Bob Beckel argues that demographics favor Obama. He reels off statistics about how many more blacks, young people 18-34, and hispanics there are in key swing states, compared to the Bush margin of victory in 2004. Then he (like Matt Damon) recalls actuarial tables to show that older white Republicans are dying off. His argument is that enough of these groups will vote (and all for Obama, apparently?!)to put states like Virginia, Ohio, Colorado and others in Obama’s column on Nov. 4. Beckel is a cynical apostle of the politics of division along race, gender, age, and ethnic lines.
However, Beckel forgets that all those demographic groups are now 4 and 8 years older than in 2000 and 2004. And we know that as people age they tend to become more invested in society, more conservative, and more likely to vote Republican. In addition, the aging baby boomers are the largest cohort in the polupation, and are voting more Republican as they age. Their parents are living longer too, and also more prone to vote Republican.
Further, despite all the hype about the youth vote for Obama, it has been demonstrated in election after election that those under 35 just do not vote in anywhere the percentage numbers that older voters do. I recall in 1972, when the media was certain that the masses of excited young people would turn out and elect McGovern. Let’s see, I think that election was 61-39%! We hear this every election, and despite all the efforts of rap artists, movie stars, and MTV’s “Rock the Vote for Democrats“, young people don’t turn out, not for Gore, not for Kerry. They have, shall we say, other priorities.