. . . and the angry white male is now a grumpy old man. That is, at least, if you believe this article from Mark Penn at Politico. It makes a certain amount of sense when you consider that 16 years have lapsed since the 1992 election. Their natures are similar but their interests have changed. Penn notes that McCain does not have any particular edge with this voting block just because of his age; if anything, they tend to look toward people who remind them of their (now grown) children and who seem equipped to deal with new and emerging problems that they do not feel comfortable with thinking about themselves. Their husbands (or male counterparts) Penn characterizes as "grumpy" and resentful. They look upon the younger generation as a group that has not had to work as hard as they have had to do and as a group with frivolous values and questionable patriotism.
It’s probably not a surprise that the two states with the highest percentages of active grannies and grumpy grandpas are Ohio and Florida. Florida has always attracted older couples seeking relief from the harsh winters of the North and Ohio (and other industrial mid-Western states) has seen the sons and daughters of my generation leave their parents behind in search of better job opportunities in other states. I am not sure McCain has any natural advantage with either block of voters--except, perhaps, the so-called grumpy grandpas. Penn notes that Obama’s proposal to eliminate tax on the first $50 K of senior income will appeal to them but it’s also true that most of these men probably have some concern for their children and don’t much like the idea of seeing them taxed beyond what is necessary and reasonable. But McCain is not of the Boomer generation and that group is responsible for the huge jump in senior numbers between ’04 and today. Even without a candidate of their own, the Boomers may be the ones who call this election.