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The Young and Undecided

The very smart folks over at City Journal, which is about as high-brow a conservative publication as you’re likely to find, have been pondering the young folks. We are relieved to learn that they’re as flummoxed by the subject as we are, and that apparently so are both of America’s major political parties.
Our limited contact with the “Millennials,” as the 18-to-33-year-olds of the moment are fashionably known, is almost always desultory. We currently know some encouraging examples of young adulthood, including most of our friends’ newly grown children, but our typical attempts at conversation with this demographic cohort are discouraging. Perhaps it’s our penchant for such disreputable dives as The Vagabond and Kirby’s Beer Store, where the younger clientele tend to be of the hipster variety, but we’ve found that most of them are as stupid as that old friend’s dog that used to run headlong into closed doors.
They voted voted in overwhelming numbers for President Barack Obama, which should tell you something, but according to the very smart folks over at City Journal they have “already proven cagey about their political alliances.” Polling indicates they have liberal views regarding social issues, which corresponds with our own observation, but are more conservative regarding fiscal issues, which we find dubious. The same date indicate that “millenials” are distrustful of all institutions, from government bureaucracies to corporations to churches, which seems plausible enough, but at the same time they vote for more government and spend as much as their meager incomes will allow on the products on corporate America and trust that a certain Judeo-Christian standard of civil society will continue to prevail. This convoluted miss-mash of ideas leaves the “millenials” susceptible to the blandishments of either party, according to the conventional wisdom, but we suspect the Democrats will continue to enjoy an advantage.
Although the “millennials” comprise a frightening 25 percent of the voting age population, we expect they’ll play a less prominent role in the next few elections. Most of the youngsters we encounter are determinedly apolitical, and their higher-than-usual turn-out in the past two elections was mainly due a fad that is not likely to be replicated by Hillary Clinton or any of the other likely Democratic contenders. Those who do bother vote to vote for the un-hyped candidates in the mid-term elections are are more likely to be the disillusioned, which will diminish the Democrats’ advantage, but a majority are still likely to vote for the free stuff the Democrats are offering and be put off the the stuffy reputation the Republicans will always endure. Our experience of today’s young people suggests they are very keen to be thought cool, and until the Republicans jettison their stands on abortion and same-sex marriage and the rest of those Judeo-Christian standards they’ll be at a severe disadvantage in courting this cohort.
Most of these young people will never get an abortion or marry someone of the same sex or benefit in any way from the end of the Judeo-Christian epoch of western civilization, and they will be limited by the slow-growth economy and burdened by the nation’s swelling debt and diminished by the society’s decline, but we don’t expect they’ll ever figure it out. The youngest of the “millennials” was 12 years old when Obama was elected on a utopian platform of hope and change, and some were even recruited for those awful cult-of-personality videos of schoolchildren singing his praises, but we hope the dismal job market and over-priced educational opportunities that wait them as they enter adulthood will jar a certain common sense into their hairy heads. The older ones, alas, we expect to keep rushing headlong into that closed door.

— Bud Norman

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One response

  1. Care for some anecdotal evidence? I’m in the younger half of that demographic.

    I was raised conservative and gravitated toward libertarianism, but I’m still rather conservative. I was also raised to be Christian and became agnostic, but I now cite secular reasons for opposing same-sex marriage and abortion.

    I’m decidedly political, hence my readership of your blog. I’m also distrustful of institutions, hence my readership of your blog. (Incidentally, I need to find more conservative voices. Right now, my reading list is lopsided in favor of the “progressive” persuasion.)

    For the record, I did not vote for Obama. Actually, I opposed the nominees from both parties for those two years – and I expect that to continue for the next few elections at least.

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