kimberkit: (Default)
The Washington Post recently ran a story that was slightly obstinate in tone, debunking "post election myths."

One of the myths it talked about was the idea that voter turnout didn't change much amongst youths; in 2004, young voters (ages 18-24) were 17% of the electorate and in 2008, this year, young voters were 18% of total voters. After a lengthy conversation with Jon, though, I'm pretty convinced that those are deceptive numbers.

We are an aging population; the Census says that the median age from 1990 to 2000 went from 32.9 to 35.3. Proportionately, there are less youth amongst us. So unlike what the Post contends, it's not fair to say that youth didn't turn out in greater numbers; they almost certainly did, actually. They were merely outnumbered by the fact that there are MORE older people than there used to be.

From 1990 to 2000, the proportion of people aged 50-54 (who are now 58-62) grew 55%, and people aged 45-49 (now aged 53 to 57) grew 45%. That is a lot of growth amongst the older generation. While people who would now be young adults (10-14 then are now conveniently aged 18-23) did actually increase their numbers by 20%, that wasn't enough for young voters to have a better voice, when outweighed by the enormous growing number of older people.

Alas.
kimberkit: (Default)
It's a weird thing, living in a 2-party country. As [livejournal.com profile] cosmicbabe says, "moderate" often means "wishy washy." I suspect that's because during election years, we tend to pick issues that really hit people's hot-emotional buttons. Everyone has an opinion on abortion and gun control and taxes, and if you try to see both sides, you're hit by waves of yelling on either side. And it takes some time to try to read multiple points of view, from different newspapers, and lots of effort, so most people lean in one direction and keep quiet when more extreme views come up.

Paul Krugman, in his op-ed today, wrote that Republicans were trying to sway the country through the politics of anger/resentment: "the other side looks down on us." That particular editorial made me cranky, because, well...

The other side does look down on you. Both sides look down on each other, in fact.

A few emails ago, I got a note from the Obama website going, "why would Republicans spend their whole night attacking ordinary people?"

That's just as irritating as when the Republicans say, "the Democrats are sexist hypocrites who claim the working class only clings to religion and guns because it's easy."

The politics of resentment is part of the way politics in this country work year-round, day-in, day-out. Two parties mean that you end up with polarizing opinions. It would be nice if there were more articulate wishy-washy people who pointed out, "well, that's sort of right, but not really."

If you only want to see an angry right or an angry left, that's what you'll get. If instead you try to focus on the moderate right and moderate left, and stay focused on issues that can actually be compromised on, you'll end up with a much happier middle. And most of America is in the middle; we're just quieter about it.

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