Ted Cruz Is America's Princeton Nightmare

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 23 2013 10:22 AM

Ted Cruz Needs To Stop Trying to Make Princeton Happen

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Sen. Ted Cruz went to Princeton. La-dee-da.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Dan Amira says that Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is the world's most condescending elitist, but while the elitism on display here is certainly reprehensible, it's reflective of a sad pathology all too common to the graduates of a certain university in New Jersey:

The elite academic circles that Cruz was now traveling in began to rub off. As a law student at Harvard, he refused to study with anyone who hadn't been an undergrad at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Says Damon Watson, one of Cruz's law-school roommates: "He said he didn't want anybody from 'minor Ivies' like Penn or Brown."
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Let me say first off: This is an insane attitude to have about life. Completely, utterly insane on every level.

On the other hand, if you are going to get into this kind of mindset, the fact of the matter is that there are two "major" Ivies, and Princeton is not one of them. Perhaps the clearest example of this misconception that Princeton alumni labor under was the BuzzFeed demolisticle "46 Signs You Went to Princeton." Sign No. 33 was: "You don’t know what it means to actually care about football when you’re not playing against Harvard or Yale." But nobody at Harvard or Yale cares about the Princeton game! It's the saddest thing. Once a year you see all these Tigers getting agitated about some football game nobody else even knows is happening.

There is an Ivy League, and there is a Harvard-Yale rivalry. Princeton is not a thing. I would suggest a rivalry with Penn.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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