Friday, January 04, 2008

16 Year Itch

Great little Michael Barone analysis from the WSJ. I think the part in red is especially important. The median voter today doesn't know what bad times are, so is unafraid of them. Those of us who saw the '70s didn't even see how bad things could be after 8 years of FDR in the late '30s. WWIII might look like a "good idea" after 8+ years of Obama or Hillary, but for those for whom "bad times" are the "recessions" of 90-91 and 2000-2001, the definition of "bad" is certainly nothing to even consider. May as well "just take a chance".

OpinionJournal - Featured Article
My thought is that, over a period of 16 years, there is enough turnover in the electorate to stimulate an itch that produces a willingness to take a chance on something new.

Over time, the median-age voter in American elections has been about 45 years old. This means that the median-age voter in 1976 was born around 1931--old enough to have experienced post-World War II prosperity and foreign policy success, and then to have been disgusted by Vietnam and Watergate.

The median-age voter in 1992 was born around 1947 (the same year as Dan Quayle and Hillary Clinton, one year after Messrs. Clinton and Bush, one year before Mr. Gore). These voters came of age in the culture wars of the 1960s. They experienced stagflation and gas lines of the 1970s, and the prosperity and foreign policy successes of the 1980s. Mr. Clinton persuaded these voters to take a chance on change by promising not to radically alter policy. They rebuked him when he tried to break that promise, then for 14 years remained closely divided along culture lines as if the '60s never ended.

The median-age voter in 2008 was born around 1963, so he or she missed out on the culture wars of the '60s, and on the economic disasters and foreign policy reverses of the 1970s. These voters have experienced low-inflation economic growth something like 95% of their adult lives--something true of no other generation in history. They are weary of the cultural polarization of our politics, relatively unconcerned about the downside risks of big government programs, and largely unaware of America's historic foreign policy successes. They are ready, it seems, to take a chance on an outside-the-system candidate.

Powered by ScribeFire.

No comments:

Post a Comment