Most of my post is based off of information by the historians Strauss and Howe, from their book Generations, but other authors
To start, weâ€™re all members of a distinct generation of people, whose outlook on life has been shaped by shared experiences like Pearl Harbor, the Hippie Movement (and the wider Consciousness Revolution that followed), and the 9/11 attacks. Due to these shared experiences, and the dispositions and attitudes of our elders, certain trends among the generations emerge. More specifically, there is a cycle of 4 types of generations.The four types of generations are Idealistic, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive.
An Idealistic generation is one that young in life causes a social/spiritual revolution. These are the Baby Boomers of the hippie movement, and the people who started the religious Great Awakening, for instance. The Reactive generations are usually the â€œlostâ€ generations, like Hemmingwayâ€™s Lost Generation, and Generation X. The Civic generations are the ones who are the young adults during a great physical threat. They usually help defeat a great physical crisis. The soldiers in WWII, the troops of the American Revolution, and the current youth generation (the Millennial Generation) are all Civic Generations. The Adaptive generations are the ones who grow up as the over-sheltered children during a large crisis. This is the Silent Generation of people who were children during WWII.
Now each generation has many unique characteristics, but Iâ€™m ignoring most of them since weâ€™re focusing on politics alone.The Idealistic and the Civic generations are known as â€œdominantâ€ generations. These generations, when they enter the political scene, often decisively tip the balance of power, and usually help cause realigning elections. The idealistic boomers have largely tipped power to the GOP, while the civic Greatest Generation was responsible for FDRâ€™s landslides. Iâ€™m straying away examples further in the past, because I donâ€™t think most of the people here know too much about McKinleyâ€™s victory over Bryan, and it saves me the trouble of explaining the civil war hiccup. But regardless, generations often have distinct voting patterns. Many of the Greatest Generations were democrats until they died, and the few still alive generally still are.
When the Millennials enter the electorate in large number, theyâ€™re going to tip the balance either one way or another. To do this, a candidate to help push them in the right (left?) direction greatly helps. That's not to say people won't change their leanings in time, but certain core underpinnings stay the same. And there are always outliers. These are just for broad trends in society; there will always be people who go against the grain. Obama, with his wild popularity among Millennials, might be such a candidate. His stance on many issues is most in line with Millennials. The general theme of his campaign resonates with many voters who are too young to really remember much of the 80â€™s and 90â€™s, big event speaking, and donâ€™t remember the battles of the 60â€™s and 70â€™s at all. He definitely stands a chance of making the Millennials Democrats, especially after so many years of Bush. Most young voters agree with Obama on issues like the war, climate change, social security, and health care.Now keep in mind it isnâ€™t set in stone.
A candidate from the Republicans could realign the Millennials too. The Republicans were dominant from 1860 to 1932 largely because McKinley realigned the electorate after Lincoln realigned the electorate. However, I donâ€™t think McCain is that candidate. The only candidates in the field that I thought could have realigned the map were Giuliani and Paul. Of course, Paul would have had to break 10% in elections to realign the map, but the potential was there.Ok, thereâ€™s a quick and dirty rundown of generational theory. On to our next trend:
While putting around the internet I came across this article. I know it's from a left-wing blog, and thus not everyone on this site will immediately not take it seriously, but its worth looking at. I've checked most of the statistics they've cited before, and the numbers look about right.
Really, what it comes down to is that the Republican Party is increasingly the party of white Christian males, and the Democratic Party is the party of everyone else. This could have important and interesting ramifications in this country as it becomes more and more varied. Specifically, the demographic base of the Republican Party will become a smaller part of the electorate. And thanks to the know-nothing elements in the Republican Party, it is going to be hard for the GOP to expand much further into the one demographic they can really expand into: Latinos.I also encourage you to think about the role of the Democratic Party in the United State for a moment. Consider the following:* African-Americans support Democrats by about an 8-1 ratio. All 42 African-American members of the House and Senate are Democrats.* The LGBT community supports Democrats by about a 3-1 ratio. Both of the LGBT members of Congress are Democrats. * Non-Christians support Democrats by a 3-1 ratio. Both Buddhists and both Muslims in Congress are Democrats. Only three of the 43 Jewish members of the House and Senate are Republicans. . I'm also going to take a guess here and state that there are no publicly declared atheists Republicans in Congress.* Latinos support Democrats by more than a 2-1 ratio. Twenty-one of the twenty-five Latino members of Congress are Democrats.* More than 60% of Asian-American voters choose Democrats. All eight of the Asian-American members of Congress are Democrats.But wait, there's more! Union members, single women, and whites who self-identify their religion as either "none" or "other" than the main world denominations also vote for Democrats by more than 2-1 margins. (The "nones" are more than 3-1). Even the nerds vote for Democrats, as 58% of those with post-graduate degrees support Dems. (You can find sources for all of the voting statistics citing so far here, here, and here.)
Now keep in mind that these trends are just that: trends. Things can change drastically over time. Who ever thought that the Republicans would be based in the south, and that California would be a Democratic stronghold? Who would have ever thought that blacks would be voting against the Party of Lincoln? But I donâ€™t think that things will deviate from my predictions all that much.