So much for the isolation of the professoriate. So much for the tired ol’ phrase about academics living in Ivory Towers. Not one, but two social-science professors from a conservative private liberal-arts college — Randolph-Macon — will be dueling. A pair of Virginia Philosopher-Kings — what we could call the neo-Virginia Dynasty, or Mute Tribune — coming from two politically divergent disciplines: economics and sociology.
The pair is Tea Party Professor David Brat, an economist with a divinity graduate degree, who is a macro-growth and international trade/finance economist, vs. mainstream moderate Democratic Professor Jack Trammell, a sociologist who specializes in disability in higher education (what luck for Barack and Hillary, who support helping persons with disabilities and increasing funding in higher education).
A pair of Randolph-Macon professors will be vying this November for the unthinkable (that is, if you continue reading textbooks on the 98 percent advantage for incumbents in Congress). This makes even opposition Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi nervous about the unseating of Eric Cantor, her opposition.
To me, the idea of dueling professors — or elite philosopher-kings — is much more exciting news than the idea that the mainstream in Washington or inside the Beltway is emphasizing. This makes a much better historic story than what’s rolling round in the mainstream press — the unprecedented unseating of an incumbent, who is part of the majority party’s establishment, no less (making his odds 1 in 100 years of being displaced).
Will the moralistic preacher/philosopher/economist win, or will the sociologist, who wants to offer a helping hand to all members of society, prevail?