The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

5 percent of House members don’t have a college degree

Twenty-four House members -- 17 Republicans and seven Democrats -- don't have a bachelor's degree, according to number crunching conducted by the folks at College Raptor. That's about 5 percent of the 435-member House. That number may surprise you, but it does provide some perspective on the ongoing debate about what the fact that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker didn't graduate from college means (if anything) for his 2016 presidential chances.

I've contended in this space that bashing Walker as somehow not smart enough to be president is a major tactical mistake by Democrats. That's because the majority of Americans older than 25 don't have a bachelor's degree. And, guess what: Most of them don't think they are dumb or unworthy of promotions despite that.

There's a ton of fascinating stuff in the College Raptor infographic, which you can check out here. As the picture above shows, a majority of House Republicans went to public colleges while a majority of House Democrats went to private schools. The median ranking of the colleges and universities that House Republicans graduated from is 262 in the country; it's 121 for Democrats. Twenty-five Democrats graduated from top 10 schools while eight Republicans did the same. (Add them up and you find that 7.5 percent of the 435 House members graduated from top 10 colleges and universities.)

The most common alma mater in the House is Harvard -- don't act surprised -- with 10 Crimson-ites (is that a thing?) in the chamber. Michigan is second -- but first among public schools -- with eight graduates in the House. Georgetown -- aka the best school in the country -- is tied for fifth, with a bunch of other schools including Wisconsin, Maryland and Texas &M.  Where's Duke, you might ask? (Or, more accurately, I might ask.) Well down the list, with just three graduates in the House. North Carolina (Chapel Hill) has four.

Aside from being highly entertaining, what does all of this information tell you?  Well, lots of things but maybe most important: If you are in Congress, you are almost as likely to have no college degree as you are to have graduated from one of the 10 best schools in the country.  That's telling -- and should give some pause to those bashing Walker for his alleged lack of intellectual heft.

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