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.

14 comments

  1. I am not so pessimistic about the future political inclinations of millennials. I am at the very leading edge of that generation, really feeling caught in the middle between them and Xers, and it’s only in the last few years all the people I know are starting to get married, have kids, and settle down. The delay in family formation among millennials when compared with earlier generations has been extensively documented. Likewise, economic prospects have been more limited, and financial independence and prime earning years delayed versus previous generations. I feel like the careers of me and my peers are just starting to hit their stride, and we’re at the leading edge of this.
    Family formation and income increases both put strong pressure towards shifting individuals in a more conservative/Republican direction. I would wager the delay in both of these factors among millennials can account for much, if not most, of the current leftward political lean. As family formation and career development among millennials hits its stride in the next 5-10 years, I am certain these statistics will migrate rightward, it’s just a question of how much. Furthermore, I see very little pressure pushing this cohort in the other direction (more liberal)–much of the pressure to identify as liberal is already baked into the cake, as this generation has been raised immersed in progressive ideas (and conversely, quite ignorant of conservative thought). There will undoubtedly be some fundamental changes in certain areas (e.g. a general acceptance of gay marriage), but on the whole, millennials will discover what the rest of us have–that protecting traditional values and norms are important to family formation and health, and that holy crap, the government really starts taking a lot of money once you start making it in earnest.

  2. I won’t be dismayed by the millenial political revolution at all. Fuck Washington and fuck the boomers. How about we get to tax the shit out of the boomers retirements for a change instead of them taxing the shit out of us for their mistakes?

    I’m not a wealthy person so the Republican Party has no appeal to me. I will be more than happy to kick the last of the Republican Party offshore, for the last time when they duck healthcare up and expose this bill as a just another tax cut for the wealthy.

    It will be a whole new ball game after trump.

  3. I agree that millenials might back off the free shit when it’s their paychecks being taxed but I completely disagree with the notion that they’ll become conservatives over it. You may not, but many (if not most) purely detest the Republican Party based on social issues alone. More than any generation in the past they are agnostic and their politcal awakening was the bush era, followed by the obama era (which they thought was REAL change in social policy).

    When millenials get tired of something like high taxes they’ll work inside of the Democratic Party to do it. If they need another party they’ll probably re-engineer the tea party without the social agenda or create on more to the left of democrats.
    Republicans won only the day by scaring boomers into voting for trump. The future belongs to the democrats for sticking with the youth.

    Almost all the boomers will be dead or outvoted by millenials soon.

  4. I really disagree with this.
    First, you are correct the Republican brand is pretty trash among many. But I think it’s chiefly trash among those who are too far gone anyways and would remain liberal. There’s also a significant minority that is already conservative and will largely remain so. But in the middle are folks who, yeah, have a generally negative opinion of the Republican party, but can be convinced to vote for individual Republicans in spite of maybe an overall negative opinion. You’ve got to remember, people vote for individuals and not parties. Kinda like many folks throughout all generations who hate politicians and parties in general, but who still support and vote for individuals like their congressman. In my own state of Maryland, we have a broadly popular Republican governor, even though the state is true blue overall. This is how it works with moderates in general, and will continue applying to the millennial generation.

  5. Seriously? You can’t be liberal and start a family? GTFO I never knew that. Better let my husband know we fucked it all up.

  6. Zoom, they aren’t religious. Atheism is now the 2nd or 3rd most populous belief in this country.

    If I had to summarize the keyword or phrases for the Republican Party it would be “I’m the guy that doesn’t separate church from state, fuck queers, trans, and abortion; fuck the poor. I am a tax break for the wealthy disguised as a religious political party.”

    How you could think that political position would attract millenials is baffling. I feel like if it doesn’t fit you just wish it into being.

    Trump is failing. Republicans are putting the final nail in the coffin with this ridiculous halealthcare bill that’s trying to add republican icing to a socialism cake, and when the first poor cancer patient dies millenials will have the guillotines out.

    Sit back, crack a beer and remember your uncle manwhore called it.

  7. If I had to summarize the keyword or phrases for the Republican Party it would be “I’m the guy that doesn’t separate church from state, fuck queers, trans, and abortion; fuck the poor. I am a tax break for the wealthy disguised as a religious political party.”

    You’ve spent too much time in California. The only people who share such an extreme view are those who would never become a Republican in the first place. It would merely take ~20% of those currently identifying as liberal to switch for the demos to line up nearly perfectly with boomers.

    That 20% doesn’t have such a ridiculous caricature of a view of the GOP as you say. They just think Republicans tend to be a bunch of old tools, but can easily be convinced to vote for individual Republicans. Generations are not monolithic. I would also say that it’s not unreasonable to think 20% of currently liberal-identifying millennials will realize the GOP isn’t so nutso when they start to be impacted by the factors I previously covered.

    Anyone predicting the end of a political party based on demographic shifts is deluding themselves. Times change. People change. Parties change.

  8. Name ONE compassionate social issue that the republicans have spearheaded. One.

    Name ONE fiscally conservative police they propose. One.

    You can’t. Republicans are elected based on a parody of which they do not even represent.

    The true face of the Republican Party are soulless rats that will scurry to save their jobs before they serve the American people. The true face of the Republican Party is to add trillions in spending to the budget in the form of subsidized tax breaks for the wealthy and no one else. The true face of the Republican Party is to dismantle the economic prosperity of the middle class and abandon the poor to keep the one class of America that wants for nothing.

    I, personally have gained nothing from republicans. Millenials have been completely fucked by the republicans (bush paid for Iraq and Afghanistan from Medicare to destroy the service, thus destroying the hopes of millenials ever having the service when they need it.).

    Fuck republicans. As far as being in California for a long time, what’s wrong with that? At least this state doesn’t have to go through the tiresome beating of dead horse social issues when republicans are elected. Fuck republicans. They are the most overspending, federal overreaching, lopsided agenda party in American history.

    I can assure you millenials feel the same way about republicans and took menatal note of the generation that gave them one last breath of power to fuck future generations on their behalf, baby boomers.

  9. TBH not even the GOP wants this bill. Trump ramming it through under threat will lead Republicans to abandon him, and in my opinion they will start to take a special interest in Comey’s investigative results over Russian cooperation with Trump’s coalition during the election.

    The one thing I can say about McConnel and Ryan is they are career politicians, a distinction that can’t be lent to Trump. If Trump thinks he’s winning I think he’s in for a surprise. Come took Hillary out of the election, and now he’s after Trump. When Trump is double crossed it will be the Republicans that do it.

  10. Republicans don’t win when they try to be Democrat Lite. Our population is getting older as a whole, and that may affect the millennials’ perspective-after all, many of the baby boomers became more conservative as they got older.

  11. If Trump thinks he’s winning I think he’s in for a surprise.

    Yeah, he was sure surprised when everyone thought he was a joke in the primaries…and the general election. I think the GOP is likely to cave with his childish “take it or leave it” ultimatum.

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