Young vs. Old Voters

by James Wallace Harris, Saturday, July 13, 2019

I’m using statistics from Pew Research Center’sAn early look at the 2020 electorate.” I’ve graphed them so blue is older voters, light green the younger voters, and middle-age voters are dark green. There is a certain symmetry to this graph. I’m going to “borrow” a PEW graph that shows the change vectors of each generation.

population trends

It’s obvious that Baby Boomer and Silent generations are in decline, but if you look closer, Millennial and Gen X generations have already started their decline. You’d think the 2020 election should reflect a generation shift.

If you look at PEW’s other graph in that article,

Voters by ethnic groups

you’ll see the shift that Republicans fear. Why do Republicans keep alienating minorities? Haven’t they even considered embracing diversity?

Finally, if we consider gender,

Voters by gender

where we see that woman voters are also increasing.

I have no way to predict how the U.S. 2020 presidential election will go. There are too many factors. But if population demographics are good indicators, then youth, minorities, and women should play a bigger role. But are they a large enough factor for Democrats to shun running another old white guy? Which side of the graph should the Democrats bet on?

Trump won in 2016 by finding the right dissatisfaction in America. I think that same dissatisfied voting block still exists, but are they satisfied with Trump? Many independent voters voted for Obama and then Trump because they hoped for significant change. Should the Democrats pick someone promising to make big changes? What do younger voters – liberals, conservatives, independents – really want?

We never seem to know the deciding issue in a U.S. presidential election until after its over. The face-palm slap factor is always a black swan that surprises us. You’d think with all the artificial intelligence out there that data scientists could tell us ahead of time. But I doubt they will.

As of now, I’m going to bet that the 2020 election will be about youth. I’ve been reading articles lately about climate change depression. Young people are bummed out about the future, and who can blame them? I’m guessing they might be the reactionaries in the 2020 election. Maybe I feel this because I don’t want to see the young giving up on the future. Climate change isn’t the end of the world, but voters who don’t vote about the future could be.


4 thoughts on “Young vs. Old Voters”

  1. Although I agree that youth minority and women in total should or maybe will play a bigger role in 2020,I’m not convinced that young voters are in a position numerically to produce that generational shift we may hope for. Gen Z will decide the future but that time has not arrived. Meanwhile the older end of the Millennials are already 15 years into their work careers where the economy, I’m guessing here, is front and centre.

    My rough estimate by age for what’s it worth shows a 60/40 split between more traditional conservative voters, and those who may fall into a more progressive line of thinking.

    I’m still of the mind that a majority of democratic voters will vote strategically this time around. I just read an interesting article in the LA Times where a middle aged black woman would love to vote with her heart for a black/woman candidate but is convinced in her mind that the best vote is for Biden because the goal is to oust Trump at all costs.

    In 1972 Nixon ran for re-election on the economy and foreign policy initiatives (sound familiar) He won in a landslide when seemingly the ‘issue’ on the Democratic side was ….end the war. In 2020 Trump will run on the same thing as Nixon did. The ‘issue’ for Democrats is to gain the white house. From there Democrats can move on a badly needed progressive agenda going forward. The Biden ticket is the stop gap. The horse before the cart. Not the other way around.

    The Republican’s with Trump cannot win the 2020 election, however the Democrats can still lose it.

    1. I recently had a look back at the timeline associated with the many resolutions calling for the impeachment of President Nixon even before Watergate. There seemed to be no reluctance on the part of Representatives to put forward same. Of course the Democrats held a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate for both the 93rd and 94th congresses. It was only after the initial investigations following the Watergate break ins that impeachment gained any traction. Before that Tip ONeil as the Speaker was reluctant to proceed

      All to say that there is no doubt sufficient evidence exists to begin the process against Trump. The big difference is that there is a very slim chance that a Republican majority in the senate would find a verdict of guilty (A super majority of 67 votes required) therefore the whole process could be perceived as a partisan political attack.

      Now the right thing to do maybe to proceed anyway. However the political risk is too high and politicians don’t like risk when they can avoid it. They would rather have their fellow citizen’s decide.

      At this point the court of public opinion doesn’t care about what Trump did or did not do. The political lines have already been drawn. The focus now is to confirm the candidate that has the best chance to defeat Trump in a general election which includes the most populous states, thereby preventing a repeat of the electoral college result in 2016

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