Wednesday, July 16, 2008

McCain and School Choice

Clint Bolick, who has championed school choice for decades, has a terrific piece in the Wall Street Journal on the electoral implications of school choice among Hispanics.

Polls -- from both parties -- show that Hispanics want school choice and will vote for the candidate who champions it:

But where the poll really gets interesting is on school choice as an electoral issue: 65% of those surveyed reported that they would be more likely to support a candidate for office who supports school choice, including 35% who said they would be "much more likely." Only 19% said they would be less likely to vote for a pro-school choice candidate.

These numbers were high regardless of whether the person was of Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban descent. They also transcended party affiliation: 67% of Republicans, 70% of independents and 63% of Democrats preferring pro-school choice candidates. And 70% of those who prefer pro-school choice candidates -- including 66% of Democrats -- said they would cross party lines to vote for a candidate who supports school choice over one who opposes it.

John McCain has consistently advocated school choice, including vouchers, for years. And now he needs to incorporate the issue into his campaign. Candidates down ticket should do likewise.

School choice exemplifies Republican philosophy: we trust parents to make the best choice for their children, absent proof to the contrary. So let parents spend their educational dollars as they see fit.

Update: McCain wants to win after all. He's hitting the school choice issue hard. That brings hope not just to his campaign, but to families who are stuck in failing schools.

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