The Coming Democratic Earthquake

(cross posted from Dailykos)
William Straus and Neil Howe broke social science ground in 1991 with the fist in a series of books studying American generational history, this book "Generations", traces America's generational history back to 1584 and establishes their theory that US history can be fairly accurately framed as a roughly 80 year repeating cycle of 4 distinct generational groups.

The theory postulates that each generation has certain characteristics which distinguishes itself from the other generations in it's cycle. Among those distinctions are social attitudes, behaviors, and politics.

This theory has recently been advanced even further by the Morley Wiongrad and Michael D. Hais book "Millennial Makeover" which focuses on the millennial generation sometimes referred to as Generation Y.

The Generational Cycle
The book makes the case that the huge millennial generation which is coming of age will reshape the face of American politics in a dramatic sea change that will last for the next 30-50 years.

As Judy Woodruf lead off with, young voters have been turning out in record numbers. This is no accident, there are fundamental differences in the way millennials see the role of government and their own roles as citizens from the way Generation X and Baby Boomers see them.

This is at least in part due to the fact that each of these generations belongs to a different part of the overall generational cycle. The four groups in the cycle being:

From Millennial Makeover pg.25

  • "Idealist." This is a "dominant and inner-fixed" generational type. Idealists are reared in an indulgent manner and are driven throughout their lives by their deeply held values. Baby Boomers are the Idealist generation in America's current Millennial generational cycle.

  • Idealism in this generation can cut both ways, and indeed in the Baby Boom generation we see two strongly opposing viewpoints which can rarely come to agreement on major policy issues. It was the Baby Boomers (as a voting block) who marched in the Civil rights movement, the Women's movement, and of course against the war in Vietnam. But it was also Boomer politicians, strategists, and operatives such as Paul Wolfowitz, Karl Rove, and George W. Bush himself who gave us the neo-conservative agenda that we see finally playing itself out today. It is in reaction to the gridlock that inevitably comes about during an Idealist generation that we see the current fixation on so called bi-partisanship. As a political force, Idealists in the current cycle are roughly evenly split in the electorate, which again contributes to legislative gridlock as it is very difficult for either party to gain (and retain for any length of time) a significant majority in all branches of government.


  • "Reactive." A recessive generation that, because of its unprotected rearing, is more often than not criticized and condemned; it tends to become alienated, risk-taking, entrepreneurial, and pragmatic in adulthood. In the current generational cycle, Generation X represents the Reactive type.

  • True to their description, alienated Gen-Xers tend to be the weakest in terms of voter turnout.


  • "Civic." A generational type described as "dominant and outer-fixated". The members of this generational type are reared in a highly protected manner so that an orientation to societal challenges, problem solving, and institution building marks their adult lives. The Millennial Generation is the Civic generation of the current cycle, as the GI Generation was of the previous one.

  • Unlike the Boomers, Millennials are highly partisan, but believe strongly in rule by consensus, meaning that they are willing to work hard for the benefit of the group, hence the title of "Civic" generation. Unlike the Gen-Xers, Millennials turn out in disproportionately large numbers as will be discussed in more depth later.


  • "Adaptive." Another "recessive" generation type, but one raised in an overprotected and suffocating way, which tends to make them risk averse, conformist, and inclined toward compromise. In the current generational cycle, the members of the Adaptive Generation are children born since 2003 and still too young to be in kindergarten. They have not yet been given a specific name. In the previous generational cycle, the Silent Generation born from 1925 to around 1945, the only generation in U.S. history to have failed so far to elect a president from its own generation, was the Adaptive type.

  • Party Identification and Partisanship
    While researching their book (prior to 2008) Winograd and Hais pointed to polling suggesting Millennial preference for the democratic party at a rate of about 1.75:1,

    Millennial Party Identification vs Gen X
    but since then it appears this margin has increased. According to a March 2008 Pew Survey, Millennials are now identifying with democrats at a rate of over 2:1.

    Additionally, Millennials seem to be much more partisan than previous generations. According to Winograd and Hais, during the 1980's and 1990's, about 70% of American voters considered the two main political parties to be fairly to very similar. Conversely, in 2006 38% of voters saw a great deal of difference between the parties. This represented a shift of over 15% from the late 1980's to early 1990's. This change was led by Millennials, who during the 2006 congressional elections voted overwhelmingly democratic, by a whopping 22 percentage point margin of 60% to 38%. Support for Democrats among all other generations combined leaned towards democrats by only a 1.2:1 margin. Clearly, Millennials are by far the most partisan generation we have seen in decades. This will play a more significant role as time goes on, because at over 90 million strong, Millennials by any measure are the largest generation in American history.

    As they mature into the electorate, the need for bi-partisanship and compromise will rapidly decline, giving way to an ability to rule by consensus as opposing (i.e. right wing) viewpoints will be unable to attract sufficient support to impact the legislative process. They will clearly be running the show, and in fact this may already have begun.

    Millennial Turnout
    The 2006 elections can be seen as the first shot across the bow. By 2010 about half of all millennials will have entered the voting populace, and unlike the Gen-Xers before them, Millennials believe in the power of government and democracy, and they do turnout to vote (pdf).

    In 2000 the 18-24 year old age group turned out at a rate of 36%, that year, only a handful of Millennials could vote, those who were 18 years old by registration deadlines in their respective states. But in 2004, which was comprised mostly of Millennials, turnout among the 18-24 year old group rose to 47%.

    Millennial Turnout 200 vs 2004

    source data from the Missouri Census Data Center
    Millennials as a  percentage of the overall voting age population have been increasing dramatically. Note the growth in these two charts.

    Millennials as a percentage of voting age population 2004
    Millennials as a percentage of voting age population 2004

    Millennials as a percentage of voting age population 2008
    Millennials as a percentage of voting age population 2008

    On a state by state basis, Millennials have grown from an average of 10% of the voting population to an average of 17%, or a 70% cycle over cycle increase. They are gradually replacing the Older Generations which are traditionally considered more conservative with what is shaping up to be the largest and most progressive voting block in modern history.

    Swing State Analysis and Projection
    During 2008 less than half of the millennial generation will have reached voting age, and yet they seem already to be having a significant impact. By examining the rising Millennial turnout overlaid with party preference data based on recent voting patterns of this group, it is possible to construct a reasonable projection of their impact on the 2008 presidential election. For the purposes of practicality, this analysis is constricted to one major swing state, but the same dynamics should be applicable across the board.

    Using the 2004 election as a baseline, let us look at a major swing state Kerry lost in that election and compare it to how that same state might shape up in 2008 with the expanded Millennial participation that is expected. The state we'll look at is Ohio. This is a state that was very close in 2004 and is currently showing very close polling as well.

    Let's start with the electoral map of 2004
    Electoral Map 2004
    George W Bush won that election with 286 electoral votes to Kerry's 251, and a total popular vote margin of over 3 million votes (62,039,073 to 59,027,478)

    Now let's take a look at Ohio specifically. Bush won the state with a margin of 136,483 votes out of 5,455,811 or a percentile win of 51/49.

    That year the number of Millennials in the general population for the state of Ohio was 794,445. The total voting age population of the state that year was 8,650,929. Nationwide 47% of eligible Millennials turned out to vote that year. Assuming Ohio turnout was not dramatically different than the rest of the country:

    794,445 X 47% = 373,889 Millennials voting that year in Ohio

    If we then look at the eligible population of Millennials in Ohio this year, we see that 1,424,245 Millennials will be eligible to vote out of a total voting age population of 8,707,971 or roughly 16%.

    Conservatively, we can expect Millennials to turn out in at least the same proportion as they did in 2004. This would render a total Millennial voting bloc for the state of:

    1,424,245 X 47% = 669,395 Millennials expected to vote in 2008.

    Comparison of Eligible Millennial Voters 2004 vs 2008 in Ohio

    If we then assume that Millennial partisanship remains at 2:1 Democrat vs Republican then we can expect a breakdown of 446,263 to 223,131 Democrat over republicans, or a net plus of 223,131 votes for the democratic candidate. All other factors being equal, this would be enough to swing the state to the Democrats (3,105,926 to 3,019,278).

    This analysis can't really be extrapolated to every swing state in the same way, conditions overall seem much more favorable towards democrats in several important swing states than they were in 2004. Colorado for example is trending heavily democratic in polling, whereas Kerry lost that state in 2004. But the thrust here is that the Millennials are likely to provide an additional bit of oomph in close contests that current pollsters may not be taking in to account. Generally Millennials are more difficult to poll as many only have cell phones. Most political pollsters do not poll people with cell numbers. Additionally, many live in group environments such as college dormitories, fraternity houses, or group homes. As a result, telephones are not generally listed in every name in the environment.

    The Millennials surprised in 2006 and 2004, there is no reason to believe that they will not surprise in 2008 as well. Additionally, the effect we are seeing in 2008 is only the tip of the iceberg. The proportion of Millennials will only increase dramatically over the next decade. If indeed Millennials are able to tip the country towards the democrats this year, as every expectation indicates, then look for a sustained shift in direction for decades to come.

    Stay tuned, next time we will look at Millennials use of social networking in the political process.

    Tags: Democratic Realignent, Millennials, Politics (all tags)



    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    Nice breakdown.

    This fits with what I've concluded.

    by Reaper0Bot0 2008-06-16 07:33AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    Agreed, diarist did a great job. Reasons for optimism. Fact-based diary. Doesn't take shots at any of 2 people I'm thinking of. Raises intellectual discussion. Tipping, reccing, getting cup of coffee, & re-reading it slower with relish (not in the coffee).

    by catilinus 2008-06-16 07:39AM | 0 recs

    Because ITS TRUE.

    Thanks for the great breakdown.

    by CrushTheGOP2008 2008-06-16 07:35AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    Wow. That's an impressive amount of statwork.

    I'm about as young as it gets for Gen-X (born in 1980) but I had a feeling the people younger than me were going to change things.

    by Geiiga 2008-06-16 07:38AM | 0 recs
    It's funny

    Six or so years ago, Boomer-led media was trying to portray Millenials as flighty, materialistic, and selfish.

    I want to shake these people and say "THEY'RE TEENAGERS YOU JACKASS."

    by Dracomicron 2008-06-16 07:56AM | 0 recs
    Sounds about right.

    I'm Gen X.  My little sister is Millenial.  She doesn't have an interest in politics yet, but her personal politics are very Democratic, and she knows that things need to change.  

    My generation, it's true, never got big into politics, but we are incredibly pragmatic, and even we see that there's a lot of fixing to be done.  Democratic turnout numbers in our two generations are going to be off the charts this year.

    by Dracomicron 2008-06-16 07:54AM | 0 recs
    Re: Sounds about right.

    Gen X is the forgotten generation... no one cared about us, and we returned the favor by not caring about anything...  But, now that we have something to care about, and someone who (for the first time), actually believes in us... well, I think we'll make a nice add on to the millenials!

    by LordMike 2008-06-16 09:07AM | 0 recs
    True enough

    Obama is more of ours than of the Boomers that he technically belongs to.

    Comes from teaching college students.

    by Dracomicron 2008-06-16 09:22AM | 0 recs
    Re: True enough

    Although I agree with the first premise, the idea that University of Chicago law students are the same as undergrads is faulty. The U of C law school is just about as conservative of a law school as is possible for a secular institution. Secondly, for the years he was teaching and the age of law students they were probably almost all gen xers.

    by AIegra 2008-06-16 11:27AM | 0 recs
    This is a great diary.

    Highly recommended. I love your analysis, and this makes me feel slightly more optimistic.

    by sricki 2008-06-16 08:00AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    I feel like I am reading my horoscope.

    Nice analysis, but I never bought into these types of breakdowns and stereotyping.

    by colebiancardi 2008-06-16 08:02AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    Some would say that the science of sociology is the art of stereotyping.

    by Phil In Denver 2008-06-16 08:09AM | 0 recs
    Now that's a diary!

    Thanks for the thought and research.

    the science of sociology is the art of stereotyping.

    Very true.  As emotionally distasteful as steroeotyping may be, the hard reality of sociology is that you can model the behavior of populations by demographic groups.  The inverse and parallel hard reality is that this modeling does not work with individuals, thankfully.

    Generatonal cusp groups and the individuals that make up their membership are, I think, canaries in the coal mines for these sorts of analyses. My Mom is a Silent Generation person (1941) who due to education and inclination leans towards behaving more as an early Boomer.  My cusp birth date (1965) and older brother led me to grow up influenced primarily by the Boomers, while my profession and inclination leads me to lean towards the views of Gen Xers and Millenials.  Between the two of us we make for interesting if often frustrating conversations encompassing perspectives of all four generations in the cycle.  The one thing that is clear is that each of these demographic groups has its own set of tangible charateristics.

    Stereotyping in the context of the science of sociology certainly is an art, as paradoxical as that sentence is.


    by chrisblask 2008-06-16 10:32AM | 0 recs
    Scientific fields

    Scientific fields arranged by purity -- or arranged by the lack of stereotyping perhaps:

    by Aris Katsaris 2008-06-16 11:13AM | 0 recs
    Re: Scientific fields

    haaha. how funny. no seriously that how us chemists think. haa. dude biology is just chemistry, only lamer and more boring.

    by alyssa chaos 2008-06-16 11:21AM | 0 recs
    Re: Scientific fields

    As a chemist I agree with this, although I do chemical physics.

    by AIegra 2008-06-16 11:34AM | 0 recs
    Re: Scientific fields

    I'm a mathematician, and I find this hilarious. You left out engineers and computer scientists, who are standing slightly to the left of me.

    by xodus1914 2008-06-16 12:37PM | 0 recs
    Re: Scientific fields

    Did you hear the one about the engineer, the physicist, and the mathematician?

    An engineer is sitting at his kitchen table when a fire breaks out on the stove.  He gets up and throws water on the fire until it goes out. His important notes remain unburned, but most are ruined by the water.

    A physicist is in the same situation.  He rapidly calculates exactly how much water is needed to put out the fire, then carefully collects exactly that much and dumps it on the stove. His notes don't get wet, but in the time it took him to do that, most of his notes burned.

    A mathematician is in the same situation.  He sits down and scribbles frantically while the stove burns.  Finally he pushes his chair back and announces, "THERE IS A SOLUTION!". Then he leaves the room.

    by Michigoose 2008-06-16 12:57PM | 0 recs
    Re: Scientific fields
    Makes me wish I was teaching again.....
    by xodus1914 2008-06-18 12:35PM | 0 recs
    Re: Scientific fields

    I am an engineer who thinks it's spot on... and funny.

    by lockewasright 2008-06-16 07:19PM | 0 recs
    we mills rock!

    At 27, my generation is heavily involved in the political process at the local, state and federal level. It was encouraging to see all the younger faces at the poll stations in 06' and this year, who were not there necessarily to vote, but as poll workers. We definetely are going to make the difference this year...and we are overwhelmingly democrats and we have decided a change in needed in D.C.

    oBAMA 08'

    by april34fff 2008-06-16 08:33AM | 0 recs
    John Kerry got 252 electoral votes

    as one faithless elector when to John Edwards. still, there's no way to see if all of these voters will come out. We can't rely on them alone, but its still worth investing

    by Lakrosse 2008-06-16 08:56AM | 0 recs
    I'm a boomer

    of the "civil rights marchers, women's right's marchers, anti war marchers, peace corps types" etc etc.   I am glad the millenials are coming along to change things and perhaps get more activism going.

    One thing though that has always bugged me.  So many of the younger generation seems to have generalized the boomers as the W type...or the Rove and Wolfowitz type, despite the stats that we were at least evenly split.  And some tend to be angry that we (the liberal ones) have continued to do battle with the right, thus causing severe gridlock.  I especially don't get the latter viewpoint.  Were we supposed to give up and compromise with the neocon nuts just to end the gridlock in congress???

    by Jjc2008 2008-06-16 09:48AM | 0 recs
    It's just my opinion but

    my take is that a solid majority of Millennials would not subscribe at all to the second of your points, i.e. that they are angry with Boomers doing battle with the right, though that may be true for Gen-Xers.

    My sense is that most Millennials see bi-partisanship as a canard. It's like sleeping with the enemy. Once Millennials fully take the stage, so called bi-partisanship will die the ignominious death it deserves. Their majority will be so overwhelming, there simply won't be any reason to compromise with the right. Rather, I think it's more likely that for the right to remain relevant, they will need to moderate their positions considerably.

    In otherwords there will be a wholesale shifting to the left and the "Liberal Republican" will once again become a reality. Either that or the republican party we know today will either cease to exist or become a small fringe party as something more moderate rises to take it's place.

    by Phil In Denver 2008-06-16 10:00AM | 0 recs
    I am hoping you

    are correct.  That would make me happy.

    Having lived through the Reagan years, being so totally bummed and depressed and disconcerted at how many young people loved Reagan, I tend to be cynical.

    by Jjc2008 2008-06-16 11:20AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    A young person's political beliefs solidifies in the first three presidential elections he or three votes in. If a young person votes democratic the first three times, that person most likely becomes a life time democrat. Thus, if Obama becomes a successful president, young people voting today will vote to re-elect Obama in 2012 and for his vice-president in 2016. Thus, a successful Obama presidency will create a democratic majority for decades to come.

    by Zzyzzy 2008-06-16 10:12AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    I hope you are right because I voted:


    Guess they didn't get me for that third vote ;)

    by Sychotic1 2008-06-16 11:26AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    I think the three-strikes is not as likely to hold true as in the past.  This is one of those things that the information age we are entering will make much more elastic.  

    Also, I think the GOP will evolve over the next decade and stands a chance of being the kind of valid alternative that could sway voters deep into the coming Democratic reign, while the Democratic party will face the challenge of being the embedded party and fighting the problems that come with this.

    by chrisblask 2008-06-16 02:59PM | 0 recs
    Great diary

    I was 19 in 2000 and didn't vote (though I would have stupidly voted for Bush because I didn't know any better), but since then I've become a raving liberal, so I'm going to identify (incorrectly, I know) with the Millenials.  Anything to get away from the flannel of the 1990s!

    by ProgressiveDL 2008-06-16 10:45AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake
    really good analysis; im impressed. super impressed;

    by alyssa chaos 2008-06-16 10:51AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    This is an interesting analysis, but I find its optimism perhaps unwarranted. I have found myself thinking about cognitive biases a lot lately, and I suspect that this is occluded, if only somewhat, by the interaction of the optimism bias (the human tendency to overestimate the likelihood of desired events) and the observer-expectancy effect (the observer expects a certain even and unwittingly biases his or her experiment in its favor).

    Though I think there is validity to this sort of analysis, I also think that things like "American society" are not really static enough to be expected to fall into the same patterns over and over again going forward -- necessarily. Allowances must be made, for instance, for the fact that the US will soon and for the first time have no one ethnic group that constitutes a majority; for the fact that technology and the state of communications changes so rapidly that we may well see much more rapid "generational" turnover; for the simultaneous rise in areligiosity and evangelical feeling.

    I also think you are misinterpreting the meaning of the word "consensus". In your version of events, consensus is reached basically by stomping out right-wing viewpoints. I suppose that's one way to reach consensus, but it strikes me as an unlikely one. More likely, to me, is an age of moderation, in which left wing viewpoints are just as likely to be left at the door when the business of government is conducted as right wing ones. Whether you think that's a good thing is another question entirely.

    There's also the fact that this generational analysis leaves some people completely out of the equasion, or classifies us by oddly rigid standards that really don't make much sense. Where does GenX end and the Millenial generation begin? I, for instance, was born in 1980, and have come to think of myself as having been on the tail-end of GenX. But this analysis would seem to group me with the latter. Why? Is there any emperical evidencebehind this classification? Because, ultimately, people born in the early 80s are on the opposite side of the generational divide from people born just five or eight years later. We grew up without miniaturized computers, without the internet, in an era when network television was still the dominant medium for the communication of information. Those of us in our late 20s are already living in what we were trained as children to think of as "the future". It's hard not to be reactionary in that environment At least that's the sense I get. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, but no one's bothered to try, yet.

    Anyhow, I'm certainly not trying to belittle the amount of intellectual heavy-lifting that was obviously entailed in this piece. I'm just trying to introduce a note of caution.

    by Roy G Biv 2008-06-16 10:52AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    Though I think there is validity to this sort of analysis, I also think that things like "American society" are not really static enough to be expected to fall into the same patterns over and over again going forward -- necessarily.

    And yet Strause and Howe have shown that this is precisely what has occurred for the entirety of American history.

    In your version of events, consensus is reached basically by stomping out right-wing viewpoints. I suppose that's one way to reach consensus, but it strikes me as an unlikely one.

    The founding fathers called that the tyranny of the majority, and is part of the reason they established the Senate as a second body of congress. In spite of that, it is in fact what happenned during the era of the Great Depression, our last time of great calamity. There was hardly a dissenting voice to be heard, even in the Senate.

    There's also the fact that this generational analysis leaves some people completely out of the equasion, or classifies us by oddly rigid standards that really don't make much sense. Where does GenX end and the Millenial generation begin? I, for instance, was born in 1980, and have come to think of myself as having been on the tail-end of GenX. But this analysis would seem to group me with the latter. Why? Is there any emperical evidencebehind this classification?

    Yes, there is. It is the behavioral difference between the two generations which is quite stark and demonstrable through the polling data. Now, in fariness there is no period in recent history upon which exact generational delineation points are universally agreed upon.  It is always an estimated point. For example, I am either a tail end Boomer or a leading edge Gen-X depending on which sociologist one listens to. Adjudging from my view of the world and the upbringing I received, I consider myself a Gen-Xer, but to your point, there is little doubt that there is some subjectivity involved. I would not interpret that as leaving anyone out of the equation though, it just means some of us are a little harder to accurately position on the social timescale.

    by Phil In Denver 2008-06-16 11:19AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    And yet Strause and Howe have shown that this is precisely what has occurred for the entirety of American history.

    I haven't read the book in question, so I can't speak to whether or not I would find their demonstration convincing. That said, American history is relatively short and narrow. I would be less skeptical if the data set were broader. 400 years seems like a long time, but the great technological shocks of the last decade or so are not uniformly mirrored over those generational periods, either.

    In spite of that, it is in fact what happenned during the era of the Great Depression, our last time of great calamity. There was hardly a dissenting voice to be heard, even in the Senate.

    While the evidence you cite certainly indicates that trends toward consensus would seem to be heading in the direction of a liberal one, such things can easily go the other direction. Is the view that "great calamity" comes in four generational cycles? Because the question of correlation vs. causation would seem to be in play, as well.

    My sense -- completely intuitive -- is that crisis leads to consensus. This happened post-9/11, to the point that those (like me) who were left outside the consensus found ourselves with one of two options: to think ourselves insane, or to think our neighbors insane. A critical moment like 9/11 handled more aptly could easily lead to years of conservative government, is my guess.

    I would not interpret that as leaving anyone out of the equation though, it just means some of us are a little harder to accurately position on the social timescale.

    I would say this is correct, and it is also possible that those who miss one boat or another just don't number that highly. I guess my point is that this kind of analysis is a blunt instrument, to say the least, and while useful, it occasionally misses important nuances.

    by Roy G Biv 2008-06-16 11:43AM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    Sometimes we have to take a step or two back away to see the sense of an argument. When I do that, what I see is something quite intuitive. That being that as one set of lopsided priorities runs it's course it eventually goes from something workable to an extreme that no longer works well. Then there is a reaction to it, the pendulum swings back.

    From the time of FDR to the late 1960's, the culture absorbed all it could (at that time) of liberal philosophies. The pendulum swung to the right and gave us 40 years of conservative ideology. Now the pendulum is clearly swinging back. I think it's a natural rhythm.

    It's possible that things could go the other way, but in my view very unlikely. This culture has absorbed all it can of conservatism. We have hit a limit, there is no more room to absorb more. There is simply no evidence that there is any further tolerance for the ideologies that have run their course to the extreme point we find ourselves at today.

    The nation is wrecked and a clear majority sees that now. I don't see how anything else is possible at this point. Even if McCain wins the election, he will prove to be nothing more than the last dying gasp of a failed and obsolete ideology.

    by Phil In Denver 2008-06-16 12:43PM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    More likely, to me, is an age of moderation, in which left wing viewpoints are just as likely to be left at the door when the business of government is conducted as right wing ones.

    Good tuning.  The generational cycle is imho accurate in rough forms, what could be misread is that these cycles are specific repetitions of past dynamics.  I don't know that this is what the diarist was intending, but in either case I agree with your footnote.

    The Progressive majority will, if we are lucky, not satisfy the Boomer ideal of a progressive majority.  The current election cycle has done nothing to disabuse me of my notion that the Boomer stand on political negotiation tends towards the use of napalm.  Our country was specifically designed to provide for a forum conversation and modification of not only the opinions of others, but our own.  The Boomer generation has taken more of an inflexible absolutist attitude that doesn't lead to any consensus other than through a majority of parrots.

    The rejection of absolutism implicit in our constitutional structure may sometimes make our politics sem unprincipled.  But for most of our history it has encouraged the very proces of infromation gathering, analysis, and argument that allows us to make better, if not perfect, choices, not only about the means to our ends but also about the ends themselves.  Whether we are for or against affirmative action, for or against prayer in schools, we must test out our ideals, vision, and values agasint the realities of a common live, so that over time they may be refined, discarded, or replaced by new ideals, sharper visions, deeper values.  Indeed, it is that process, acording to Madison, that brought about the Consitution itself, through a convention in whicn "no man felt himself obliged to retain his opinions any longer than he was satisfied of their propriety and truth, and was open to the force of argument."

    Free mojo for the first person to spot the source of my plagiarism... ;-)


    by chrisblask 2008-06-16 11:47AM | 0 recs
    Re: Wow. This is really interesting.

    I've been looking for a book to read, I think I just found one.  Thanks for posting this.  

    by half nelson 2008-06-16 01:52PM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    As a member of the Boomer generation who has remained progressive while some of my generation voted for Republicans, your analysis is encouraging.

    As a parent who has raised two millenium children now coming of age, I'd say their generation is turning out the way we, as parents, intended.  It wasn't easy raising children through the Reagan-Bush years. All the more reason for those in Millenium generation to avoid criticizing the Boomers.  We are, after all, the ones who raised you to be what you are.  

    by Betsy McCall 2008-06-16 02:16PM | 0 recs
    Re: The Coming Democratic Earthquake

    i would feel better about this if i did not interact with many of your whatevers who cannot make change for a dollar and have as much perspective as an ant on a diet.

    people with grand schemes for political dominance see rove, karl, the permanent repug dynasty

    if bush had been a little smarter, it might have worked

    by blackflag 2008-06-16 02:52PM | 0 recs
    Whatever generation we are part of

    the same things were said about us during our youth. But humans all grow up, and eventually we end up moving and shaking the world anyway. As it ever was, so shall it ever be.

    by Phil In Denver 2008-06-16 03:18PM | 0 recs


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