As we all know, numbers can be framed to represent just about anything we desire. In this case, "The 10 best educated and wealthiest states in the country voted for Obama" and "The 10 least educated and poorest states in the country voted for Romney" with the conclusion: "The best and brightest chose Obama." On the surface, that sounds rather impressive for Obama, until we dig a bit further. As we consider the demographics of the "best educated" and "wealthiest" regions of the country, we realize that perhaps those numbers are a bit misleading.In reviewing the states that are considered "best educated," most are located on the East Coast, primarily in New England. Coincidentally, that is the area where all of the Ivy League schools are located (best educated) along with their feeder-prep schools. The proximity of these institutions greatly influence their surrounding communities (cities), and they are also well-connected to the media outlets, which inform the greater population. Most would agree that these schools teach a left-leaning curriculum, which I assume is because they consider change and new ideas to be "progressive" (Democrat) and traditional theories (Republican) to be old-fashioned, thus outdated. If you are paying $50,000 a year to educate your child, you want them to learn something new, but as we all know, new does not always equal better. Thus, states like New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, etc., will always be influenced by the Ivy League colleges located within them. In addition, these schools have strong connections to the urban areas within their region, supplying professors, graduates, and "research" facilities to the largest corporations in their states. So, in sheer numbers, you would have more voters with advanced degrees in Massachusetts, where there are over 100 colleges and universities, than in a state like Kansas, where you have less than one-third of that number.Does that mean that a Massachusetts voter with an MBA is smarter than an MBA voter from Kansas? Why are there so many Ivy and Ivy-type colleges on the East Coast? Because that is where our founding fathers lived, thus built them, and in this case, the institutions that frown upon teaching tradition love their traditional heritage. It is not that they are necessarily better, but due to their pedigree they have historic endowments that allow them to offer considerably more academic and research opportunities, thus more "discoveries" leading to greater credibility and exposure, and more money. There are not many Nobel prizes being awarded to A&M schools. After all, farming and ranching have not changed much in the past century.In addition, these urban areas tend to be international finance and commerce centers, attracting many large corporate headquarters. The supply and demand of this environment leads to increased cost-of-living expenses, which demand higher wages, thus demographically "wealthier" voters. In addition, large urban areas have many more minorities, due to job availability, concentrated transport and other living conveniences, which tend to vote Democrat.On the other end, as we review history, we recognize that while huge urban areas tend to produce more white-collar businesses and manufacturing, the rural areas take advantage of the abundance of land and suitable weather conditions for farming and ranching, which feeds the rest of the country - yes, including the "wealthier, more educated" urban areas. Corporate and political wheeling and dealing would come to a halt without the "bread-basket, fly-over states." The knowledge and skill required to run an agricultural company with national and international exports is equal or greater to that of their urban, white-collar counterparts. Yet they will never gain the respect they deserve until you see a Harvard A&M. Does that make a rancher dumber than a corporate executive? Think about some of the more famous "uneducated" people like Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Benjamin Franklin, John D. Rockefeller Sr., Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, John Glenn, Ray Kroc, Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney, Coco Chanel, Colonel Sanders, David Geffen, etc. Were they dumb? An education can be had outside of a university.And regarding wealth, if a person's income buys them a better standard of living than their urban counterpart, does that make them "poorer" (rentals in Cedar Rapids run about 80 percent less than in New York City, thus requiring less money for a higher standard of living). Thus, a lower income does not always equal being "poorer." The Democrats continue to attempt to frame themselves as smarter than Republicans, as is evidenced by statistics like those in the "Fools" column. However, the Republicans are in awe that so many people voted for Obama a second time around, given his presidential record. It is like the Einstein quote, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."Obama voters are not stupid, but the jury is out on the insanity verdict. Jackie Cartier, who has more than 25 years of political communications experience and is the president and CEO of Winning Images, recently moved back to Eagle-Vail from Washington, D.C. She can be reached by email at WinningImages.Cartier@gmail.com or by phone at 202-271-4165. Visit her website at www.winningimagesbycartier.com.
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