Friday, October 23, 2020

The GOP's Coming Generational Crackup

A few days ago, I flagged the new States of Change Report on America's Electoral Future: The Coming Generational Transformation. Ron Brownstein has done an extensive article taking off from the report's findings to examine their political implications in more detail than we could in the report. I recommend it to you (though the article's title "The GOP's Demographic Doom" is definitely stronger than I'm comfortable with).
"In 2020, for the first time, Millennials and Gen Z (which comprise young adults born in 1981 or later) will equal Baby Boomers and prior generations (older adults born in 1964 or earlier) as a share of all Americans eligible to vote, according to a new study from the nonpartisan States of Change project. Because older voters typically turn out at higher rates than younger ones, the study forecasts that those earlier generations will still cast more ballots next month, by a margin of 43 percent to 32 percent. But in 2024, the two younger generations are expected to equal the older ones as a share of actual voters on Election Day. And by 2028, Millennials and Gen Z will dwarf the older generations as a share of both eligible and actual voters. That will be true not only nationally, but in all the crucial battleground states, according to previously unreleased projections provided to me by States of Change.
Given that the younger generations align much more closely with Democratic ideological views on almost all policy questions, this shift underscores the stakes in the generational roulette Trump has played by defining the GOP so narrowly around the priorities and preferences of his core groups: older, nonurban, non-college-educated, and evangelical white people. If Democrats can not only express the values of younger Americans, but also advance their material interests, they will have a substantial advantage in building electoral majorities through the decade ahead, says Ruy Teixeira, a veteran Democratic election analyst and co-founder of the States of Change project, which is a joint research collaboration between three liberal-leaning groups and the centrist Bipartisan Policy Center.
“The key issue is: What do they do in terms of political economy? What do they do in terms of enabling Millennials and Gen Z to make their way in life [on] the overall bread-and-butter stuff of housing, health care, economic mobility?” he told me. “You can lock these people in. This is literally the future of American politics.”...
States of Change anticipates that Millennials will actually plateau at about one-fourth of both eligible and actual voters between now and 2036. The biggest change to the electorate will be the explosive growth of Gen Z, which will increase from a projected 8 percent of actual voters this year to 29 percent in 2036. That year, the two generations combined will comprise a clear 55 percent majority of all voters. As soon as 2028, States of Change expects them to outvote the Boomers and even older generations by a double-digit margin.
Strikingly, this transition will be as powerful in the older, mostly white states of the Rust Belt as it will be in the younger, more diverse, and rapidly growing Sun Belt states. According to the previously unpublished States of Change projections, by 2028, the giant younger generations will comprise at least 40 percent of actual voters not only in Colorado, Georgia, Texas, and Arizona, but also in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Ohio, and Iowa.
That’s a worrisome trend for Republicans. In another study by Pew, analysts concluded that “similar to Millennials, Gen Zers are progressive and pro-government, most see the country’s growing racial and ethnic diversity as a good thing, and they’re less likely than older generations to see the United States as superior to other nations.” All of that clangs against the agenda Trump has stamped on the GOP, of open resistance to racial and cultural change.
But while this generational transition presents obvious opportunities for Democrats, it also creates complications. Because Democrats are winning most young people, the disruption will rumble through their party first: States of Change projects that Millennials and Gen Z will provide nearly half of all Democratic votes by as soon as 2028....
Trump’s belligerent politics has created an opportunity for Democrats to cement a lasting generational advantage not seen perhaps since Franklin Roosevelt built his sturdy New Deal coalition during the Depression. But the American Values Survey also contains a clear warning: Fully three-fifths of adults younger than 30 and half of those ages 30 to 49 describe their financial situation as precarious. As Teixeira noted to me, identifying with the cultural values of younger Americans will only take Democrats so far if they can’t also advance their economic interests."
If Democrats win the White House in November and can put Millennials and Gen Z on a better financial trajectory, “they will have an incredible opportunity” to solidify a durable majority electoral coalition, Teixeira said. “But if you [mess] it up, you open so many doors for the Republicans to come back and loosen your hold on these generations.”
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.