Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

  An emerging Democratic majority

It has long seemed to me that the outlandish behavior of the Republican Party during the last decade; its fawning upon the nuts, the bigots, and the wild-eyed manicheans of the religious right; its flagrant corruption; its arrogant abuse of raw power; and its refusal to be held accountable either under law or custom--would provoke a long-lasting backlash against the Republican Party. Add to that foul brew an extremely nasty Bush/Cheney administration, shredding the Constitution, flouting the law, grabbing for unchecked power, hounding opponents, bungling national security, deceiving the nation about Iraq...and so forth. You get a cataclysm for the Republican Party, especially among people young enough to be flexible about their political views.

That is evident in this chart published by the New York Times on Sunday. It deserves more attention than it has gotten. The chart tracks party identification by the age of voters.

What it shows pretty clearly is that certain dynamic presidents attract voters who are young into their party, where the voters remain for decades, whereas others who are repulsive (like Nixon and Dubya) push young voters into the opposite party.

The biggest shift toward one party in the last 70 plus years is going on right now, with young people moving en masse to the Democrats.

It seems to confirm what I sensed in 2004, when I was teaching at a college whose student body was pretty uniformly affluent and privileged. They were some of the most conservative students I'd ever seen. And that year the anger among students against the Republican Party was almost palpable. A few years earlier, the students would have identified themselves heavily as Republicans. But in 2004, it was the Republican activists who were moaning that they were in the minority on campus, and were looked down upon.

The reasons were many, but one of the most obvious was the open bigotry of the Republican national leadership, particularly against gays. Even staunchly conservative Republican students tended to distance themselves from such attitudes. Their generation, thankfully, is no longer fearful of homosexuality. Most young people have openly gay friends. A party that seeks to demonize your friends, whether they're gay, or atheists, or foreign born, is not a party that the young of this generation will embrace.

So, good riddance to all that. The only question that remains is how many years will it take for the Republicans to recognize the obvious and throw the wackos overboard.

Crossposted at Unbossed

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