The violent protests at UC Berkeley that ran Milo Yiannopoulos off campus were probably the best public relations gift the young administration has received to date. They also gave the President an opportunity to do what he does best: Exploit a political disconnect between elites and the median voter (i.e., on special snowflake ideology on college campuses) and then make an outrageous suggestion via a spontaneous tweet designed to send his opponents into fits of hysteria that would discredit them further. In this case, Trump raised hackles by suggesting that the federal government might cut off funding to California’s flagship public university.As governor, Ronald Reagan didn't have a social media account, but he, too, used Berkeley as a foil for his ambitions.
That's probably not the best way to deal with the one-party state that passes for higher education. But I like the guerrilla theater option.
Universities should generally be held accountable by market pressures and in the court of public opinion. The wanton use of federal investigations to bring pressure to bear on universities carries an enormous risk of abuse and politicization—as indeed occurred during the Obama years. And in all likelihood, the Trump Administration’s Department of Education will agree with this assessment.Well, as candidate he did cancel a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago's basketball arena. But a major presidential address at Aaron Rodgers's old stadium, tweaking the assembled academics? Heck, I'd tune into MSNBC to watch it.
That said, if the candidate wants to hassle the People’s Republic of Berkeley, he has a much easier route for doing so: Announce that he will go to the campus to give a major address on political correctness. The Secret Service won’t let fireworks-wielding anarchists shut him down.