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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: The Complicated Views of Young Voters

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

I think it’s fair to say that neither party and most pundits do not have a particularly nuanced or accurate view of young voters’ inclinations. John Halpin has the data at The Liberal Patriot:

“All Americans would like their political leaders to listen to them and take their views into serious consideration when making policy decisions. This is the democratic way. Unfortunately for America’s young people, political elites today grossly misunderstand and distort their views in ways that undermine young people’s impact on the decisions of government and the direction of politics.

The stereotypes of young people run wide and deep. According to left-wing activists, young people primarily care about issues like student debt, climate change, and racial justice and will only support parties or leaders who take maximalist positions on these issues. In turn, this reductive conception of young people suits right-wing activists just fine, making it easier for them to decry the supposed radicalism of young people and tar their politics as hopelessly out of touch with more mainstream Americans.

But looking at the great new Harvard Youth Poll conducted with more than 2000 Americans ages 18-29, it turns out that much of this conventional and ideologically convenient wisdom is untrue. Young people are far more diverse in their political views than generally acknowledged, and the issues that tend to unify young people across educational lines—things like health care and fighting poverty—are not the same ones that the nation’s political elites are fighting about all the time. Most importantly, young people face serious economic challenges that contribute to an overwhelming sense of fear about the future, rising mental health challenges, and political disengagement.

Consider these findings:

Young people are not overwhelmingly liberal or Democratic—most are moderates and many are Independents with big divides by education level……”

Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

One comment on “Teixeira: The Complicated Views of Young Voters

  1. Watcher on

    ” [I]ssues that tend to unify young people across educational lines—things like health care and fighting poverty—are not the same ones that the nation’s political elites are fighting about all the time.”

    So people like Manchin and Sinema must particularly repel them, even if they don’t know exactly who they are because they are the prototypes of what overwhelming percentages of young people say they don’t like. I know this site has given them a pass on their destructiveness but that is a mistake.

    “The leading reason cited for disapproval of Biden is “ineffectiveness” (36%), which leads other options provided to respondents such as “not following through on campaign promises” (14%) and “not sharing my values” (10%)”. We have known for a few decades that the GOP is committed to killing any reform and that is because it breeds disenchantment with the whole political process. They don’t need any Democratic help.

    Reply

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