When Hillary Clinton won big Tuesday in New York’s Democratic primary, she said it’s not enough to diagnose problems, one must have a way to solve them. Her swipe at Sen. Bernie “Free College” Sanders echoed what she told Newsday’s editorial board last week, when members asked whether she’s disappointed that young women aren’t more thrilled by the ceiling-shattering prospect of her candidacy for president.
Clinton responded that young people were “excited by something new and that is a little different and a little revolutionary and promises free college.”
Aha. The price of a college education is front and center in this campaign in a way it never has been before. Democrats like Clinton and Sanders are speaking to their party’s left-most wing, which wants answers. And once the GOP names its candidate, it’s a good bet that he will have to answer the question, too.
Whether Sanders’ “free” college is really free or practical, he has at least put this issue on the front burner. As a country, we have an obligation to take down barriers to people making better lives for themselves. American history, as Sanders often points out, shows that we have traditionally valued education as a public good – not something people should be priced out of. Let’s return to that inspired impulse. More »