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Do people become more conservative as they get older?

The NY Times spewing this morning. Got me thinking! Maybe you better sit down for this.


Apparently, as folks age, they skew more toward the GOP. Do people get wiser as they age? Haha.


The GOP should be kicking ass right now. High crime, taxes, COVID lockdowns...but Trump has tanked their chances along with the bible-thumping far right who's waged war against women's rights.


So the country gets kicked under the bus and is led by a geriatric who doesn't know the day of the week. Not that I'm complaining.




Young and active

By David Leonhardt, NY Times


Many younger voters have become more politically active because they fear for the country’s future. Those on the left — who are a majority of younger voters — worry about climate change, abortion access, the extremism of the Republican Party and more. Those on the right worry about secularization, political correctness, illegal immigration and more.


“What seems to be driving younger voters to the polls isn’t love, but anger,” Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report has written.



Source: Catalist | By The New York Times

Contrary to conventional wisdom, younger voters throughout U.S. history have not automatically been liberal. In 1984, Americans under 30 strongly backed Ronald Reagan’s re-election. In 2000, they split almost evenly between George W. Bush and Al Gore.


It’s true that people often become somewhat more conservative as they age (and millennials are following this pattern, as my colleague Nate Cohn explained). But the more significant factor is that generations tend to have distinct ideologies. People are shaped by the political zeitgeist during their adolescence, as research by Yair Ghitza, Andrew Gelman and Jonathan Auerbach has shown.


Americans who came of age during the Depression and New Deal, for example, leaned Democratic for their entire lives. Those who grew up during the Reagan era (many of whom are part of Generation X) lean to the right. In recent decades, major news events, including the Iraq war, the financial crisis, Barack Obama’s presidency and the chaos of Trump’s presidency, appear to have created a progressive generation.


For four straight national elections dating back to 2014, Democrats have won at least 60 percent of the vote among 18- to 29-year-olds. It’s longest such run of success since at least the 1970s, when Catalist’s data begins.


The pattern offers reason for Democratic optimism. Millennials and Generation Z are growing parts of the electorate, while older, more conservative generations are gradually exiting the electorate. Even in the short term, the age dynamics matter: A Republican will have a slightly harder time winning the presidency in 2024 than in 2020. In the long term, Republicans will struggle to win national elections unless they can appeal to more Americans born since 1980.

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