The Pew Research Center has completed a fine study on political alignment by generation. Spoiler: young people start off liberal and become more conservative as they get older. Did you know that? Didja?
True to the stormy nature they have retained throughout their entire lives, the Boomers are perfectly divided along party lines with few independents relative to the younger generations. They have gotten more conservative and, united with older Gen-Xers, put Trump in the White House.
The biggest takeaway, to me, is that Democratic and liberal affiliation has been steadily growing among Millennials and, to a lesser extent, Gen-Xer’s since 2000. That was the year the first Millennials reached voting age (hence their name) and as more of them have reached “adulthood” they’ve become more liberal. Notably, they’re the only generation in which liberals outnumber conservatives and it’s by a large margin.
2020 will be the first presidential election in which the entire Millennial generation will be old enough to vote and it isn’t hard to predict how they’ll break. What is difficult to say is whether they’ll turn out to vote. Assuming that the Democrats run another old and decrepit corporatist establishment type in 2020, I’d expect Trump to win re-election easily since Millennials don’t seem to like dragging themselves out of mom’s basement for anyone not named Barack Obama.
Looking beyond 2020, however, I think America’s political future is clear and for Republicans like me, it’s grim. I’m very much convinced that I’m on the losing side, regardless of the current strength of the GOP and its dominant position. The GOP is hastening its own doom by rejecting true limited, Constitutional government when it has the last great opportunity to champion it.
Millennials will shift to the right over time, but not soon enough. In the meantime, I fully expect them to bring their progressive preferences to reality once they are fully engaged in the 2030’s. The rich will pay more taxes, education and health care and probably a few other services will be guaranteed by the government, and an increasingly left-wing federal judiciary will carry the ball even further in the absence of any constitutional amendments to restrain it.
I stop short of saying that Millennials are going to go full Marxist, but they believe that they are the victims of income inequality, predatory lending practices, and other forces. They will never forget what they’re going through now. When they are old enough and politically powerful enough, they are going to settle scores and do whatever they believe will ensure a level playing field for future generations.
The GOP has no real options for securing its future once the Silent and Boomer generations are gone. Millennials very much want government both to exercise more control over their choices and to provide for them. Pandering to the young means the renunciation of everything the Republicans since Reagan were ever supposed to stand for.
We aging Gen-Xers won’t like it, but we’ll be too few to do anything more but bitch about it from our retirement communities and harangue our grandchildren during their infrequent visits, who will already be rolling their eyes at mentions of “Benghazi” when they’re 10 years old.
The Millennials will be nice enough to give us “free” medical care, at least, and keep us alive for as long as possible as sort of a curiosity of a bygone era. So thanks for that in advance.