Skip to comments.Is the GOP Doomed by the ‘Generation Gap’?
Posted on 11/28/2012 11:20:26 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying, Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.
And any man who writes on politics for New York Magazine has neither heart nor brains --- especially if his name is Jonathan Chait:
How doomed are conservatives? Pretty doomed, if you look carefully at the Pew Research Surveys close analysis of the youth vote in the 2012 elections. The Republicans long-term dilemma has generally been framed in racial terms, but its mainly a generational one. The youngest generation of voters contains a much smaller proportion of white voters than previous generations, and those whites in that generation vote Republican by a much smaller margin than their elders. Whats more, younger voters supported President Obama during the last two election cycles for reasons that seem to go beyond the usual reasons social issues like gay marriage and feminism, immigration policy, or Obamas personal appeal and suggest a deeper attachment to liberalism. The proclivities of younger voters may actually portend a full-scale sea change in American politics.
Chait needs a quick trip to the Wizard of Oz. In addition to heart and brains, he might see if the old humbug has any common sense rattling around in that sack.
The transformation of the young from liberal to conservative begins when they get their first paycheck as teenagers. The look of shock and dismay on these kids’ faces would be comical if you didn’t remember having the same look on your face when you got your first paycheck. “What’s FICA?” they wail. The disbelief they feel that the government would take so much — enough to fill up their gas tanks or get a couple of CDs — is not quite a Road to Damascus moment, but it certainly gets the wheels turning.
Feeling this way doesn’t make them any less compassionate for those less fortunate, or resentful of those on the dole. But it is their first lesson in understanding the adage that all those who can’t wait for their “free” health care under Obamacare seem to have forgotten: “There is no free lunch.” The first step in the transformation of liberal to conservative is a cognitive one — the understanding that funding the government so that it can bestow all those benefits is a fine thing in the abstract. But when it comes to you having actual skin in the game when the government taxes you for those benefits, your perspective is altered dynamically.
Obviously, not all young people who harbor liberal tendencies end up being conservative. But something happens to many youngsters when they hit their 20s, get married, have a kid or two, and discover the real world — the world of mortgages, and bills, and saving for college, and scrimping and saving for that vacation every year. They concern themselves with things they never gave a second thought to when they were kids: values, morals, and the responsibility that comes with raising children.
Conservatism as a philosophy answers many of these needs. Conservatism as a political ideology, not so much. Some conservative ideologues have hijacked the philosophy of conservatism and enslaved it to a very unconservative agenda that is non-inclusive, revanchist, and destructive of community. It’s not that young people are any more or less liberal than they were in previous generations. Nor is it true that gay marriage and “free” contraceptives will make them permanently leftist in their worldview. In fact, to make that point, Chait goes whistling by the grave yard because he surely knows that with age brings wisdom. And the riot of conceits that still defines liberalism usually doesn’t survive the path to adulthood.
The “Millennial Generation” (we have to call them something) is no different than any other generation. Conservatives like to say that kids today have been brainwashed by liberal academia. We were saying the same thing 30 years ago, just like they were saying it 20 years ago and 10 years ago. Young people have always absorbed liberal ideas from their teachers and sought to change the world. We used to think you could do it through music and marching. We ended up ruining far more than we changed. What we know now is that a single entrepreneur has the potential to change the lives of thousands of people in real, concrete ways that no liberal could have imagined 30 years ago, and few could imagine today.
What has changed — and what is driving the young away from the GOP — is the make-up of much of the base of the current incarnation of the Republican Party — dominated by hyperpartisan ideologues, anti-government activists, and Christian zealots at war with modernity. Until more reasonable, pragmatic voices begin to be heard in the GOP, writers like Jonathan Chait will continue to fool themselves into thinking that the generational evolution from liberal to conservative has been halted and that liberals have won a permanent victory.
The young skulls full of mush need to learn that "elections do have consequences". You make a mess, YOU deal with it.
Pretty much. The demographic shift has been nothing but titanic. Time for a new party.
Why is youth wasted on the young?
Why is wisdom wasted on the old?
At some point, all those youthful voters will become older, wiser, and conservative in droves.............
Having the entire incoming House leadership consisting of white males and nothing but is not exactly the slickest step.
The GOP is done. What does it even stand for any more?
We have to seize control of education or we have no chance.
Its like leaving the German factories intact and hoping to defeat Hitler.
I could not disagree more. Appealing to voters by skin color and sex is a losing process. What we need is real conservatives, who understand and can clearly articluate basic Constitutional principles, and have COURAGE, and quick wits, and are not only willing but straining at the leash to take on the Dems/leftists and the MSM. (But I repeat myself).
That will appeal to many voters. Shoving a bunch of brown faces and females up there will never win elections. The party of feminazis and hate whitey are the Dems, and if you think Rs can beat them at the feminist/hate whitey game, you're nuts.
If women and/or candidates of other races are conservative, GREAT. Look what happened to Allen West - the "GOP" mucked up the district lines because the GOP hates conservatives, and then election fraud by Dems on top of it. As long as Rs are *ickless eunuch RINOS, they will continue to lose, and aping Dems will make them lose even more.
The more time you spend educating kids instead of indoctrinating them, the better.
The current intelligence gap is intentional and consistent with turning this country’s crop of brain power into so much mush.
I am from a different era, it seems.. I had a thirst for knowledge and read a lot of books at an early age. Has the written word in printed form and bound copy got legs? Film at 11..
I see all the little iPads and smartphones enabling this generation’s mobile ‘geniuses’ being used to pave the way to knowledge and to teach about history in a way never before imagined could be possible... no intent to Kindle a Fire .. jmho
Alice in VunderLand got nothing over this joint society.
“Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying, Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.
Churchill’s shrewd observation made sense-—decades ago. It needs to be updated to reflect the reality that young adults are being used as a cash cow by old folks. This piece focuses on Obamacare: http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisconover/2012/11/27/young-people-under-obamacare-cash-cow-for-older-workers/
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg since young folks also are being tapped to bankroll Medicare even though they have little assurance that Medicare will be around by the time they need to make use of it. Their lifetime earnings are going to take a huge hit as a consequence of their having spent their first 8 working years in an Obama economy that greatly under-employs their talent.
In short, the ruling class is seeing that youth get shafted six ways from Sunday which means that anyone under 30 who is not conservative has no brains.
Honestly I think the change towards conservatism with age is most likely to be in terms of fiscal policy, and a greater emphasis on being “tough on crime” (the latter was not remotely an issue in the 2012 campaign, but it was a big deal in the 1980s).
However, I think a 24 year old who likes gays and gay rights, and is pro-choice, is going to have similar views on both issues when they are 44.
Social liberalism spells doom for America, and means that liberalism will prevail.
We have come a long way from the time when Nixon could win the under vote.
I doubt even a reincarnated Gipper could win the next election.
Exactly. Once these kids grow up and get knocked around a little bit, fiscal responsibility will make sense. National security will make sense. Internal security (crime) will make sense. They are never going to care if Ellen and Portia are married. No one thought divorce was ever going to be as universally accepted as it is today, and the same will happen with attitudes towards gay marriage.
It is probably impossible to measure the incredible damage that the republican party allowed Romney to do to it, and how that will affect us in 2016.
We can rest assured that Reagan would have easily won in 2012, against Jimmy Carter’s second term, as any decent republican would have.
Republicans should be able to win in 2016 as well.
But, keep in mind, as this last election showed,
the left has done their best to insulate people from the consequences of leftist ideology.
Infinite unemployment, $60k+ in “aid” taxfree per year, etc.
These programs prevent a backlash against the failures of socialism, and they can keep paying for them until the whole thing comes crashing down.
I’ve been saying this since the election - the only way “out” is “through”.
And there wasn’t one true conservative GOP woman in the House qualified to be a committee chair? Optics matter today. Boehner just helped the Dems paint the GOP as the party of old white males, and I’m an old white male.