Democratic and liberal commencement speakers outnumber Republican and conservative speakers at America’s most prestigious, most expensive colleges and universities by a ratio of more than 7-to-1 for the class of 2015.
At America’s Ivy League bastions and at the rest of the fancypants schools atop the gold-standard U.S. News college rankings, 22 Democratic officeholders, Democratic political appointees and various Democratic hangers-on are slated to pontificate during commencement exercises.
The right side of the American political spectrum is represented by exactly three people this year. Three.
A Republican senator and a Republican former secretary of state will deliver commencement speeches at elite schools in coming weeks. There’s also nominally conservative cultural commentator David Brooks.
While Republican speakers have not been some hot ticket even when a Republican has been president, the current ascendancy of Democrat Barack Obama in the White House can explain part of the overwhelming preference for liberal commencement speakers.
Of this year’s 22 left-leaning speakers at top-flight schools, three are currently-serving Democratic politicians. Vice President Joe Biden is slated to speak at both Yale University and the United States Naval Academy. The University of Virginia will host Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will travel all the way across the country for Columbia University’s commencement.
Three lefty speakers are former Democratic politicians. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will speak at Harvard. Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman, will speak at Cornell University. Walter Mondale will address Macalester College graduates.
Additionally, first lady Michelle Obama will lecture newly-minted graduates at Oberlin College. (RELATED: Meet The Privileged Obama-Supporting White Kids Who Perpetrated Cruel Oberlin Race Hoax)
Four big-time Democratic contributors will deliver keynote commencement speeches in 2015. These wealthy donors include former Democratic National Committee national finance chair Philip D. Murphy, who was rewarded for his bundling efforts with a plum post as Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Germany.
The University of California, Berkeley will host Salesforce.com CEO and Obama super-bundler Marc Benioff, who (along with his wife) spent almost $135,000 just on Obama’s 2012 re-election effort.
Democratic donors Christopher Nolan and Ken Burns will speak respectively at Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis.
America’s most elite colleges will host no fewer than five Obama appointees as commencement speakers. They are Samantha Power (University of Pennsylvania), Megan Smith (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Ursula Burns (Williams College), France A. Córdova (Pomona College) and William “Bro” Adams (Colorado College).
Other notable Democrats and liberals who will be on display for commencement exercises at America’s best colleges include Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington (Vassar College), hoary actors Robert Redford (Colby College) and Alan Alda (Carnegie Mellon University), social justice doctor Paul Farmer (Duke University) and global warming dogmatist Bill McKibben (Grinnell College).
On the Republican side, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito will speak at Washington and Lee University and former Secretary of State Colin Powell will speak at Rice University.
Brooks is scheduled to speak at Dartmouth College. (RELATED: Dartmouth Is America’s Most Hopelessly And Disturbingly Fragile Ivy League School)
Conservative commencement speakers are frequently subject to protests — or pressured to cancel. Prolific columnist Zev Chafets has a new book outlining some of the more egregious examples thus phenomenon and collecting notable keynote speeches by conservatives: Remembering Who We Are: A Treasury of Conservative Commencement Addresses.
Some of America’s ultra-prestigious colleges have managed to invite commencement speakers whose professional lives have transcended politics (at least a little bit) or have managed to avoid the temptation to invite (and frequently pay gobs of cash to) some celebrity to give a speech few will remember.