Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Generational Change and Views of Government

The chart below, taken from a new article by Jonathan Chait on the .Pew generational data, makes a point I've emphasized repeatedly. The key effect of generational change, besides rising diversification, is going to be shifts in views.among whites in a significantly more liberal direction. .Chait notes:
"Young white voters have more liberal views on social policy and the role of government than older white voters. It is not just that there are too few white voters to sustain the current Republican coalition, but that the white voters aren’t conservative enough...
Attacking big government in the abstract has been the default Republican argument on domestic policy for half a century....Democrats wanted to debate specific programs with specific effects. Republicans wanted to debate government as an abstraction....
Those two large X’s on the left side of the chart show the rapid generational disintegration of anti-government conservatism. They reveal the degree to which young white voters have views of government almost as supportive as nonwhite voters. Older whites think, by about a two-to-one margin, that government is doing too much. Younger whites, by about a two-to-one margin, believe the opposite.
At some point in the not too distant future, the tension between the public’s symbolic conservatism and its operational liberalism will become less relevant, if not completely moot. The implications of this change will be profound. Republicans have spent years relying on the argument that big government is inherently bad. At some point, they will need a new philosophy."

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