Friday, November 25, 2022

The Good News and Bad News With Gen Z and Millennials

     Electoral autopsies are practically mandated in the political world, especially in light of a series of thousands of elections in which one party didn't get the general results they were promised by the pollsters and so-called pundits. The silly season of electoral boasting, prognosticating and tea leaf reading is over and both sides, now calmer, look over the same exact data to determine what went wrong or, if you're the prevailing party, what went right
      As we now know, 17 days ago, the Democratic party in what were all essentially down ballot races this latest midterm did surprisingly well even though it seems the ones who were most surprised were right wing gas bags who arrogantly predicted the now laughed-at "red wave" without taking into account certain factors and demographic data.
     And while, yes, female voters, alarmed and horrified at the SCOTUS' neolithically bad and hyperpartisan ruling to take Roe v Wade off the law books brought out female voters in droves and kept our political bacon from getting fried. Abortion rights were protected or enshrined into state constitutions in every state in which is was up for a vote. And, before that, the trend started in Kansas.
     As well as with the female vote, Republican pollsters like the reliably unreliable Frank Luntz, who confidently said on national television that Republicans would enjoy a 20 seat majority in the House (it would be more like 10% of that or two) failed to take into account another important voting bloc- Gen Z and Millennial voters.
     Republican outreach to those who aren't middle aged to old white, xenophobic, Islamophobic and homophobic males has historically been weak to nonexistent. They underestimated the female vote, especially white suburban females, in 2020 and paid the price. Their outreach to black and Hispanic voters is laughable, at best, and they treat young voters as if they don't exist. In short, their attitude is, "I'd like to help you, son, but you're too young to vote." That is, until they're old enough to vote.
     Then exit polling comes in and they find out how well Democrats did among young voters. Then suddenly we hear, not outreach in advance of the 2024 election but raising the minimum voting age so young people are once again disenfranchised.
     John Della Volpe of the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics broke it down for PBS News' John Yang when he said,
     "Let me break it down for your pretty simply. When you think about Gen Z, and you add in millennials, OK, those are essentially two generations of voters who have a similar set of values, they voted for Democrats by 18 points, OK, plus-18 for Democrats, the under-40 vote, 59-41."
     That's why Republican scum want to the steal their right to vote because they don't vote "the right way", which is why they've been busting a nut for decades trying to keep voters of color from voting and why Donald Trump screams about American Jews not being sufficiently loyal to the GOP. You'd think this would be their Road to Damascus moment. Instead, to Republicans, the answer isn't any sincere and efficacious outreach. It's more voter suppression.
     As far as the youth vote goes, that isn't a winning strategy. That's because, by 2024, millennials and Generation Z will account for nearly 40% of the national electorate. Throw in progressive women, the Jewish vote (which is historically liberal) and voters of color and you'll see these voters far outnumber the construction hard-hat wearing white male vote that was once so crucial in Goldwater's day.
     So, we have an emerging generation that's smart and well-educated that's just beginning to realize that the quality of their lives begins with political engagement. Gen Z just elected its first standard bearer in Max Frost out of Florida and more will follow.
     That's the good news. Now here's the bad news.
     Only 27% of Generation Z voters could be bothered to turn out for the recent midterms, which is still the highest turnout in three decades. That's hardly a number to get encouraged and excited over. You double that demographic's turnout rate and you would've seen a blue wave that would've made the red wave an even bigger laughingstock than it is.
     We need to get more of these young, firsttime voters to the polls in 2024 because it seems that every election these days is for the soul of the nation because it is.  We live in an era of racism, homophobia and crude but effective voter suppression that's become infused with election denialism from those who are butt-hurt they didn't win their elections.
     These wolves are going to be baying at the gates for a long, long time to come and we need to get progressive voters to the polls every two fucking years to keep those fascist dirty tricksters at bay.


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