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There may be nearly two dozen declared presidential candidates for the two major parties, but America remains as far from electing the next James Garfield as ever.  It falls to EphBlog to consider who, in the absence of a real William College alum in the field, has the best claim to being an Eph.  Dissenting opinions welcome. Let’s begin with the Democratic candidates.

Hillary Clinton.

Education: Wellesley, then Yale Law.

Comments: Resembles a college administrator: old, corporatist, falsely  populist, disdainful of transparency. Her liberal arts background (albeit at an institution that continues to exclude an entire gender) would make her a favorite, but when it came time to take Chelsea shopping for colleges, Amherst was on the list, but not Williams.  And if — as appears to be the case — she’s on the verge of squandering an overwhelming nomination advantage for the second time, aren’t we glad she’s not an Eph?

Martin O’Malley:

Education. Catholic University, University of Maryland Law.

O’Malley was one of the inspirations for the fictional mayor Tommy Carcetti on “The Wire,” which was exceedingly popular among Ephs and became the subject of a course taught by Professor Manigault-Bryant of the Africana Studies Department.  And he has musical talent.

Lincoln Chafee.

Education. Brown University, Montana State University.

Once a liberal Republican, now a Democrat, Chafee went to graduate school to become a farrier, and then shoed horses for seven years. Kind of an Eph thing to do. As governor of the state that contains Roger Williams, could he be mistaken for an Eph? Probably not.

James Webb.

Education. USC, then the U.S. Naval Academy. Georgetown Law School.

Webb served in Vietnam as a Marine, the military service favored by EphBlog for its storied tradition of Ephs in service. And he rose to prominence on the strength of his critically-acclaimed 1978 novel about the Vietnam War, Fields of Fire. He later taught literature at the Naval Academy.  A literary Marine — that’s kind of Eph-y.

Bernie Sanders.

Education. Brooklyn College, then transferred to the University of Chicago. Not very Eph choices.

Former Senator from Vermont, a very Eph-y state — and into which the Williams campus spreads. A socialist, which has earned him early grassroots enthusiasm at Williams, like this July 29 potluck, and makes him popular in Eph-y places like Portland and Somerville.  That carries some weight, but enough to offset his urban education?

Verdict: Let’s face it, none of these folks has “I’m a secret Eph” written all over them.  Does Eph enthusiasm for Sanders and his New England career outweigh Hillary’s educational background?  Let’s call it a tie.

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