popping off for an $$ junket to Rome in the middle of the NY primary), not releasing his taxes (with excuses just as lame as Trump’s), and the fact that he tends to vote somewhat pro-Putin (voted against sanctions – only non-GOP to do so), plus the rape-fantasy porn he wrote in his earlier days, and there are a lot of red flags wrt thinking he’d be a good candidate, let alone a good president. But, little as I like him, I’d still hold my nose and vote for him over Trump.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to bookdragon says:

                Ignoring wasn’t really what I was going for, but there’s a tendency to focus only on those issues at the expense of other significant unforced errors that (IME) are rarely mentioned.

                I’m at best lukewarm on Sanders, didn’t vote for him in the 2016 primary, and have a hard time imagining a scenario where I’d vote from him in the 2020 primary.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

              One reason establishment D’s don’t like Bernie is because he isn’t a D. He hasn’t wanted to be one and was happy to piss into the tent when it suited him. That is fair enough and reasonable.

              Would have won, that is separate question and silly to keep debating. The internecine inter D fights are pointless at this point. We got a a bunch of candidates many with good qualities and ideas to choose from. The toxic fights don’t help any of them.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                One reason establishment D’s don’t like Bernie is because he isn’t a D.

                Does the concept “establishment Ds” extend to voters? If so, that’s a big part of the problem with the party, seems to me.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                From what i see on facebook yes some D voters did not like a guy (and his supporters) who wasn’t in the party get sort of pissy when he didn’t win and seem to feel he deserved it.

                I’m already regretting even thinking about typing this again but…..the fact that Clinton got the nom was always the most likely outcome. It didn’t work out that well except for the peeps who love the current mega corruption ( waves to the Sec of Commerce) but parties are social. They are built of people many of whom had ties to the Clintons because that is how parties work. Leaders put people who support them in jobs. It happens in every party. . So it isn’t really a surprise that Clinton got it and doesn’t really signify much except that the Clinton’s were big in the D’s for decades. We are better off that they are gone now.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    And this tweet is circulating now.

    If you don’t feel like watching it (and I don’t blame you) it shows a young woman explaining that she is $226,000 in debt for getting a four-year degree in Greek Mythology.

    And that’s why she’s going to be voting for Bernie Sanders.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      I think the term for Greek Mythology is usually “classics” and it has been around as a field of study for a long time.

      There is a real anti-intellectualism in the snark against her and similar things that actually borders on classist elitism. Why is it better to live in a world where only the wealthy study classics and other liberal arts subjects? Or even go to college at all?

      I agree with you that “college is not for everyone” but I don’t think it should be decided on economic lines and what people can study also decided on economic lines. Often it feels like “college is not for everyone” quickly morphs into this though along with a sneer against intellectual study in general.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The phrase book learning has often been delivered with a sneer. Plus, it is easily possible to go into big debt while studying an allegedly practical subject like law. You need to get a bachelor’s degree in something to go to law school. Both undergrad and law school cost a lot of money. Chances of getting a law job that is remunerative enough to pay the debts are low. If enough people get STEM degrees, the demand for those jobs and therefore the salaries are going to decrease because of a labor glut.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        For what it’s worth, my point is not in service to “anti-intellectualism”.

        It’s in service to a perfectly good education in Greek Mythology being available here. For free.

        Now, granted, you have to put your back into it. You have to friggin’ read, read, and then read some more. But there it is.

        Now, let’s say that what you could learn from a self-started self-study won’t be as good as a $226,000 degree in the topic. (For what it’s worth, I think this is pretty uncontroversial.) What would such an education be worth?

        Give me a number.

        Now we can do some light math and talk about the difference between this number and $226,000 and the difference between the quality of the education you’d get from reading the sources in that Wikipedia page and the stuff it links to (and the stuff those pages link to (and the stuff those pages link to)).

        And then, I think, we could discuss the grave harm done to this child by shackling her to $226,000 worth of debt. (I just went into an inflation calculator and her debt load is within 1% of the price of my house, when I got it.)

        I understand that you want to frame this as being some kind of anti-intellectualism… that way you can argue against the people who sneer at reading books.

        I’d like to argue against that by saying that I’m a fan of intellectualism.

        I wish we had more of it.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

          Wikipedia is not a substitute for a college education with actual classes and seminars. She probably studied a lot of Greek language classes and a lot of texts that are not often found in wikipedia entries She probably spent a good deal of time reading and translating texts from Greek to English. It also involves the study of culture and art and architecture.

          Saying that wikipedia is a good substitute for this is anti-intellectualism for me.

          What is wrong with a society that makes it affordable for as many young people as possible to attend university and study what interests them?Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Not much. The problem is with a society that tells people it’s affordable to do this when it isn’t.

            And while these people are technically adults when they make the decisions, a lot of the responsibility lies with other people who have better reasons to know better.

            Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree in Greek mythology is not a great idea.

            Lending someone hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a degree in Greek mythology is also not a great idea.

            For some reason, though, we want the people who do the borrowing to bear all the risk. It’s a mystery as to why.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:

              I largely agree. The issue is that I want to live in a world where you can study Greek mythology for less than hundreds of thousands of dollars and to do so in an official classes and seminars way and not through wiki and just taking out of books from the library.

              But there are lots of people who seem to want to burn down the university and just have it all be be self-learning. I’ve been banging about theories why. I think it is partially from our Protestant heritage that rejects middlemen/interpreters, part of it seems to the libertarian version of “anti-establishment”, part of it is own the libs.

              On your last sentence, I think it is for the same reasons and it is easier to do.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I think we should, too, but… hmm.

                Look, I’m going to sound a lot like @jaybird here because he’s actually right about a lot of this.

                We can have a society where people can really study the Classics without being really privileged, and we can have a society where really studying the classics is a major status signal, but we can’t really have both.

                I think we associate far too much status with college education for a variety of reasons most of which actually suck.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to pillsy says:

              For some reason, though, we want the people who do the borrowing to bear all the risk. It’s a mystery as to why.You tell me what the rules are, I’ll tell you what my actions are.

              If you’re telling me that my risk when lending money to you is very high and the return is very low, then I’ll refuse to lend to you. For example if someone can’t get a job teaching Greek means they don’t need to pay back the loans, then people learning Greek can’t get loans.

              At the moment we have a society where anyone can study Greek, and even get loans to pay for it. This is freedom. It’s not only freedom the study Greek, but the freedom to screw up doing so.

              I have one kid in college and I’m about to have another as well. One of the things that stands out is easy it is and how much work it takes to make it “easy”. Success is easy. Failure is easy. But the rules are well posted for anyone who wants to know them.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Yeah and the way I see it, loaning people a ton of money to study Greek Mythology is a risky idea, so if you’re discouraged from loaning it to them, or they have to pay a higher interest rate because of the risk of default, either is better than what we have now.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to pillsy says:

                I like this idea, a lot.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Make it dischargeable in bankruptcy and we see all of these problems evaporate.

                Then, I suppose, we can see people complain about how it’s unfair that people aren’t willing to loan money to people who want to better themselves by getting degrees in something not obviously useful for employment… (but I suppose those people could always go to commuter colleges and pay less for a degree that’s just as good).Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I was trying to describe the likely effects of making it dischargeable in bankruptcy in a roundabout way.

                A lot of these degrees just aren’t worth tens of thousands (let alone hundreds of thousands) of dollars. That doesn’t mean they’re bad or people shouldn’t get them, but it does mean people shouldn’t pay that much for them!Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                Then, I suppose, we can see people complain about how it’s unfair that people aren’t willing to loan money to people who want to better themselves by getting degrees in something not obviously useful for employment… (but I suppose those people could always go to commuter colleges and pay less for a degree that’s just as good).

                I’m having a hard time seeing banks care about what type of degree you have. More likely they’ll just raise the rates for people of little means.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I’m having a hard time seeing banks care about what type of degree you have.

                “Why do life insurance companies care whether you get your steps in?”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Why do life insurance companies care whether you get your steps in?”

                When I got a lot more, they had a nurse measure my BP and called it a day.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Banks care a great deal if someone can pay them back, though, and it’s not like the degree sought has no bearing on that.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to pillsy says:

                pillsy: Banks care a great deal if someone can pay them back, though, and it’s not like the degree sought has no bearing on that.

                True but is close monitoring with the bank’s estimation on GPA to Major to job status really the laziest way they can do this?

                I guess I’m looking for side effects here. I’m good with Greek being harder or more expensive to get loans for, I’m even good with only rich parents being able to afford to have kids that get PhDs in Greek whatever.

                However this thought experiment also raises the risk for loaning to disadvantaged orphans or people with just parents without resources. Not just “if they’re studying Greek” but just “in general”.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                True. Honestly we should probably not be relying as much as we do on loans as a way to fund post-secondary education.

                Also we should probably be clearer about what it’s for. Personal enrichment? Training in economically valuable skills? Certification for post-graduation employers? Status and class signaling?

                It’s sort of a mix of all of these, which is itself a problem. And when you get down to it, a Speech Pathology degree from Directional State, despite being education in a field with good employment prospects, may not offer the same kind of ROI that a literature degree from Yale does.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Wikipedia is not a substitute for a college education with actual classes and seminars.

            I didn’t say that it was.

            Instead, I asked a simple question. Here, let me repeat it:

            Now, let’s say that what you could learn from a self-started self-study won’t be as good as a $226,000 degree in the topic. (For what it’s worth, I think this is pretty uncontroversial.) What would such an education be worth?

            Give me a number.

            Saying that wikipedia is a good substitute for this is anti-intellectualism for me.

            That also is not what I said. Here, let me copy and paste what I said again:

            Now we can do some light math and talk about the difference between this number and $226,000 and the difference between the quality of the education you’d get from reading the sources in that Wikipedia page and the stuff it links to (and the stuff those pages link to (and the stuff those pages link to)).

            And then, I think, we could discuss the grave harm done to this child by shackling her to $226,000 worth of debt. (I just went into an inflation calculator and her debt load is within 1% of the price of my house, when I got it.)

            Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            “What is wrong with a society that makes it affordable for as many young people as possible to attend university and study what interests them?”

            Nothing, but that’s not what the people who talk about college increasing lifetime earnings potential are telling us that college is forReport

          • What is wrong with a society that makes it affordable for as many young people as possible to attend university and study what interests them? [emphasis mine]

            What about non-traditional students?Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I don’t think so, it’s only classics if read in the original Greek. Otherwise, if read in translation, its a literary degree. Which doesn’t answer the question of whether it is time well spent… it certainly could be.

        …but the gal says that she’s $226k in debt for Speech Pathology… which seems a fine vocational degree. I couldn’t say whether $226k is a good investment in a career as a Speech Pathologist. But it is clear that only approx $25k-$50k for the Master’s degree is path dependent… undergrad? Was there a particular reason to spend $175k +/- on the BA? Is that a Public State school? Do we have any particular reason to believe that College for All will pay $175k for Private School tuitions? The 10 most expensive public in-state schools cap out at $18k tuition… room/board for both my college students is about $9k. So, $108k is probably max for College for All… I’d expect it will be less in practice.

        $100k would certainly be helpful to someone $226k in debt, to be sure… but, and I think a lot of people miss this, in order to get the $100k, your choices will be constrained. And that’s ok too. My kid’s choices are pre-constrained by not valuing a 4-yr degree above what can be paid, or paid back.

        I don’t fault the person for spending $226k on Speech Pathology… I’m just not particularly moved by her plight since there are multiple paths to a career in Speech Pathology that don’t require going $226k in debt.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Too bad she doesn’t have a degree in Hearing Pathology or maybe she could help me understand the voices in that video!Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

          but the gal says that she’s $226k in debt for Speech Pathology

          That is a *COMPLETELY* different degree. It’s even STEM adjacent and everything.

          I would like to acknowledge the error and apologize to the young woman for misjudging her. (I had thought that she had done something GIGANTICALLY AND MONUMENTALLY stupid. As it is, she was less taken advantage of than I thought.)

          I imagine that a career that you get in Speech Pathology is likely to be more remunerative than one that you get in The Humanities.

          Hell, why not google it? So I got on the google and put in “speech pathologist salary”.

          73,410 USD
          That’s from 2015, though.

          There was also a page that did it by State and is using 2019 numbers (two numbers, hourly and yearly).
          The top is Massachusetts:
          Massachusetts – Speech Pathologist Salary $54.27 $112,885

          The bottom is North Carolina:
          North Carolina – Speech Pathologist Salary $39.69 $82,551

          Smack dab in the middle is Delaware:
          Delaware – Speech Pathologist Salary $48.35 $100,565

          Does it make sense to get $226,000 in debt for a job that pays $112,885?

          I don’t know. I got a degree in the humanities from a commuter college. My college debt at the end of the last semester was somewhere between six hundred and eight hundred dollars.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I bet if she wrote a thesis paper that Trump is a Tragic Classical Hero in the mold of Ajax, she could recoup that quarter mil pretty damn quick on the Intellectual Dark Web circuit.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

      If someone sold me a bill of goods for a quarter million dollars, I might vote for Bernie Sanders too.Report

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