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Survey: Most Students Who Get Truman Scholarships Support Democrats

Survey: Most Students Who Get Truman Scholarships Support Democrats

“awardees involved in political work overwhelmingly have ties to Democratic politicians or groups”

The group that disburses the scholarships denies any bias, naturally.

The College Fix reports:

Feds give nonpartisan, $30K scholarship mostly to students who support Democrats

There’s a saying that “once is chance, twice is coincidence, third time is a pattern.” If that’s true, the 2017 Truman Scholars displays a pattern.

A survey of this year’s scholars by The College Fix found that many recipients of the $30,000 federal scholarship lean left. Specifically, most awardees involved in political work overwhelmingly have ties to Democratic politicians or groups and liberal organizations.

Even the 2017 finalist pool showed bias. For example, nearly a dozen worked or volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign; none for Donald Trump’s campaign.

The findings come on the heels of a similar report from The College Fix that found the same trend among the 2015 and 2016 scholars.

But the federal scholarship is supposed to be nonpartisan. A spokesman for the group denies any bias.

“We do not ask and have way no way of knowing whether Truman candidates are Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. And it is not important to us,” Andrew Rich, executive secretary of Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, said in an email to The Fix.


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It’s not obvious that this implies bias on the part of the selectors. You’d see the same biased result if the population is biased … which it is. Juveniles and women are both biased toward Democrats (though for different reasons). Therefore any randomly selected set of juveniles or women would be expected to lean more heavily Democratic.

Now of course the recipients of this scholarship probably are not a randomly selected set, and the selectors may well indeed be exerting a bias in their award decisions. But the data presented don’t give us any really strong reason to suspect that.

I am a Truman Scholar, and I can tell you that the Foundation honestly does not care. In my class, we had members of all political stripes. If there isn’t proportional representation across America’s ideological spectrum in each class, it’s a function of the purpose of the scholarship – to promote a career in public service. The Truman Scholarship exists to help obtain education for a person who foregoes the rewards of the private sector to pursue non-profit or government careers. When you hear “government career,” is conservative Republican the first think you think? (Most I know actively despise government). Every organization that receives tax dollars should be subjected to scrutiny. But this sounds a bit like sour grapes from somebody who didn’t get selected. As the comment above notes, you have to look at self-selection at work. Is anybody shocked that a good portion of public service minded women supported Hillary Clinton in the year she could have become our first woman president? Would anybody be shocked if they had a scholarship for people who want to do real estate development that more Trump supporters than Clinton ones were selected? I’d be surprised if it didn’t play that way, honestly. On the other hand, show me a conservative with impeccable academic credentials who wants to go global with a thriving non-profit he or she created to feed kids, and more times than not, I will show you a Truman Scholar.