Tweet from David Frum:
ICYMI That big Pew survey of Millennial voters isn’t good news for liberals either http://t.co/Jwdor4Te87— davidfrum (@davidfrum) March 12, 2014
That seems odd, because when you start reading what Frum has to say about the new Pew survey of millennials, it seems obvious that the millennial generation is poised to break conservatism's stranglehold on American politics. Frum:
The generation born since 1981 is the age group most likely to vote Democratic. The eldest of them are in their 30s now, and they continue to be much more liberal than previous-age cohorts at the same point in their lives....But the flip side is this, according to Frum:
The warning for conservatives is: Millennial attachment to the Democratic Party is not a phase. Millennials are far less likely to be religiously affiliated than their elders. They are more likely to have children outside marriage (47% of their children are born outside marriage, compared with only 35% of Generation X children in 1996)....
Here's a generation detached from religious institutions and only weakly attached to the country: Only 49% of millennials describe themselves as patriotic, compared with 64% of the next older cohort and 75% of baby boomers.
Among the young as among the old, political preferences are cleaved by race and ethnicity. One obvious example: Non-white millennials approve of President Obama's job performance by a 2-1 ratio. White millennials disapprove by almost the same margin.So according to Frum's analysis, the political attitudes of millennial white people are basically just like those of older white people. White people never change, I guess. The only reason the millennial generation is less conservative is that it's less white.
By a margin of 52% to 39%, white millennials prefer a smaller government that offers fewer services to a bigger government that offers more. Non-white millennials say the opposite by a margin of 71% to 21%. These numbers show a racial gap about the same as among the older cohorts.
However, since non-whites make up a bigger portion of the millennials than in older generations, their overwhelming preference for a more activist government will sway future elections even more than recent ones.
The millennial generation will be a generation characterized by high levels of inter-ethnic political conflict.I could see that. I worry that it's much more likely than the other possibility, which is that genuine economic progressivism will finally find its voice and reach a younger cohort, who will ignore any commie-baiting of progressives because they don't have fearful memories of communism.
I'd love to think the latter is possible -- but I suppose I agree that a permanently impoverished generation will eventually respond to a political message that scapegoats The Other (non-whites, immigrants, maybe even gay people). I've stopped being able to imagine the third possibility, which is that the normal swings of politics will eventually get us back to prosperity and genuine health as a nation.
What do you think?