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Can Education be the Key to Flipping Red States Blue?

Education has been a factor in determining who people vote for in elections for years, and there is a correlation between education and party affiliation. Overwhelmingly, it has been shown that the poorly educated tend to vote Republican, while the more highly educated tend to vote Democrat.

Yes, that is a generalization, but I strongly believe that the key to flipping red states blue is to improve education for more Americans, and that can especially be said for minority voters.

In the video above, Chris Waldron (right) and NFN Editor & Publisher Bob Gatty discuss Waldron's conclusion that improving public education is a key to turning red states blue. Check it out.)

“We don’t need no education” -Pink Floyd

As an educator, I should be appalled at the comment. In fact, we all should.

So, what is the real issue here?

When Donald Trump was a candidate, he boldly -- and cynically -- stated “I love the poorly educated” while campaigning in Nevada. And why not? Being poorly educated means you will do little research. Not surprisingly, a majority of his base is indeed poorly educated.

Could that be why he selected the wholly unqualified Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education? DeVos is an advocate for school choice, which means diverting much needed funds from deteriorating public schools to for-profit private institutions, as if she were trying to take us back to the "separate but equal" days of the old South. She has no education degree or teaching experience, yet is setting policy for our educational system.

Instead of relying on facts, the poorly educated depend upon right wing media outlets, such as Fox, for their slanted information, and Trump is only too happy to reinforce this notion by Tweeting conspiracy theories spread by these same outlets. The vast number of Trump supporters who cite ratings over facts to justify their claims is nothing less than shocking.

Could there be a more nefarious reason behind the failing school systems in red states? Could Republicans purposely underfund education to maintain their hold on power? Lawmakers refuse to address this adequately. What could be behind this?

Could it be that by keeping schools underfunded, they make it more difficult to have a well-informed electorate, thereby cementing their hold on power?

The history of education and segregation in the south suggests this could well be the case. After all, in South Carolina it was once illegal for Blacks -- slaves -- to go to school. And the state is known for its "Corridor of shame," counties across the heart of the Palmetto State that are known for their neglect of public education and segregationist practices.

This past year, thousands of South Carolina teachers and supporters marched on their capital, Columbia, demanding better wages and better working conditions. They also protested the promised 10 percent wage increase that had been winnowed down to a mere 4 percent. This, as South Carolina ranks near the bottom of the scale when it comes to teacher salaries and faces widespread teacher shortages. Last year alone, almost 7,000 teachers quit.

Sadly, this is not just a South Carolina problem. If you look at the statistics, most of the low-performing states are Republican controlled. You would think there would be a public outcry to this issue, but by keeping the public uninformed, it permits lawmakers the luxury of keeping their jobs.

What if we turned things around? What if we made it our mission to inform the public of these shortcomings? Would they listen?

As stated above, most people who find themselves affiliated with one party or another do so based upon their educational background, with the more highly educated, and presumably more informed, voters calling themselves Democrats. Yet, the poorly educated are overwhelmingly Republican. Certainly, there are exceptions -- big business execs, uber wealthy individuals who benefit from his unfair tax cuts, and others. But, in my view, the generalization is valid.

We need to reverse the trend in Republican controlled states. We need to educate the public and support our teachers so they can do the same.

Perhaps this is the key to turning red states blue.

In the video above, Chris Waldron (right) and NFN Editor & Publisher Bob Gatty discuss Waldron's conclusion that improving public education is a key to turning red states blue. Check it out.)

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