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Biden Is Locking In The Youth Vote For The Dems? On What Planet?


Biden isn't "locking in" any young voters until he groks this 100%

Beltway consultant Ben Koltun tried making the case yesterday that Biden's policies are locking in the youth vote for Democrats. Let's leave aside that the Democrats are almost entirely a party that now runs as a lesser-of-two evils option. And let's also leave aside that Biden hasn't accomplished much of anything, other than preserving the Jim Crow filibuster. Now let's look at Koltun's absurd assertion about locking in the youth vote-- apart from the GOP perhaps locking out the youth vote. Oh, one more thing, the release of census numbers last week shows that the youth vote-- Gen Z folks (born after 1996) are the most demographically diverse group in U.S. history, with more Black and brown and Asian people and fewer whites than any other age group.


Koltun started down the right path: the kids are moving left and polling shows they like socialism more than capitalism. "Kids today," he wrote, "Kids today define 'socialism' differently, viewing it as representing greater equality or government activism rather than government ownership or modified communism. A 'helping hand' is preferable to the 'invisible hand' of a free-market economy. America's elderly can't just dismiss these 'krazy kids.' Millennials in 2019 surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation. In the 2020 election, Millennials and Gen Z’ers made up nearly one-third of all voters, while Boomers and older generations declined to under 50 percent of the electorate. This trend will only continue; in fact, the younger generations could constitute the largest vote share as soon as 2024."


He also contends that "The most formative time for the development of voting preferences is between the ages of 14 and 24. Those views tend to stick with a voter well into future election cycles. In a race to capture this growing generation of voters, Democrats have an early advantage, winning Millennials and Gen Z’ers by 20 points in 2020." But the pollster should know that most voters dislike both parties and virtually all establishment politicians; they just dislike Republicans more. The most recent YouGov survey for The Economist (last week) asked about favorability for politicians in the news and broke the responses down by age (the youngest cohort being between 18 and 29:

Kathy Hochul, a little known NY conservative Democrat

  • all voters- 10% favorable

  • young voters- 9% favorable


AOC

  • all voters- 32% favorable

  • young voters- 33% favorable


Ron DeSantis

  • all voters- 32% favorable

  • young voters- 20% favorable


Gym Jordan

  • all voters- 24% favorable

  • young voters- 13% favorable

Lindsey Graham

  • all voters- 27% favorable

  • young voters- 20% favorable


Mike Lindell

  • all voters- 26% favorable

  • young voters- 18% favorable


Joe Biden

  • all voters- 49% favorable

  • young voters- 45% favorable


Kamala Harris

  • all voters- 43% favorable

  • young voters- 37% favorable


Nancy Pelosi

  • all voters- 35% favorable

  • young voters- 34% favorable


Kevin McCarthy

  • all voters- 20% favorable

  • young voters- 9% favorable


Mitch McConnell

  • all voters- 20% favorable

  • young voters- 13% favorable


Chuck Schumer

  • all voters- 30% favorable

  • young voters- 13% favorable


Señor Trumpanzee

  • all voters- 40% Favorable

  • young voters- 33% favorable


Barack Obama

  • all voters- 52% favorable

  • young voters- 53% favorable


The Democratic Party

  • all voters- 40% favorable

  • young voters- 34% favorable


The Republican Party

  • all voters- 32% favorable

  • young voters- 31% favorable


Later in the survey, voters were asked if they find Biden likable.

  • all voters- 42% likable

  • young voters- 33% likable

Despite consistency in this kind of information, Kolton contends that Biden is making a go of winning this young voters over even though he's certainly "not an obvious champion of America's youth. The oldest president ever, Biden is the consummate institutionalist who began his career representing the "corporate state of Delaware" eight years before the first Millennials were born. He's unhip to issues like cannabis legalization that are overwhelmingly popular with younger Americans. Biden is also uneager to take sweeping action on student debt forgiveness... [Still] Biden wants his presidency to be 'transformational' not 'transitional' and is looking towards history to best position his own legacy and the Democratic Party.



Won't be fooled again

Having a keen understanding of where the middle of his country and party are, Biden spots an opening where both extremes in a politically polarized era want to reform American capitalism. He's taking a "whole-of-government" approach with an overarching theme that the government, in fact, may know better than the market. From climate change to industrial policy to corporate taxation, Biden is channeling “Scranton Joe” populism over “Corporate Joe” pragmatism. It's a $6 trillion legislative agenda that rivals the likes of FDR and LBJ.
Biden's latest move-- a competition executive order-- goes to the heart of American capitalism. Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust-designate Jonathan Kanter are among the band of hipster antitrusters who want to make what's old cool again in embracing a “New Brandeis” approach to regulating corporate power. Instead of looking at just prices, Biden’s antitrust personnel are focused on the impact to small businesses, workers, and democratic norms. If implemented, it could upend 40 years of competition policy.
It's too soon to declare America's youth as Biden-stans. They are the most supportive of regulating big businesses, but they are also big fans of some of them. Amazon has a higher favorability rating among young Americans than Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and even the Black Lives Matter movement.
Biden is undertaking a major experiment of the government's role in capitalism. But experiments can fail. If the Biden agenda contributes to spiraling inflation or an Amazon that no longer offers the prices and accessibility consumers enjoy, it could put off a generation of young Americans to Democratic policies.

I care about this stuff... a lot. Gen Z voters, generally speaking, don't-- at least not enough to sway them at the polls. They do care about marijuana legalization, student debt forgiveness, and, more than almost anything else, Climate Change. (Many of them also understand why eliminating the filibuster is so important and look askance at Biden and his allies for not doing so.) Biden is failing in the areas that mean the most to these voters and he is likely to be identified by them as an enemy before long.


I asked Jason Call, the progressive Democrat running for Congress in northwest Washington state, in a district held by a corrupt status quo establishment Dem, Rick Larsen. "There's no doubt," Call told me last night, "that the policy positions generally held by the Democratic Party are more appealing to younger voters that the Republicans. And Gen Z'ers like both of my own teens (15 and 18) are not tolerant of white supremacy, so there's no chance they would find themselves aligned with the Republican Party in the future (and that's not to say they aren't going to school with kids who wear MAGA hats). But Biden's policies are not transformational in any sense, and the kids know it. So while these corporate dinosaurs in charge of government for the time being are making performative short-term adjustments, Gen Z recognizes that it's not enough. They recognize that their labor is being exploited and there's virtually no chance of home ownership or stable family prospects (the 3 bedroom house, 2 cars and 2.35 kids that used to be the classic American Dream) without going the route of college education, which brings with it a mountain of debt. Some may feel lucky to be on their parents' health insurance until age 26, but many see a bleak future in regards to healthcare and look at places like Canada and France and say 'why can't we do that?' Many perceive America to be the aggressor on the world stage, and are already tired of global conflict, having lived almost their entire lives at war. They grimace at the increasing war budget while they wait for the Biden administration to take meaningful action on climate. I agree that Gen Z is an impending force as a voting bloc. But the corporate establishment of the Democratic Party is going to find a rude awakening when this group is fully organized and ready to enter the political arena. They are tired of status quo inaction. Biden't policies aren't enticing, they just happen to be better than the alternative. That's not enough to secure the Gen Z vote for the future, they are seeking justice in a way previous generations have not."


Had Adam Christensen won his congressional race-- in a very gerrymandered red Florida district-- last year, he would have been the youngest member of Congress, and the only member of Gen Z to be serving with the troglodyte leadership of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn. I figured I'd disturb his vacation in Colorado and get his view. "All of the data and polling shows that Gen Z is by far the most progressive generation. Democrats should be able to easily convince younger voters to overwhelmingly vote their way. But there are a few issues here. Nothing that Biden has proposed is easy to understand (ie. what the hell is a tax credit or a subsidy?!?) or would do much to win votes like erasing student debt, making college tuition free or making sure everyone can have a decent job when they get out of college. Even things that could swing drastically swing younger voters towards Democrats (climate change) aren’t nearly to the scale that would get these voters excited. Currently the main obstacles to getting young voters excited and energized are the filibuster and gerrymandering (apathy and feeling helpless). Most young voters understand that personal responsibility is a lie that they’ve been fed to cover for systemic issues. And until Biden begins fixing the systemic issues with easy to understand solutions, speculation about 'locking in' generations is fairly naïve. However one long term and under the radar program that will do more than people think to sway young voters is the Climate Core. A job guarantee focused on climate that could serve as a blueprint for sustainable growth going forward, where the Gen Z generation could someday own a house and start a family, just like previous generations. If Dems can give them that “hope” then they will have locked in not only Gen Z but also anyone under the age of 40."