Skip to comments.Romney, Republicans and the Young
Posted on 03/26/2012 4:40:13 AM PDT by Kaslin
I don't mean to be flip with this," said Mitt Romney during a Q-and-A with students at the University of Chicago last week. "But I don't see how a young American can vote for a Democrat." He cheerfully apologized to anyone who might find such a comment "offensive," but went on to explain why he was in earnest.
The Democratic Party "is focused on providing more and more benefits to my generation, mounting trillion-dollar annual deficits my generation will never pay for," Romney said. While Democrats are perpetrating "the greatest inter-generational transfer of wealth in the history of humankind," Republicans are "consumed with the idea of getting federal spending down and creating economic growth and opportunity so we can balance our budget and stop putting these debts on you."
The government's record-breaking debts "are not frightening to people my age, because we'll be gone," Romney argued, but "they ought to be frightening to death to people your age!" He regretted not doing a better job of getting that message across to younger voters. "You guys ought to be out," Romney insisted, "working like crazy for me and for people like me: conservatives, who want to keep the cost of government down and give you a brighter future."
About one thing Romney is surely correct: Washington's staggering spending binge is entailing a burden of fearsome proportions on the millennial generation -- voters in their late teens and 20s. With the governmentmore than $15.5 trillion in debt and continuing to borrow 40 cents of every dollar it spends, Generation Y is in for a prolonged economic beating. The national debt now exceeds the entire annual output of the US economy. Millennials will be paying for it through higher taxes, slower growth, reduced public services, fewer jobs, lower incomes, and a more uncertain future than their parents or grandparents confronted.
But that debt wasn't piled up without plenty of Republican help. During George W. Bush's presidency, annual federal spending skyrocketed from $1.8 trillion to $3.4 trillion, and $4.9 trillion was added to the national debt. Bush left the White House, in fact, as the biggest spender since LBJ. Granted, the profligacy of Barack Obama has outstripped even Bush's bacchanal: CBS reports that Obama has added more to the national debt in just three years and two months than Bush did in his entire eight years. Still, younger voters can hardly be blamed if they haven't noticed that Republicans are "consumed with the idea of getting federal spending down."
In any case, even persuasive economic arguments don't always sway voters. Romney's lament that twentysomethings aren't "working like crazy" for Republicans like him mirrors the frustration of liberals like Thomas Frank, whose best-selling "What's the Matter With Kansas?" made the case that heartland Americans hurt their own interests by not supporting Democrats. It takes more to win voters' loyalty than just appealing to their pocketbooks. Romney may be right about millennials' economic interests, but so far they've been voting like lockstep Democrats. They went two-to-one for Obama over John McCain, and backed John Kerry over Bush in 2004. Their enchantment with Obama may have fallen off -- according to the Pew Research Center, just 49 percent of young voters approve the president's job performance, a sharp drop since 2009 -- but they are still more likely than any other age group to describe themselves as Democrats.
It is common for voters to lean leftward when young and incline to the right with age. In a major report on "The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election," Pew notes that members of the "Silent Generation" -- those born before 1945 -- were once one of the most Democratic cohorts, but today are the most Republican. Baby Boomers, too, are moving rightward. Of voters born between 1946 and 1964, Pew finds, far more identify themselves as conservative than as liberal: "A majority of Boomers now favors a smaller government that provides fewer services. When they were in their 20s and 30s, Boomers were more supportive of big government."
But while "young = liberal" may be a familiar equation, it isn't chiseled in granite. Indeed, it wasn't all that long ago that the nation's youngest voters solidly backed the most influential conservative in modern American politics. In 1984, voters under 30 supported Ronald Reagan by a whopping 20-point margin. Not until Obama's election 24 years later would young voters so strongly line up behind any presidential candidate.
Romney laments that he's not "connecting with young people across the country." Somehow the Gipper did it, and in spades. What was his magic?
Let’s be honest. Romney has shortcomings, sure, but there are some major DEMOGRAPHIC reasons that he doesn’t connect as well with youth ad Reagan.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Personally, I will gladly do my part to ensure that Romney is added to the long list of Republican moderate losers if he wins the nomination.
I do want a Republican anywhere near the white house when this whole thing goes down.
Mitt Milquetoast will ride the wave of a coalition of moderate Republicans/Dems, independents and the hispanic voters to victory. Good luck with that.
I am most interested to see how Romney plans to win in November without the south.
November is going to be a train wreak.
I and many many others will not.
I have to confess I don’t understand this position. Anyone who is a conservative obviously believes Obama is a disaster. He hates American power, he loves the third world, he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, i could go on and on and so could you. If he remains president for another 4 years, and Iran has the bomb and everyone else to whom Iran gives the bomb has the bomb, the world will be very seriously damaged for a long time. I understand wanting to push Republican party — the only party that can conceivably, realistically, have any hope of undoing Obama’s horrors — as far to the right as you can. But at the end of the day isn’t even a moderate Republican better than Obama? Hell, isn’t even Hillary better than Obama (and I yield to absolutely no-one in my contempt for the Clintons)?
Why is it better to let Obama win in November?
Yep, you and I both know that no Republican candidate for Prez wins without the South. It indeed will be a monumental trainwreck in November and with any luck the Republican Party will come undone and conservatives and moderates with sense will form a true conservative party. That's the only good thing that's going to come out of this.
I can't imagine that a conservative would be naive enough to even entertain thoughts that they might be wrong about Romney. He's an unregenerate liar, through and through. Yet, you have accused Newt supporters of being closet Romney "operatives".
I agree, the Republican Party as currently constituted offers nothing to us conservatives and will continue serving up more and more liberal candidates. It is for that reason that we must give up on that party and work for a new one, one that will represent our viewpoints.
The Republican Party is hopeless, absolutely hopeless.
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