Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bipartisanship and Millennials

Eric Greenberg, the author of Generation We, took a look at Obama's attempt of bipartisanship on the Stimulus Bill...

Obama is not going to be a pushover for the Republicans, as his blunt "I won" in response to some of the Republicans' more extreme demands in last week's meeting about the stimulus package demonstrated. But those who want Obama to declare open warfare against the right are missing the point. Obama's conciliatory moves--from selecting Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of California's Saddleback Church, to deliver the invocation at the inauguration to bending over backward to entertain conservative complaints about details of the stimulus bill--don't indicate weakness or uncertainty on his part. Instead, they reflect his consistent desire to position himself as the first political voice representing post-partisan America.

Like so much of what Obama has done, this strategy has its roots in generational change. In all of his political choices, Obama has his eyes on 95 million young Americans currently aged 9 to 30--the Millennials. The largest generation in history (more numerous even than the Baby Boomers), they played a major role in Obama's election, favoring him by fully two-thirds (66 percent), as compared with the 54 percent majority carried by John Kerry four years earlier. Out of 23 million Millennial votes cast, this produced a seven million vote plurality for Obama--virtually the same as Obama's overall margin of victory.

And as we discovered when we researched the values and attitudes of the Millennials for our book Generation We, for today's youth, the culture wars are over. The Millennials are more accepting of gender equality, gay rights, racial blending, immigration, and divergent political views than any other generation. This is true even of Millennials who consider themselves evangelical Christians (twenty percent of the young people we surveyed--or about 19 million nationwide). [...]

Our guess is that today's young people overwhelmingly like seeing their president extending a hand of cooperation to politicians across the aisle. And if the conservatives respond by biting it off, they will only further discredit themselves in the eyes of tomorrow's biggest and most powerful political bloc--and further solidify the Millennials' attachment to the Obama coalition.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Pres. Obama has repeatedly stated he is willing to give Republican's the chance to have their voices heard. What he hasn't said is that having heard their opinions, he will necessarily go along with their ideas. The Republicans either don't understand the difference, or are deliberatly trying to exploit the situation.