Q&A of the Day – 2022 Midterms - The Generational Political Divide
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Today’s Entry: @brianmuddradio Was the Gen Z vote for Democrats any bigger than other generations in previous elections? A generational shift is what’s scariest to me.
Bottom Line: I’ll start by saying thank you for the myriad of amazing questions which have rolled in over the past few days. I’ll be featuring many in upcoming Q&A’s. I was tempted to go with a Florida/DeSantis angle for today’s Q&A, or even to have fun on a Friday after an especially long week, by comparing/contrasting the demise of The Sun Sentinel to Florida’s Democrat party...for the purpose of determining South Florida’s biggest loser. But alas, you might say it’s all a similar hellscape. While we continue to await states who still haven’t figured out how to count votes, to determine control of congress (along with potentially another pivotal Georgia runoff election) ...the exercise of serious soul-searching for Republicans outside the state of Florida is already underway as it should be, regardless of the final congressional result. The fact of the matter is that by any historical measure Republicans significantly underperformed everywhere but in Florida. As always there are two sides to stories and one side to facts. In an analytical evaluation of why this happened there is one extremely specific answer that’s more accurate, more telling, and longer lasting and it answers today’s question. My little place in the world is to provide analytics and subsequent analysis you don’t get anywhere else. So, I’ll kick off the conversation with this important first declarative. The narrative that it’s bad Trump candidates that led Republican underperformance is utter bunk and BS which retains no basis in provable reality.
Narratives are easy, they don’t require anything more than hot takes. They’re even easier to advance when you have record Republican performance in Florida as an outlier to the country at large. There’s only one problem with that attempted narrative. Does anyone advancing it not realize the irony? Ron DeSantis is the ultimate Trump candidate. Have we not heard from the governor’s detractors and supporters alike for four years that he’s Trump without “the bad stuff”? The reason Ron DeSantis led a historical wave in our state on Tuesday is precisely because he’s governed like Trump but “without the bad stuff”. So now, the premise as to why the under-performance.
Here’s a look at the voter breakout in the 2014 midterm elections which represented a historical high-water mark congressionally for the Republican party.
How voters broke based on age:
- 18-29: D+13
- 30-44: D+6
- 45-64: R+8
- 65+: R+16
That breakout, following the historical trend lines of voters becoming more conservative with age, led to Republicans controlling both chambers of congress by the end of the cycle with 246 House seats and 54 Senate seats. Here’s what happened Tuesday:
- 18-29: D+28
- 30-44: D+2
- 45-64: R+11
- 65+: R+13
It’s hard to understate how remarkable these comparisons are and how politics is being radically reshaped by Gen Z. Had Gen Z simply voted in line with how Millennials did close to a decade ago we wouldn’t have just had a red wave nationally, it would have been a tsunami al la what happened in Florida just about everywhere with all of those “bad Trump” candidates winning across the board. Notably, we’re seeing that Millennials are 4% more conservative than Gen Xer’s at the same age. We’re seeing that Gen Xer’s are 3% more conservative than Boomers at the same age, while we’re seeing older Boomers who voted 3% less conservatively than their parents. Here’s the first remarkable takeaway from that exercise. Adults 30 and older voted more conservatively on Tuesday than they did during the midterm election which led to the all-time high watermark for Republicans congressionally. So, go on and tell me about how if it only just wasn’t for all of those bad Trump candidates... how do explain that one? This isn’t meant to support or endorse a bunch of failed Trump-supported candidates, it’s just matter of fact. There is but one reason, and one reason alone, that there wasn’t a tsunami, a wave and potentially not even much more than a status quo election...Gen Z’s radical leftward turn. Gen Z breaking for Democrats by 15% more than Millennials at the same age is a political transformation of sorts that became the ultimate neutralizer on Tuesday.
There’s zero supporting evidence that the most liberal generation on record would have voted for Republicans if only they were the “good” establishment Republican candidates. There’s something in here for everybody at a certain level. Republicans can feel good about Millennials not only following the historical pattern of finding common political sense as they’ve established themselves in the real world with families, but by becoming more conservative more quickly than their parents. The GOP can also feel good about Xer’s becoming more conservative in voting patterns than their parents at the same age. But Democrats can be thrilled that the kids with ballots are starting out from the most leftist positioning we’ve seen in the post-30's data analytics age.