Aging & Elections

Analysis of the Brexit vote highlight the complaints made by many “remain” voters:  A good chunk of the “leave” voters wouldn’t live long enough to see the results.  There’s some questions on methodology on this, but by and large, between a six month change in demographics and some changes in the UK’s voter eligibility laws, if Brexit were held today, odds say that it wouldn’t pass.

This is important to Democratic-leaning voters in the US, because the same trends apply here.  Unless the GOP changes its message to appeal to younger voters, it’s staring at a demographic cliff similar to the one we’re seeing with Brexit voters, who, in the words of one pundit, should have their gravestones and funeral urns cast in the shape of a fist with a raised middle finger.

For most of the Obama Administration, the consensus was that roughly every 4 years, the demographic imbalance shifted towards Democrats by about 2 to 2.5 million per year – there’d be about 2 million million more new voters who’d vote Democratic as they reached the age of 18, and about 0.4 to 0.5 million new voters who’d vote Republican.  There would be about 1.3 million Republican deaths and about 0.2 million Democratic deaths, because the Republican Party’s voter median (most common) age was in the low 60s.

Net balance is about 2 million to 2.5 million more Democrats every four years, with the Republicans spread out from the suburbs and further rural.  Note that Clinton’s lead in the general election vote count is approaching 2.9 million, or a 2% margin over Trump.  Now, our method of selecting a President is 50 state elections, rather than a nationwide popular vote count; it’s meant to keep small population states politically relevant, so unless something bizarre happens in the next week, Trump will probably be voted in by the Electoral College.

However, this does show something important:  Clinton was a divisive figure in her own party.  Ignore the hacked emails for a moment, and think back to the Bernie or Bust voters.  The constant tar-and-feather brigade trying to pin any kind of scandal on Clinton left suburban voters going “I don’t like Trump, but I can’t stand her…” and choosing, what to them, seemed the lesser of two evils.

Yes, some of this was because she was a woman.  More of it was because she’s been in the public spotlight as First Lady and Secretary of State for two decades, and has survived a lot of ‘political close scrapes’.  To the DNC, it was her turn, and this was supposed to be a coronation, not a referendum on how Progressive the Democratic party was to be.

However, in spite of this loss, demographics are still on the Democrat’s side.  The DNC needs to foster more young talent; to go with their younger demographics.

 

Going forward, the DNC has to figure out what it’s going to do with the young voters who turned out for Bernie.  It would help if a lot of them decided to move to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin and founded companies, turned profits and employed people.  (Or demanded that the local schools turn out employable people.)

The GOP is dying; it doesn’t look like that yet because of Trumpism.  The real question is how much damage can it do as it goes down.