The Youth Vote

If demography is destiny, the handwriting is on the wall.

Many years ago, I had an enlightening conversation with friend active in Libertarian politics. He was trying to recruit candidates who would appeal to Republicans who were becoming disenchanted with the culture warriors who had seized control of the GOP. He saw a window of opportunity for the Libertarians–if they could moderate some of their positions just a little, they could take advantage of that window and substantially increase their share of the vote. The problem was, the party’s core–the absolutists–were unwilling to move even a little toward the middle, and keeping their pro-gun, pro-gold-standard, anti-public-schools base was critical to any electoral success. So the window closed.

Today’s GOP finds itself in an analogous position. The party has come to depend upon an aging, angry base that repels not only women, immigrants and minorities, but increasingly, younger Americans.  It’s caught between that same rock and hard place that has kept the Libertarians from achieving mainstream status.

The party’s establishment has now realized the problem, but solving it is going to be another thing entirely.


  1. According to an article in the Sunday Star, actions taken by “somebody else’s man Mitch” are now being questioned. With this state’s love of balls in all forms, maybe they are now growing a pair and will attempt to undo some of his doings. This could be a step toward educating the current GOP to realities of their cast in stone, anti-people, no help where needed policies and political campaign base. Of course the IMS is now begging for tax dollars, which they will probably get and public education, public safety and the infrastructure will continue to be ignored. And apprently we are now looking for a pro soccer team for this city – more balls. My daughter-in-law had a medical appointment in the area of Raymond and Kentucky one day this past week; she said the air pollution and stink actually made her sick. Obviously we are continuing to ignore any and all regulations regarding protecting the environment. By the way; Amazon is already collecting that 7% Indiana sales tax as evidenced by my KIndle account; this is another of Daniels’ endeavors. I will believe the party actually realizes their problem when they take action to do something to change it. I will not hold my breath till it happens.

  2. The only issue the Republican Party is really on the other side of polling of young people is the same sex marriage issue. The other issues they’re fine on. Younger people tend to poll as being more pro-life and much more supportive of changes to social security than older people.. I”m sure they’re also more supportive of the older generation when it comes to parents having more choices when it comes to education for their children. I haven’t seen the generational breakdown on gun regulation. Possibly younger people favor more regulation, but I doubt it would be a signficant difference. The only generational issue of those you mention is the same sex marriage issue.

  3. Young people are more multi-cultural, so I doubt the rhetoric on immigration has been doing much to cultivate them. Nor, would I think, the positions on things like abstinence only education, limiting access to birth control, evolution, and global warming.

  4. I have been following politics closely since the Kennedy – Nixon debates. I remember trying to type their words on my old Royal portable typewriter as they spoke them via my B&W Emerson portable TV. I was 11) The pattern that jumps out at me over those 50+ Years is that the R’s are always looking for someone to HATE. Be it the Russians, the Chinese, Castro, The Blacks, The Gays, The Women’s Libbers, The Mexicans… Always finding an OTHER to rail against. Get the stupid people frightened and fired up so they will vote for their fear message. It worked for many many decades. There are always plenty of stupid fearful people who pay little attention to their real motives: Money for the rich… Wars to Make more money for the rich. Exporting our jobs to Asia to make more money for the rich. And on and on. But always the fear and hatred as their “BASE” message. I would hope that in the Internet age, it will be harder to continue selling a fear based message to stupid uninformed voters. We the People vs We the Corporation. Pick a side. I have NO IDEA what the libertarians will bring to the party. Since they seldom win anything, they seem a distraction at best to me.

  5. As the late Senator Moynihan once said: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

    A Pew Research poll relased in November of last year reports significant differences of attitudes about many issues between voters under age 30 and those over age 30 . The differences increase rather dramatically when the under 30 voters are compared to those over 45 and even more dramatically when the under 30 voters are compared to voters over 65.

    According to the Pew research:

    44% of voters under 30 consider themselves Democrats compared to 37% of voters over 30;

    33% of voters under 30 consider themselves liberal compared to 23% of voters over 30;

    59% of voters under 30 think government should be doing more to solve problems, while more than
    50% of older voters think government is doing too much;

    53% of young voters think the 2010 Health Care Reform should be retained or expanded compared to just 42% of voters over 30;

    64% of young voters think abortion should be legal in all or most cases compared to 58% of the over30 group; and

    66% of young voters favored legalizing gay marriage, compared to 45% of voters over 30.

    There are many differences between the young and old in the polling data.

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