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There has been so much wrong in our past few election cycles, but for the craziness and seeming unpredictability, my crystal ball of experience, data, and common sense has resulted in predictions that have turned out to be pretty damned right. Which is why it doesn’t bother me when people laugh at them. And they have laughed - until they didn’t.
When I was asked in 2015 how long Trump would be around and I said, “for as long as he wants,” they laughed. They stopped laughing about six years ago.
When I said prior to Joe Biden announcing his 2020 run for President that he would not only get the nomination but win the presidency, they laughed. Who’s laughing now, Mr. President?
When I said in early 2022 that Democrats would hold the Senate and had a chance to keep the House, I had them rolling in the aisles. We saw how that turned out.
So when I tell you that the Trump-driven MAGA Republican Party has already lost the youngest generation of voters for the rest of Gen Z’s lives, you might want to hold the laughter.
I saw something very similar in the late 1970s as Jimmy Carter and the Democrats started to see younger voters respond to Ronald Reagan and the “Reagan Revolution”.
Headlines back then were blaring “Reagan’s Youth Movement” in the Washington Post and “GOP Makes Reagan Lure of Young a Long-Term asset” in the New York Times.
The Post reported it this way, “The oldest president in American history has fathered a youth movement in the Grand Old Party.” the Times wrote, “Whoever wins the 1988 Presidential election, the Republican Party has made major strides in this election year and in the previous seven years, not only holding but expanding its advantage among young people, largely because of the appeal that Ronald Reagan, the nation's oldest President, holds for the young.”
People today might remember Pepsi’s “Choice of a New Generation,” which began running about the same time in 1984. But in politics, the Reagan-led GOP was becoming the choice of a new generation just as that generation was registering and voting for the first time in their lives. It’s what led to the Republican Party gaining parity with Democrats in party registration by the end of the 1980s.
The oldest President, at that time, in American history had garnered more than 60% of the youth vote and cemented many of that generation into the GOP’s base for the rest of their lives. Many of them now wear MAGA hats and proclaim fealty to Donald Trump in a GOP that would now view Reagan as a RINO. But that’s me wandering down another tangent. Back to the point.
We don’t have many swing voters anymore. We are polarized and people tend to vote for the party they registered with at a young age.
So the House of Mirrors? Look in the mirror, and instead of Jimmy Carter, you see Donald Trump. And damn, that’s not fair to Jimmy Carter to even be in the same sentence with the Orange one. Instead of Ronald Reagan, now the oldest president in our history is Joe Biden. And instead of the GOP winning more than 60% of the next generation, it’s Democrats in 2022 winning in excess of 60% of Gen Z voters.
In 2022, the GOP won the over-40 age group by 10 points. Those under 40? Democrats won them by 18 points. The youngest segment of that group, those born beginning in 2000, could very well emerge as our next “Greatest Generation.” And they would deserve the mantel because it's likely Gen Z will save our country’s democracy and, with it, our future. Democrats will need to continue to earn their trust and support, but there is one thing of which I am certain: the GOP, as it follows its Trump-MAGA base of election deniers, and worse, will never be the choice of Gen Z. They have already lost them forever. I am sure there will be more laughter, but after 40 years, I call it like I see it.
The guy to listen to on this is John Della Volpe, the Director of Polling at Harvard’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics and author of a book I highly recommend, “Fight: How Gen Z is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America.”
And you can listen to our conversation with John on the episode aptly titled, “Republicans are the verge of losing this generation forever” on my “That Trippi Show” Podcast.
In a lot of ways, the reasons why the MAGA cult party is losing Gen Z come down to values. John makes the point that Gen Z’s relationship with our politics is totally different than older generations. The big moments that they remember are times when those in power stand up to protect the vulnerable or marginalized. Think Obama lighting up the White House in rainbow colors after codifying protections for gay marriage. Democrats won Gen Z in large part due to the fact that they see Democrats as protecting everyone’s rights, not just their own. And these values are anathema to the MAGA cult party.
Resolute Square is lucky to have a weekly contributor, Victor Shi, who is a Gen Z leader and activist. Victor is the Strategy Director for Voters of Tomorrow, a Gen Z organization making a huge impact on youth mobilization. He also has a podcast, a YouTube video podcast. In his spare time, he’s a full-time student at UCLA.
Victor is emblematic of his generation. Issues like climate change and gun violence have instilled in this youngest generation of voters a sense of urgency in their efforts to make a positive impact. Gen Z isn’t wasting time in general but is most assuredly not wasting its time in the GOP. So, I’ll leave them laughing with this confident prediction: Republicans have already lost the future.