Our party has failed tradespeople. It used to be that Democrats could count on the votes of miners, ranchers, farmers, dockworkers, truck drivers, auto mechanics, plumbers, roofers, carpenters, floor layers, landscapers, and other hard – working blue collar tradespeople, but not anymore. People in those industries have gone almost entirely Republican.

As a truck driver and former carpenter, and landscaper, I believe I have my finger on the pulse of why: Our party has placed a premium on the value of college education. Leftist independent senator Bernie Sanders has even gone so far as to say, “everybody knows that the only way for young people to enter the middle class is through a decent college education.” That’s hogwash!

68% of Americans never finish college. Instead, we choose equally valid educational paths – be it through vocational school, or more commonly, through on the job training. I have done both – vocational school for my commercial driver’s license and on the job training to learn various aspects of building construction and landscaping.

I would hold the knowledge required to do those jobs up against what students learn while pursuing an academic education without even a moment’s hesitation. Academics are not better. They are just different.

And lest anybody think on-the-job training any less costly than an academic education, I challenge you to price out the cost of replacing a journeyman’s tools brand-new. A college student might pay $150 for a textbook. A carpenter will pay that much for just a basic decent framing hammer – never mind all of the other kinds of hammers required for carpentry.

We tradespeople have been made to feel inferior by academics for far too long in this country and I will not have it anymore! College is not a better path than trades–just a different one. We who chose the path of trades over academics did not fail the American dream. We built it! And we are the ones who maintain it!

Our nation is in desperate need of an infrastructure rebuild. For every five academically trained engineers, we are going to need 200 people who know how to lay a road, dig a tunnel, build a bridge, erect a damn and for that matter, do the demolition required (demolition is an education unto its own) to start that building. We have got to start giving tradespeople our fair consideration when we talk about things like preparing young people for life in America’s middle class.

I don’t think we have any business talking about “free college” in a nation where academics are a minority pursuit and where trades result in the majority of career paths and workers and jobs. I love academics. I value academics, but I do not maintain my party line that academics are superior to trades. If we Democrats don’t get this through our skulls, we will continue to lose hard-working Americans and we will continue to lose elections.

We have lost over 1000 legislative seats and been reduced to 14 state governorships over the past several years and I believe it’s because of our snobbery. That ends now! It is time to send a real trades person to Washington DC on behalf of hard-working men and women who chose a path other than academics to care for our families and to build and maintain our own versions of the American dream.

If anybody thinks I lack education for the lack of a piece of paper, I give you my reading list in the section marked “books” on my website and bid you to compare that to the reading list of our current Ivy League graduate in chief and then you tell me which education is more valuable.

If I am elected president, we can talk about affordable college education, but we are going to talk about it with an emphasis on giving equal consideration to tradespeople. It is my contention that the struggle is part of the education – much like chipping one’s self out of an egg is part of the process of birth for a bird. And I believe removing the struggle may be as cripplingly harmful as helping that bird from its shell.

This country does not belong to academics. It does not belong to trades people. This country belongs to all of us no matter what career or educational path we choose–and if we Democrats want to govern this nation again, we had better give the working person their due.

In 2020, it’s time to elect a president who earned his education in the same university of hard knocks as the majority of Americans. It’s time to elect a president whose education included bloody knuckles, dirt, sweat, grease, and grime.

It’s time to elect a president who respects you because he knows firsthand what it’s like to walk through life in your steel toed shoes! Harry Widdifield for President!

Harry on the issues.