Dynamist Blog

Optimism, the GOP, & the Generation Gap

Glenn Reynolds writes, "Arnold's speech evoked optimism, and enthusiasm for America and for the common man, in a way that -- once -- was associated with liberalism but that has now become a hallmark of the Republicans." Alas, Glenn is about 15 years out of date. Arnold's speech evoked the Republican Party, and the California, of the 1980s. (Remember when immigrants were considered a good thing--a sign that America had something wonderful to offer the world?) Hearing it on the radio, as I drove around L.A., I was greatly nostalgic for both.

Watching this election season on the blogs, I'm struck by the generation gap among people who hold basically the same political views--say, Dan Drezner and me. Children of the 1970s, like Glenn and me, may not exactly be Republican partisans but we don't trust Democrats, especially those from the liberal wing of the party, with national security or the economy. Youngsters like Dan are less cynical, or more naive (take your pick), about the Dems and more likely to vote on social issues. This isn't simply a matter of priorities. It's also a product of associations and culture: What personalities and issues define the parties in your mind?

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