Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Interesting piece from Chait, as usual.
But I think he leaves out two things.
First, the Baby Boom generation is - I think - slightly more conservative than liberal. They grew up with Vietnam and social spending on blah people, and came to blame both on liberals. Ironically, they don't blame noted liberal LBJ for getting us into Vietnam, but rather the dirty hippies who caused us to lose the war, by not shaving and having sex to Joan Baez albums. The experience of working class Boomers who saw "their money going to those people" was what created the "Reagan Democrat" experience. I think there is something of this in the abortion/drugs/ fear of ghey people social issues, too.
I'm not a Millennial, I'm Gen X, but I certainly hate the Boomers. Anything they are for, I'm against, as a rule of thumb.
Secondly, there is He Who Shall Not Be Named. Not Voldemort, George W. Bush. The generation that came of political age in the last ten to twenty years is going to be seared by their memory of C-Plus Augustus, by Iraq, by Katrina, by the Homeland Security state. Bush helped create a generation of liberals, if the trend Chait observes is correct.
Yes, race is a part of this, as Millennials are swarthier than earlier generations. But the basic attitude towards government is changing precisely because the antipathy towards government in large swaths of the Boomer electorate was based on subliminal racial resentment. It was not overt racism, but rather the idea that MY money was going to THOSE people.
Countries with homogeneous populations tend to have larger, more comprehensive welfare states, for the simple reason that we are perfectly content to share with PLUs (People Like Us). We are generally NOT OK subsidizing people who we don't see as "real Americans". We love our kid's teacher, but we choke on paying for the inner city school district's ESL program.
What the Millennial generation sees is an America that looks like them: racially diverse and racially mixed. Everyone is a PLU, so everyone deserves help... sorry, "gifts".
So, the Millennials are breaking with the Boomers and some of Gen X in seeing America as more diverse and therefore they are more accepting of governmental solutions to societal problems. And Dubya made conservatism look intellectually moribund and technically inept.
But if the GOP just nominates a true conservative in 2016, I'm sure they will once again ride to victory.