Young and Old Usually Think Happily
As the days and hours to next Tuesday’s election drag by, most of us are in agony over the uncertainty. There can be no doubt that this really is the most important election of all our lifetimes – all hyperbole aside.
If Trump’s ability to divide and conquer prevails, to his credit he will have been successful as one man versus 317 odd million people who never could have dreamt his wild dream, any more than 60 million people in Germany in 1932 could have dreamt Hitler’s comparable dream – leaving all guns aside.
We grumble about our Constitutional system having gone awry. We worry that too many of Hillary’s ‘deplorable’ enemies have bonded against a significant majority of Americans in what it really is to be an American.
Anticipating this election with all the distortions of our current election system – voter suppression, gerrymandering, and ongoing efforts to use social media as a weapon, to name a few – there are legitimate reasons to be fearful.
But, there is one BIG glimmer of hope peeking over the obscure horizon.
Obviously the future means more to the young; they will have to live with it longer than us oldies. But we do share a bond with them in protecting our so-called golden years.
The news happily may be that we will help each other.
Young people under 29 have traditionally been weak voters particularly in non-presidential years. Fewer than 20 percent of eligible voters under 30 cast ballots in the 2014 mid-term election, and historically runs about 38 points below the participation of those 60 and older, according to the U.S. Elections Project. At the moment a very recent poll suggests that they are planning to come out in droves way larger than ever before, with 51% saying they will “definitely” vote. And while far fewer ultimately do cast ballots, the increase in enthusiasm has a direct increase on turnout.
And a similar movement appears to be underway for people over 70, with even more seniors saying they “definitely” plan to vote than made similar claims in the 2016 Presidential election. The combination of the two groups strongly suggests in close races that they may produce 3-5% additional democratic votes, which could result in a young/old undertow that might be a big surprise for Trump next Tuesday.
The angst between now and then will persist – hopefully productively before midnight.