Rather Than Scold Millennials for Not Supporting Hillary Clinton ‘Enough,’ Democrats Should ListenWithout the threat of Donald Trump to blackmail young voters into choosing Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party leaders "will either need to embrace a platform significantly to the left of their current orthodoxy, or they will lose," argues writer Emmett Rensin.
Without the threat of Donald Trump to blackmail young voters into choosing Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party leaders “will either need to embrace a platform significantly to the left of their current orthodoxy, or they will lose,” argues writer Emmett Rensin.
Here is my own wild take on why millennials don’t support Clinton “enough”: Many younger American voters, perhaps a sufficient number of them to seriously imperil Clinton’s chances, have significant ideological differences with the candidate. That’s my theory. Many liberal pundits seem unimpressed by this idea perhaps because it suggests that votes must be earned in a democracy, but it does have the benefit of the evidence. … The liberal punditry might be forgiven for underestimating the depth and seriousness of these differences had these young people not voted overwhelmingly and across all other demographic lines for a different candidate. The Clinton campaign might be forgiven for imagining these voters would “come home” had it not spent the weeks since the Democratic Convention fundraising and playing Bush administration endorsement bingo. The trouble is not that young people are insufficiently familiar with the neoconservative horror show of their own childhoods. The trouble is that the candidate they are meant to support does not appear to find that show particularly horrifying.
I would like to suggest that the threat these young voters pose to technocratic liberalism is not the possibility of electing Donald Trump. Despite Clinton’s flagging numbers, her chances of success remain high. Rather, the fear is that if younger voters really are committed to a host of ideological positions at odds with the mainstream of the Democratic Party, then that Party, without a Trump-sized cudgel, is doomed. It should not escape anybody’s notice that politics by negative definition—the argument, at bottom, that “we’re better than those guys”—has become the dominant electoral strategy of the Democratic Party, and that despite the escalation of the “those guys” negatives, the mere promise to be preferable has yielded diminishing returns. … There are only so many times one can insist that young voters capitulate to a political party’s sole demand—vote for us!—in exchange for nothing.
Perhaps the theory that political choices meaningfully reflect political preferences can help us here, as well. Many older people, including liberals, tend to be more conservative than younger voters. These ideological preferences are real, and we should take them as seriously as they should take the preferences of millennials. These older liberals would like their vision of society to prevail. They would like to win. It is therefore in their interests to discredit and defeat opponents of that vision, be they reactionary nativists or young anti-capitalists. One way to defeat them is to use their positions as public commentators in order to attack those opponents, to call them confused and unserious and dangerous. And so they have.
— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata
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