Thursday, November 09, 2006

More On Schwarzenegger

I'm in the middle of a data collection run right now so I figured I'd brainstorm some reasons why the only age group to go for Angelides was young people (according to CNN exit polls). I'd like really like to see a real study on this, but from my conversations with people around my age is that they thought it was a joke to have this guy as our governor. I think I'll call that the Jon Stewart effect.

I can't overemphasize the fact that most people I talked to feel rather embarassed that Californis chose this guy the first time. I think young people are more skeptical and cynical and didn't necessarily fall for the love fest media coverage of Schwarzenegger's entourage the press corps. Also, young people are more likely to get their information from the web from multiple sources and less suceptible to overly choreographed TV coverage.

Perhaps its the fact that young people are less likely to believe claims of GOP bipartisanship. Few of the young people I talked to have forgotten about Schwarzenegger's about face between 2004-2005 when he was an uber Grover Norquist conservative, rude to Democrats and definitely not into that whole bipartisanship thing if it didn't suit his needs. When I got to ask Schwarzenegger a question on TV, it was about his use of terms like "girlie men" and "stooges" in describing his critics. I didn't forget those days and most of the people I encountered remembered those days as well.

The other thing, and something I frequently mention, is that younger people are just aligning more and more toward Democrats with little interest in voting Republican. For most of our lives, and definitely most of our politically conscious lives, the Republican Party has been corrupt, heartless, hypocritical and overly partisan. Most of us have rejected that whole-sail and want nothing more of it. If this is true, the legacy of Rove, Gingrich and company is that they have created a generation of staunch Democratic partisans. Rove's long term GOP majority probably won't ever come to fruition. With younger people showing signs they are interested in flexing their political muscle, it's likely that Rove's strategy will usher in a long term Democratic majority. (Thanks, Karl "the math" Rove!)

The other thing to consider is the fact that young people are just more progressive by nature. If you look at the exit poll for Prop. 85, young people voted it down 3 to 1, a significantly higher percentage than other age groups. To me, at least, Angelides had a much stronger commitment to progressive ideals. He was a national leader on divestment from Darfur, a cause being fought for by young people across the country.

And then there are, perhaps, people like me. I just took a Zogby poll that had a list of reasons why I voted for Angelides. There are many, but one that's become increasingly important to me is the screwing of my generation through incessant borrowing of money. That is, Angelides wasn't reliant on borrowing money to pay todays bills so that he could be popular. He knew the right thing to do even if it wasn't popular and forcefully argued for it, perhaps to his downfall. Angelides was less willing to give my generation the finger as Bush and Schwarzenegger have done with their borrowing frenzy. I think Democrats need to be a little more sensitive to that to hold on to my votes, and probably many others.

Whatever the reasons, young California Democrats once again got their peers to vote Democratic. Two years in a row. That usually means a bunch of young people are going to be voting strongly Democratic for quite some time.


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