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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Once Berned Twice Shy

A majority of young Democrats support Bernie Sanders. A majority of not so young Democrats support Hillary Clinton. The generation gap is not surprising at all. People tend to move right as they age. Older people note that we have learned to compromise and deal with reality. Younger people note that we have become cynical and lost the audacity of hope. But the question is why is the generation gap more marked now than it was in the 80s and 90s. I'm old enough to remember a *real* generation gap. I remember 1972 (I even remember 1968). One explanation of the Sanders phenomenon is that people under 30 don't remember the USSR and associate the word "socialism" with Sweden not Stalin. I think another explanation is that young people don't remember 1972. I'm a late boomer (1960) and have long been very irritated that the leaders of the Democratic party are older than me people who can't get over the mistake of supporting McGovern in the 1972 primaries. Now I know how they feel. I am sure that Sanders if vulnerable to a negative campaign accusing him of being a socialist (which would have the additional advantage of being true). I don't trust the early general election polls at all.


Nathanael said...

"People tend to move right as they age. "

Commonly believed. Proven false by every study which has looked at the question.

In fact, people retain pretty much exactly the same political positions as they age.

One of the reasons this *illusion* has become commonly believed is that *society* has been moving to the left for a long time. So someone who was a good, solid, middle-of-the-road liberal in the 1920s is probably considered a regressive, sexist, racist, elitist pig now. They didn't move to the right, though. Society moved to their left.

Nathanael said...

Oh. Also, people who obsess about 1972 and think it means that Democrats shouldn't nominate socialists? They are fools who don't understand politics.

(a) no Democrat could have won in 1972
(b) nominating Humphrey, in a comprehensively anti-democratic manner rejecting all the primary voters and based largely on elite "power bloc" influence, was about the worst possible thing the Democratic Party could have done in 1968. They did it.

I'm worried about the establishment engineering a repeat of 1968 this year, bluntly speaking.