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How Democrats Got Radical on the Cost of College

The presidential-election cycle has barely begun but one thing is already clear: The Democratic candidates want to talk about student debt. No surprise there; the trillion-dollar student-loan bubble has captured the national imagination in ways few higher-education issues have, and candidates are essentially obligated to have a plan to address it.

But what is surprising—how quickly we forget—is just how recent a development this is. When Barack Obama was simply a senator running for the Democratic nod in 2008, the conversation around student debt and college affordability looked different—very different.