Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Obama Rules the Young

...for a LOT of reasons. It’s not just that he’s young and McCain is old. And it’s not just that he knows all about what’s on the internet and Mac can’t use a computer. Young people have been trending liberal since 2000 (when there was virtually no generation gap at all in voting behavior), and the Barack candidacy just accelerated the trend. Among the young, the "culture gap" that opposes the working class to the bobo class doesn’t seem to exist. It seems to me there’s also a "talent gap": Where are the intelligent, admirable, and attractive young Republican politicians (aside from Bobby Jindal)?

Discussions - 12 Comments

How many times have the Dems relied on "the youth vote" to carry them to The White House? And how many times have the Dems been let down by that vote?

You don't need a young face to energize young people. What you need is passion, fire, confidence, a healthy sense of humour. Reagan motivated young people. So did Wojtyla. What characterized those men? Now contrast those men, and men like them, to the men of the Bush family.

Patton was the oldest American General in Europe, but he motivated his men, and to this day, men say: "I rolled with Patton."

Don't zero in on age, zero in on passion, message, motivation.

Obama has the "youth vote". Well kudos to him. He has the vote of the generation that has been labeled "The Dumbest Generation". What until the members of this Dumbest Generation (Under age 30) find out when they are in their late 30's, 40's and 50's and that they voted for someone who hands are deep in their pockets taking their hard-earned cash and putting it towards entitlements. Maybe this Dumbest Generation could get their heads out of their cell phone, text messaging, Sony Playstation or YouTube for a couple of hours and read about Jimmy Carter's Presidency. Nah - that would require the dumbest generation to think without using their cell phone or XBox. And this kids will be running the country when we are in rest homes - scary than an Obama Presidency.

Some possible reasons for the huge democratic lead among young voters that are not mentioned in the article.

1. The Sorkin effect. Younger voters have grown in a pop culture where the "good" President is portrayed in films like the American President and tv shows like the West Wing. That didn't help the Democrats much at first (Kerry was no Jed Bartlett), but Obama seems to embody the Sorkin style that pop culture has conditioned younger people to look for. It also helps that Obama's speeches are better written and better delivered than the ones on the West Wing. Young voters get to see reality outstrip fantasy.

2. Race. Republicans do poorly among nonwhites and the younger demographic cohort is also the least white (David Frum has pointed this out). Unless the Republican find a strategy that allows them to expand their appeal to latinos and blacks the grim electoral statistics will work their way up the age scale as the current younger voters become middle age voters and even younger, even less white cohorts are added to the voting rolls.

3. Republican ideas seem tired. The most prominent spokesmen for center right positions are guys like O'Reilly and Rush. O'Reilly pitches his ideas to a middle age and up audience. Rush has been around for twenty years, and no longer seems fresh (at least not to the young). Meanwhile the left has the Daily Show. When it comes to getting the attention of the young, its not a fair fight.

Of course the most important reason for the age gap is also the most obvious one. For younger voters, Republican rule means a terribly bungled war and high gas prices.

Pete, Three, really four, more great points. O'Reilly and Rush aren't what they once were, although neither ever did much for me.

Not to worry; Karl Rove's permanent Republican Majority will see us through.
Actually, if you were a young person today, the GOP is based (fairly or not),on the Bush Administration and its bungling of just about everything. High gas prices, rising inflation, the mortgage mess, etc. Meanwhile, after 6 1/2 years, bin-Laden is still free, the Taliban is resurgent, and Iran is still dangerous . Any success in Iraq is really only guaged against the disastrous policies of Bush, Rumsfeld, Bremer,et al, which wasted three years and thousands of lives as they squandered the quick military victory in Iraq, and just about lost the whole thing with their bungling.
After 8 years of Bush, just about any opposition party would seem to present an improvement, no matter what they might stand for.

Wow. Just a few thoughts here:

To cowgirl - Are you kidding? You make being "dumb" sound antithetical to being a selfish jerk. I agree with you to an extent about the creepy electronic screens everyone's always looking at (including the ones we're looking at right now), but "The Dumbest Generation"? Really? Ask Dr. Schramm what he thinks about his Ashbrook Scholars and their intelligence (and please don't pretend they're some kind of exception to the rule . . . Spend some time at any college in the country and you'll find bright, energetic, politically engaged, Carter-biography-reading students).

Pete - I'm not so sure about the "Sorkin Effect" unless you're applying it to everyone. It's not just young people watching TV for hours a day. I'm not sure it's accurate to pin that on them. Voters, by and large, seem to be interested in flashy, sound-byte-style politicians rather than politicians with solid, concrete policy positions. Other than that, I think you're right on.

"Where are the intelligent, admirable, and attractive young Republican politicians (aside from Bobby Jindal)?" That's what I've been saying! That's why I'm writing off the next decade or so for the GOP. That's why I think the Republicans won't be winning any elections for a while: their best hope is to fight to a standstill while good, conservative candidates who do understand the internet and speak the language of "the youth" mature and launch political careers.

...esoteric essay deleted. Conflict between comment 2 and 6 essential. Similar conflict between the co-founder of Facebook who joined Obama campaign and Clinton guru Mark Penn, who said that Obama campaign looked like Facebook. Mark Penn pissed off that despite his incredible quantitative networking redefined and controled message.(he may know a "lot" but there isn't a damn way he can control the immage.) Essentially boils down to all the manifold ways(LOTS) that subjectivity runs into authority. In the Army one might say that the problem is that there are too many chiefs and not enough indians. Obama won the youth vote because he united the many indians by offering them partial chiefdom. Obama snowballed tech-savy people of good will, and people of good will joined up to defend and aid him, not necessarily because they agreed with everything about Obama but because having picked up enough idealistic people the feeling was contagious. The feeling juxtaposed itself and ran into a way of the world, that was largely characterized/came off as jaded and vicious. Just as Matt says:"You make being dumb seem antithetical to being a selfish jerk."

The dumbest generation might not be able to read Kant, but I am still waiting for someone to set me straight on The Critique of Pure Reason or the Prolegama...nevertheless Kant also wrote Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals...and certainly someone who knew Kant would be better positioned to make my point, nevertheless before one seperates out the empirical, previous to the distinction between anthropology and ethics, Kant stipulates that "Good Will" is the only thing that is good without qualification. "The sight of a being who is not adorned with a single feature of a pure and good will, enjoying unbroken prosperity, can never give pleasure to an impartial rational spectator."

In the relation to Mark Penn and the demonized Clinton campaign(thanks in part to republican attacks for frameing as inevitable and vicious.) Mark Penn and determinisitic accounts of political power gave off the impression that: "For without the principles of a good will, they may become extremely bad, and the coolness of the villain not only makes him far more dangerous, but also makes him more abominable in our eyes than he would have been without it."

Damn it looks like I can't help myself...but I won't rewrite this time(maybe my first one was better?) Screw it, I need recognition for doing this sort of work, because I am not that Kantian!


You must be a member of "The Dumbest Generation". There has been a book written about it as well as numerous websites and articles about it. Here they are - please read them and help get yourself out of the Dumbest Generation

Besides the fact that based on my own experience in the workplace - under 30 - dumb, dumb dumb. I have spent time at some high end univerisites with my homeschooled 14 year old 4.0 son - one that comes to mind is U.C. Davis where I saw painted pictures of Che-Guerva all over the sidewalks - Che was a murdering, commie jerk - yet the under 30 crowd - members of the Dumbest Generation at Davis think he is great - obviously they are too busy with their heads in the XBoxes to read any information about Che - a murderer.

To Dante: You too must be a member of The Dumbest Generation. First, Karl Rove and Bush are not responsible for high Gas prices, - the liberals in the Senate and Congress who have blocked every effort to DRILL, DRILL, DRILL and made every effort to make this country depend on foreign oil from foreign whack jobs like the Saudis, Iran, Iraq, along with the Enviromentalists like Al Gore who practice Green Religion are responsible for high gas prices. Neither Karl Rove nor George Bush forced anyone to sign their names on mortgages or force the mortage companies to lend out money to buy houses that people including illegal immigrants could not afford. The U.S. Military is winning the War in IRaq - Al Quada has been deciminated. Iran - well we can thank Jimmy Carter for that mess. Dante - please read a book and get your head out of your ipod.

I agree that all of the factors noted above have played a significant role in creating the advantage enjoyed by the Left with today's young people, but isn't one of the most important factors - if not the most important factor - the leftist brainwashing that goes on in most K-12 schools today?

Also, in the case of cultural issues like abortion and gay rights, the decline of traditional views among the young is a natural consequence of the formerly condemned or marginal practice becoming commonplace. For those who have grown up after the change, it is the traditional view that seems radical and foreign to their experience.

I think the young people haven't had enough discipline (paddling) and they crave it. They want to live under sharia law and figure that Hussein Obama will surrender to the Arabs. That's why young people like him.

I question whether the young really are watching television. Where do they find the time? The great thing about them, if you would prefer not to be run by their politics, is that they seldom register to vote, and even when they do, they just can't find the time to go the polls. They figure someone else will do it for them.

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