Rate Your Professors Running for Congress

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Now that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost his primary, the race to fill Virginia's 7th District seat in 2014 comes down to two professors who happen to teach at the same university: Randolph-Macon College. So while we wait for the collective establishment to catch their breaths and get their brains around tonight's extremely surprising results, let's take a look at which professor rates better with his students. 

Democrat Jack  Trammell is a sociology professor who focuses on disability studies, according to his faculty bio. He has a great rating on Rate My Professors, but a really small sample size: 

There is a chili pepper by Trammell's name on his Rate My Professor's page, but it is not glowing. Based on our understanding of the professor rating site's data reporting methods for professor hotness, this means Trammell is not extremely good-looking by the standards of the two students who rated him back in '08. 

On the other hand, David Brat's pepper is glowing: 

Which means that he is "hot," according to some college students. His overall ratings (on a scale of 5) are much lower than Trammell's, however he has a ton more reviews. There are some good ones: 

And some kind of worrying reports about his reliability as a professor: 

Meanwhile, Brat works in a very different field from Trammell: economics. He seems to have a particular interest in economic ethics, with paper titles like "God and Advanced Mammon – Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?" He also co-wrote "An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.”  Brat's academic background includes a divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. Here's a sample of his work from a paper called "Economic Growth and Institutions: The Rise and Fall of the Protestant Ethic?" which seems to be in the "Christianity and Capitalism are morally and economically superior to everything else" genre of combining religion and economics:  

The discipline of economics is equally slow to acknowledge perhaps the most powerful institution in Western civilization, religion. Only reason, itself, can make a competing claim. Ideas matter and we claim to study rational man. Rational man evolved in Athens and look a long hibernation through the Dark Ages. He was awakened in the 16th century by a host of social forces in Western Europe alone. These forces in turn led to the phenomenon of long-run economic growth from 1800-2000 for many countries. Which ones? It is the job of economics to predict which countries grew fast and to explain why they grew fast. Here is my concluding prediction. Give me a country in 1600 that had a Protestant led contest for religious and political power and I will show you a country that is rich today. Spurious you say. Give me that country again and I predict that it is a democracy, has high human capital endowments, a Parliament that is independent, an insulated Judicial branch, a fairly independent Central Bank, high marks in political liberty and civil rights, high investment in women’s human capital, high levels of innovation and productivity, a mature system of property rights protection. I conclude.

(h/t Suzy Khimm)  

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.