My Lawn and an Unauthorized Person Upon It

My teenager and I were driving yesterday, and something on the radio about Chris “Toast” Christie triggered a discussion about politics and the 2016 presidential race. I realized with shock and horror that my kid will be eligible to vote in that election!

My consternation has nothing to do with HOW she’ll vote; she is intelligent with a capacity for empathy and abstract thought, so she’ll be a Democrat. No, the angst was due to the external confirmation that, having parented a soon-to-be full-fledged citizen, I am fucking old.

To distract myself from that distressing thought, I pounced on the opportunity to discuss a controversial issue with one person (my soon-to-be voter) and then extrapolate wildly…sort of like Tom Friedman, only without the first-class international flight to an exotic place and reimbursable taxi service.

I asked my daughter what she thought about the Democrats’ prospects for 2016. The only prospective candidate she’s heard of is Hillary Clinton, so I asked her how she would feel about voting for HRC.

Remembering how some of y’all have pooh-poohed HRC’s ability to draw in younger voters because of her age, I asked the kid if it matters to her that HRC is around the same age as her (the kid’s) grandmother.

She replied that while Clinton is certainly old, she’s “a boss,” which seems to mean formidable and impressive despite her decrepitude, so the kid has no reservations on that score.

And recalling how some here have expressed contempt for anything that smacks of identity politics, I asked the kid how important the prospect of a female president is to her.

She surprised me with the ferocity of her zeal to see a woman president. She perceives the men-only history of the presidency as a major injustice, as was the unbroken line of white males that preceded Mr. Obama. (That’s my girl.)

So what does it all mean? Nothing — it’s just one anec-data point. But if HRC does get the nomination, something I remain ambivalent about, maybe her candidacy won’t completely demoralize the yoots and fail to turn out young women. At least one soon-to-be young voter has an open mind about it.

We Democrats suck badly at branding in comparison to the Republicans, who have pulled off the impressive feat of convincing voters that they are the party of fiscal responsibility, national security, family values and small government, despite being wildly profligate, astoundingly reckless warmongering, whoremongering transvaginal probe-proponents who insist on policing private behavior between consenting adults.

The Democratic brand is less clear, for reasons that are both admirable (complexity) and contemptible (corporate sponsorship). Choosing a candidate solely on the basis of identity politics would be cynical and stupid. I’m not personally sold on HRC, and I’d certainly be willing to support a male candidate who better matches my values (which is why I chose Obama over Clinton in 2007).

But all things being equal, we shouldn’t dismiss the importance of breaking barriers. Contrary to wingnut gospel, identity politics wasn’t the core of Obama’s appeal, but it wasn’t wholly alien to it either, and we need not apologize for that. Identity politics isn’t everything, but it’s not nothing. It’s useful shorthand for conveying the Democratic value of inclusiveness. And that’s important.

PS: I realize some of y’all think it’s too soon to discuss 2016 and that we should focus on 2014 instead. I mostly agree, but this is topical, to me, at least. Feel free to skip this thread or talk about local races if you prefer.

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87 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    My daughter will be able to vote for the first time in the 2016 elections. Where has all the time gone?

    I have heard that when you get “old” you can only do one thing a day. That appears to be true, and the sad thing is that this post represents the one thing I will do today.

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    I think it’s cool to hear what your daughter thinks.

    Does she think she or her friends might ever run for office?

  3. 3
    slippytoad says:

    Contrary to wingnut gospel, identity politics wasn’t the core of Obama’s appeal

    I love informing wingnuts that I the Obama fanboi am a mid-40’s white male with a high income job. I voted for him because he was the smarter candidate, and the better candidate, and I respect him because I can tell he’s smarter than me. I did not believe the same of either Bush.

    Wingnuts are ruining their credibility with this Affirmative Action nonsense and by wasting everyone’s time with demonized, fictional arguments against Obama are not just running a risk, but actively blowing it by pretty much allowing him to have his own conversation with us, increasingly ignoring their input. His appearance on Fox News was a jab in the eye to remind them that they are no longer part of the conversation. I think the 2014 elections will bear this out.

    Edited to add: it is starting to seem as if a Hillary 2016 campaign and Presidency is all but inevitable. Not my choice, (I would love to see Elizabeth Warren go for it, and I think her agenda and popularity would be unstoppable), but the nuts have nobody who can really compete, are in a fog of disarray and tearing at each others’ throats. Clinton will have name recognition, support from recovering conservatives who can’t recognize the GOP anymore (I think all the Reagan Democrats may have come home by this point, don’cha?) and an opponent so silly as to be worthy of a Monty Python sketch.

    So, l am resigned to a Third Way presidency, hopefully the primary can push her to actually be somewhat of a liberal especially in contrast to what will surely be the most vile, misogynistic, contemptuous opposition in history. But, here’s hoping that there’s a surprise waiting in the landscape of the next 18 months. I’ll vote for her Presidency, but not her candidacy.

  4. 4
    Yatsuno says:

    Does this mean that you’re changing your mind about HRC running now? All the signs are there and she has not given a definite no. So I’m thinking it’s gonna happen.

  5. 5
    dan says:

    I feel badly that my just-now 18 year old daughter will not be able to vote for Obama, but I am happy that she may vote for a woman president.

  6. 6
    askew says:

    What’s not to love about Hillary? Who doesn’t love her ability to never take the lead on any issue? Once again, she waited until the Iran sanctions bill was completely dead in the Senate and the polling showed that it was unpopular to come out against it. I can’t wait to watch her be president while never taking the lead on any issue.

  7. 7
    Fair Economist says:

    Lucky mom and lucky daughter. I worry my son will grow up to be Republican.

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    Feel free to skip this thread or talk about local races if you prefer.

    My favorites around here are the blahs and the Latinos.

  9. 9
    jibeaux says:

    The thing is, if you’re 18, the age gap between Obama and HRC is nothing to you. You might not even realize it exists. Either of their ages are worlds away from 18.

  10. 10
    jonas says:

    I’ve seen Hillary speak to a college audience — she’s very good, very relaxed, humorous, energetic, and clearly the smartest person in the room. Kids loved it. Total neoliberal, triangulating centrist, but up next to a wingnut boob like Mike Huckabee or Rick Perry, she will drink their milkshakes and then some. I don’t think she has to worry about the youth vote — particularly since whoever the Republicans nominate will spend the race telling young people why this country can never have nice things again because it would hurt the fee-fees of rich people. Doesn’t go over well.

  11. 11
    beth says:

    My kid recently turned 18. I asked her what “adult” thing she wanted to do and she replied “register to vote”. I nearly bust a gut with pride. She can’t wait to vote for Hilary.

  12. 12
    max says:

    I asked the kid if it matters to her that HRC is around the same age as her (the kid’s) grandmother. She replied that while Clinton is certainly old, she’s “a boss,” which seems to mean formidable and impressive despite her decrepitude, so the kid has no reservations on that score.

    They always talk about stuff like that, but I’m not sure what the distinction is between someone the age of a person’s grandmother and a person a bit older than mom or dad. If we’re talking about the yoot, then they’re still OLD either way, ain’t they? Although apparently women aren’t supposed to get old or something.

    She perceives the men-only history of the presidency as a major injustice, as was the unbroken line of white males that preceded Mr. Obama.

    It’s the white ladies turn, and given that white ladies make up the largest component of the Democratic party base, that’s fine.

    I’m not personally sold on HRC, and I’d certainly be willing to support a male candidate who better matches my values (which is why I chose Obama over Clinton in 2007).

    See, I was in the same boat, but never wild about either Obama or Clinton the way some folks were (and apparently are). Am I going to get a candidate that is actually going to make good policy on most issues, or at least good policy on the big issues? Given the way the upper-echelons of the Democratic party seem to work, that is a no. So am I going to get a candidate that isn’t a Republican? Yes! So I’ll take that. (I have got no choice here.)

    It’s useful shorthand for conveying the Democratic value of inclusiveness. And that’s important.

    It’s definitely something and not nothing. Although within the Democratic party it seems like ‘being inclusive’ has turned things into a class issue instead of race & sex issue (that’s the Republican position!).

    max
    [‘It would be nice if she didn’t see Democratic support as a license to move as far right as she can go.’]

  13. 13
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Yatsuno: Yeah, I copped to my wrongitude about that awhile back.

  14. 14
    IowaOldLady says:

    @jibeaux: This is so sadly true!

  15. 15
    mdblanche says:

    @jibeaux: Paul Ryan was supposed to give the GOP youth appeal in 2012 because he’s in his early 40’s. There’s a word for people who look at Paul Ryan and think he comes off as young: old.

  16. 16
    Belafon says:

    @beth: My oldest was six months too young to vote for Obama, but when he moved to college in August, he registered to vote in Iowa (I’m in Texas). He’s ready to vote.

  17. 17
    Betty Cracker says:

    @jibeaux: That’s true. But I’m betting Obama came across as a youthful and vigorous contrast to McCain, even among the 18-25 set. If it looks like HRC will be unstoppable on the Dem side (and I don’t buy that she is — we’re a long way out!), the GOP might try to counter by putting up a whippersnapper like Paul Ryan. But it’s hard to imagine him pulling it off with any kind of credibility. His attempts to appeal to the yoots during the 2012 were pretty laughable, as I recall.

  18. 18
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Belafon: Ooh, if he’s here in early 2016, he can go to the caucuses! I’d never seen anything like it before we moved here. They actually count noses. None of that namby-pamby secret ballot stuff.

  19. 19
    hildebrand says:

    My son turned 18 last month, and is looking forward to the congressional elections. I asked him about 2016, and he is hoping that Elizabeth Warren will run. I told him it was unlikely. He muttered something about starting to send her regular emails encouraging her to reconsider.

    He also commented that if Ann Richards was still around he would vote for her in a heartbeat. (Being in Texas, we talk a great deal about missing Ann and Molly.)

  20. 20
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    I’m not personally sold on HRC, and I’d certainly be willing to support a male candidate who better matches my values (which is why I chose Obama over Clinton in 2007).

    But all things being equal, we shouldn’t dismiss the importance of breaking barriers.

    Even though I’m a female baby-boomer, I was never that sold on HRC, and was an early adopter for OHB in 2008. I’m still concerned about her. She is a bit too conventional in her thinking – see her reaction to the Arab Spring – and a little too elitist for me.

    That said, one of the first things my Korean-born (sorta) daughter-in-law said on becoming a citizen was, “Now I can vote for Hillary!”

  21. 21
    catclub says:

    @Betty Cracker: OTOH, Mitt Romney is looking like a good candidate for the upcoming field, but he is the same age as Hillary, so any age criticisms go out the door.

    On the other hand, I have stated that he ain’t running again anyway. Losing a to a black guy and then a girl would not make him a happy camper.

  22. 22
    IowaOldLady says:

    My DIL is in her mid-30s and was a big Hillary supporter in 2008.

  23. 23
    jharp says:

    “She surprised me with the ferocity of her zeal to see a woman president. She perceives the men-only history of the presidency as a major injustice, as was the unbroken line of white males that preceded Mr. Obama. (That’s my girl.)”

    Your daughter is exactly right.

    And while we’re at it let’s get the House and Senate closer to 50% men and 50% women. And with Hillary at the top of the ticket I like our chances.

    Can you hear me me Ashley Judd?

  24. 24
    feebog says:

    No, the angst was due to the external confirmation that, having parented a soon-to-be full-fledged citizen, I am fucking old.

    Ha. And Ha again. Wait until you start having the same conversation with your grandchildren, then you will realize you are old.

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    “She surprised me with the ferocity of her zeal to see a woman president. She perceives the men-only history of the presidency as a major injustice, as was the unbroken line of white males that preceded Mr. Obama. (That’s my girl.)”

    Yep, I’ve met quite a few people like that. I think her appeal as the first woman president is definitely a thing, especially compared with the ridiculous idiot that the GOP tried to foist on us a few years back because they thought it would win the woman vote.

  26. 26
    Yatsuno says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think I even commented on that thread. My brain is still a wee bit ungestuppt from the surgery and the whirlwind job offer/acceptance. So yeah, now I recall that. And if she’s the one and she’ll sweep like no one’s business (and prolly bring a ROCKIN’ Congress with her) I’m all about it.

    @jharp: I honestly think she could take out Aqua Buddha. And since Grimes is looking closer and closer to taking out Yertle, Kentucky could end up with two female Democratic Senators.

  27. 27
    kindness says:

    You all are funny. My daughter is 32 and I don’t feel old yet. Older but not yet old.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    Don’t any of you remember being young yourselves? Even when I was 18, I knew the difference between middle aged and old. My first Presidential election was in 1992, and I could definitely feel the age difference between Bush and Clinton.

  29. 29
    Served says:

    Based on Facebook, my cohort (mid-20s to mid-30s) are very much HRC fans, especially based her swagger as Secretary of State and since she left the post. Also, gay men love her.

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    Contrary to wingnut gospel, identity politics wasn’t the core of Obama’s appeal, but it wasn’t wholly alien to it either, and we need not apologize for that. Identity politics isn’t everything, but it’s not nothing.

    Identity politics is something because wingnuts have made it something, IMO. If black people hadn’t endured several hundred years of slavery, followed by a hundred years of segregation, followed by decades of less-blatant-but-still-very-real disenfranchisement that continues to this day, then it wouldn’t matter that the president was black. But white conservatives decided that it was important to keep them “in their place,” have expended vast amounts of energy to make sure that happens, and because of that, it’s a huge deal to finally have a black president. Obama’s election was a huge moment not because people preferred having a black guy to a white guy in the White House, but because it showed that it was now possible (allowed) for a black man to make it that far in society.

    Ditto Kennedy with the anti-Catholicism, ditto Hillary or whichever woman does finally make it with the sexism. Huge deal. If wingnuts choose to call it reverse-bigotry, well, fuck ’em.

  31. 31
    Fair Economist says:

    I think Hillary is a lot better than most people here seem to think. No, she’s not out in front; she’s definitely a go-with-the-current type; but I think that’s fine in a President. And one thing that inclines me to support her; there are a lot of real, genuine Hillary supporters who will be upset and disappointed if she gets squeezed out a second time. I remember a polite but fairly intense discussion with a woman I just ran into in a mall in 2008. She was older and overweight, and she wanted Hillary in 2008 because she’d waited all her life for a deserving woman to be President and didn’t think she’d make it 8 more years. (I was pro-Obama although I’d have been fine with Hillary). Assuming she’s still around, I would hate to ask her to wait another 8 years.

  32. 32
    patroclus says:

    Hillary’s okay, but personally I favor Al Franken. I suppose he’s got to win re-election first, but after that, maybe he’ll get ambitious. I think it’d be hilarious to have a comedian (er, satirist) as a President. I hereby proclaim next decade as the Al Franken decade.

  33. 33
    max says:

    @Roger Moore: Even when I was 18, I knew the difference between middle aged and old. My first Presidential election was in 1992, and I could definitely feel the age difference between Bush and Clinton.

    And when it was Reagan versus Mondale, I remember Mondale trying to make a big deal of the age difference, and I couldn’t see what the fucking distinction was. In my first presidential election in 1988, age didn’t enter into – Poppy would have been an idiot no matter how old he was, and let’s not get started on Dukakis.

    max
    [‘If the campaigning had been all about how Reagan had Alzheimer’s that might have been different.’]

  34. 34
    aimai says:

    @catclub: Women are always considered older than men of the same age so, no, criticism of Hillary for being “too old” will not dissapear even if they re-ran Walnuts McCain or Dead Corpse of Reagan.

  35. 35
    aimai says:

    Oh, and Betty, hope things are going well for you and your family. My oldest daughter turned 17 this year so will be able to vote next year. I’ve raised two yellow dog democrats and they are pretty savvy, too, so I look forward to learning from them politically as they age into being serious political actors and I, god willing, age out.

    As for the age thing I just don’t see that as an issue in the sense that to kids/young people you are used to people older than you running shit. I don’t think people do distinguish, pace Roger’s point upthread, between middle aged and old as much as they distinguish between fun-smart and drag-asshole. So if its a choice between an older Democrat and a younger Republican and the voter leans democratic I just don’t see that they somehow end up voting Republican because, look, Ryan’s younger than Clinton. Its just not relevant at that level. Maybe it plays in the primary but thats another story.

  36. 36
    rk says:

    My daughter will be eligible to vote for the first time. She totally does not care if a female should be president. The only thing which I do clearly get from her is that it’s not cool to be a republican, “nobody is a republican” are her exact words (and we live in a predominantly white republican district). She doesn’t know any kids who are republican. I find that odd and confusing. How is that possible ? Surely Republicans haven’t lost all the young people? Maybe she hangs out with a weirdly anomalous crowd.
    I’m not a fan of Hillary, but at this point in my life I blindly vote democrat all the way (I do hope that changes someday).

  37. 37
    Cacti says:

    @Fair Economist:

    there are a lot of real, genuine Hillary supporters who will be upset and disappointed if she gets squeezed out a second time.

    By “squeezed out” you mean if someone beats her fair and square for a second time?

    I’m really not okay with the idea that anyone has some patrician right to be the candidate for the Democratic Party.

  38. 38
    the Conster says:

    @askew:

    This. Ugh.

  39. 39
    Patrick says:

    @Fair Economist:

    there are a lot of real, genuine Hillary supporters who will be upset and disappointed if she gets squeezed out a second time.

    She lost fair and square. Heck, for awhile it even looked like the superdelegates was going to give her the election.

    I’ll vote for her as long as she promises not to invade other countries for some made up reason. Her Iraq vote was despicable.

  40. 40
    David says:

    This reminds me (sort of in reverse) of my mother, almost 80, living in Gainesville, FL (not too far from you, I guess) who really, really, really wants to see a woman president (HRC) in her lifetime. It’s just one data point, but I like to think there are lots of older women who think this way, and that Republicans won’t have the lock on the older vote that they have had in the past.

  41. 41
    Arclite says:

    It’s interesting that my daughter, at age 11, is very gender conscious. She laments the lack of female protagonists in media and video games, and always chooses the female character if there’s a choice, even if it limits her play style.

    It’s also amazing the she is also very pro-animal rights and anti-religion despite my lack of input or training on either. Is she getting this through osmosis, or is it a genetic thing?

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:

    Identity politics is something because wingnuts have made it something, IMO

    Identity politics is something because it’s the only thing holding the Republican party together. The whole complaint about the Democrats engaging in identity politics is the single biggest case of wingnut projection.

  43. 43
    Splitting Image says:

    There is a difference between chronological age and your age relative to the current zeitgeist. My first election was in 1993, when Jean Chretien was denounced as “yesterday’s man” by the much younger Kim Campbell and her party, and if Twitter had been around at the time, the Reform party and the Bloc Quebecois would have been trending on it. Chretien turned out to be the big winner in that election.

    If her opponent’s platform revolves around turning the clock back to a time before she was born, Clinton will do fine. In fact, her age might work to her benefit if it highlights how long it has been since the country looked the way the GOP wants it to.

  44. 44
    themis says:

    God I’m old. And uncool. I remember Mom coming into my bedroom at 12:01 on my 18th b-day and registering me to vote.

  45. 45
    Xantar says:

    I will say it over and over again until I’m blue in the face:

    It’s not all about Hillary. Certainly she’s very important, especially if she becomes President. But she isn’t even necessarily the most important component in the 2016 elections.

    It’s about Congress. If we get strong majorities in both houses, we get immigration reform. Probably carbon caps of some sort. Probably a raise to the federal minimum wage. Maybe even some relaxation of marijuana laws.

    And all that happens regardless of who the President is as long as she or he is a Democrat.

    Hillary Clinton? Elizabeth Warren? Martin O’Malley? Jennifer Granholm? I don’t even really care. Get strong Democratic majorities in Congress. All else will follow. Hillary’s value in this fight is how much she can bring people along on her coattails (and I acknowledge that she will likely have very long coattails).

  46. 46
    policomic says:

    Betty: Just dropped in to say thanks for a smart, nuanced take, on both identity politics as a factor, and HRC as a candidate.

  47. 47
    dr. luba says:

    @David: Mine, too. Mom is 81, and was pissed off that Obama got the nod because she felt it was time for a woman to be president. She’s gone from moderate Republican in her middle years to becoming a fairly radical Democrat in her old age.

  48. 48
    efgoldman says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    No, the angst was due to the external confirmation that, having parented a soon-to-be full-fledged citizen, I am fucking old.

    Oh, please. Get off my goddamned lawn, dammit.
    Wait’ll she graduates college…. and gets her grad degree…. and turns thirty!
    Then you might have a right to feel old.

  49. 49
    catclub says:

    @aimai: On first glance, yes. But on second glance “Oh, you mean Mitt is the same age, what’s the problem?”, it would go away. On third glance, Women live longer than men, so she should have more good years left, she noses into the lead.

    If it is Paul Ryan it will be a big deal. If it is Mitt, it will be something else they have to fixate on, like Mena, Arkansas.

  50. 50
    Chris says:

    @rk:

    I find that odd and confusing. How is that possible ? Surely Republicans haven’t lost all the young people? Maybe she hangs out with a weirdly anomalous crowd.

    I’ve never been in a place where there were no Republicans. But I wouldn’t underestimate the effect of…

    … well, put it like this: people my age grew up watching a Republican president spectacularly fuck up each and every aspect of his job in turn, from foreign policy to economics to the most basic fucking role of disaster relief for eight years straight, and then watched his party “reinvent” itself into something that spent the next eight years screaming at us that the economy we’d barely started moving into was all our fault, that we should blame ourselves and that the people who’d destroyed the economy were the real victims. (By the sound of it your daughter was probably too young to care about most of the Bush era, but either one of these is plenty enough in its own right).

    I expect to live at least another fifty years, and I honestly don’t think I’ll cast a single Republican vote in my life. The brand is utterly tainted beyond any possibility of retrieval. If it’s true that people’s political opinions are mostly set in stone by their mid-20s, then I expect the millennial generation will agree with me by a very big margin.

  51. 51
    catclub says:

    @Xantar: “Jennifer Granholm?” I loved her convention speech, although other said she was possibly drunk. Have I heard that she was born in Canada, so only in the picture when Arnold Schwarzenegger is?

  52. 52
    revrick says:

    The thing we need to remember is that most politics is tribal. Our first order of business should be to feed our tribe and do everything we can to crush the neo-Confederate tribe. Good policy will flow from that outcome. Hillary next, then a Castro brother, then a gay Native American. Feed the tribe!

  53. 53
    Trollhattan says:

    @catclub:

    IIRC she and Ted Cruz share that reality.

  54. 54
    MattF says:

    I think Hillary is the one Democrat who has a real, large constituency out there in reality. Given the crazy on the Republican side, it’s likely that a not-Hillary Democrat would win in 2016. But Hillary would crush any Republican, and in their hearts, Republicans know it. And, fwiw, I think that crushed Republicans is what this country needs.

  55. 55
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @catclub:

    OTOH, Mitt Romney is looking like a good candidate for the upcoming field, but he is the same age as Hillary, so any age criticisms go out the door.

    Mitt Romney is (a) a man, which insulates him from age criticisms to some degree, and (b) extremely well-preserved-looking for his age. I was surprised in 2012 when I found out he was 64.

    I would expect a double standard to be in full operation if he were to run against Hillary Clinton. I think there’s no way they’ll nominate him just because, in modern political parties, you get one losing run as the Presidential nominee and you have the loser stink; you’re out.

  56. 56
    Anne Laurie says:

    Betty, you raised a smart kid. It helps that she had a smart mother. :)

  57. 57
    shortstop says:

    @Roger Moore: Huh, I always picture you in your late 50s. But I thought Chris was approximately 21 and he swore today he’s 27, so it kinda balances out, I guess.

  58. 58
    Xantar says:

    @catclub:

    To be honest, I was just throwing in the name of a random Democratic governor.

  59. 59
    MattF says:

    @catclub: I don’t think Romney is in the running. He might return to some degree in order to promote a ‘moderate’ like Bush or Ryan. But reality here is that everyone outside of Republican reeducation camps thought he would be a weak candidate, that he was a weak candidate, and that if he runs again he would lose. Again.

  60. 60
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Chris: Well said, and from your lips to the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s orecchiette. I’ve been continuously astounded and disheartened by prior generations’ inability to see the Republicans for they are, but it’s harder to change an existing opinion than it is to form a first impression, and lord knows Bush the Lesser was a world-historical fuck-up.

  61. 61
    shortstop says:

    @Chris: Yes, and there is no politics that isn’t (on at least some level) identity politics. It’s just that people who are male, white, Christian and straight, or some lesser combination of those qualities, often don’t realize that their demographics inform their political choices, too. They see their demographics as America’s default settings. Only The Other practices this identity crap!

  62. 62
    IowaOldLady says:

    Mitt Romney has the charisma of a cabbage. He was a terrible candidate. I hope they run him.

  63. 63
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: His attempts to appeal to the yoots during the 2012 were pretty laughable, as I recall.

    Paul Ryan is an old person’s idea of a young person (and as I type that I realize I’m quoting somebody, but I can’t remember whom or in what context) part of the reason he’s so popular with the upper middle agers who dominate the Beltway. Just the sort of young man Bob Schieffer wishes his granddaughters would bring home at Thanksgiving.

    I find it hysterical that people are whispering about Willard making another run for it. The man barely beat back Gingrich and Santorum, fercrissake. I can’t remember if it was Arianna HuffPo or Josh Marshall who was trolling for hits with a post about Willard’s lead in “an important swing state”. New Hampshire, with its three electoral votes and it’s electorate that looks just like (Pat Buchanan’s idea of) America.

  64. 64
    Lyrebird says:

    Betty, thanks for sharing this data point, however solitary it might be! And I’m just adding this banal little comment to say that I was way too late on the other thread, but I’m sending thoughts & prayers to your parents & inlaws and such.

  65. 65

    She surprised me with the ferocity of her zeal to see a woman president.

    Mine is similarly positioned for the 2016 election, and her rad feminist streak is equalled only by her grandmother’s (GranFromOhio) who had to live through all that shit in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s.

    These young ladies are plenty sick and tired of old white men telling them Planned Parenthood is evil. The two-bit ratfuck soulless Republican criminals driving the country into the wall have no fucking clue what’s going to happen to them in the next forty years of elections because of the up-and-coming, highly connected and ruthlessly independent girls who are patiently waiting their turn.

    Best step aside.

  66. 66
    shortstop says:

    @IowaOldLady: I watched the Netflix documentary the other night and concluded, not for the first time, that Ann Romney is one of the most insufferable, entitled pains in the ass ever to ungrace our TV/computer screens. In virtually every scene in which she appeared, she wore an expression of barely suppressed fury. She simply could not believe the hoops they were being asked to jump through before fulfilling their “destiny” of leading the ungrateful unwashed.

    Romney won’t run again, but I kind of wish he would just so I could enjoy Ann’s hilarious lack of graciousness. I would so love to play poker with her.

  67. 67
    kindness says:

    @IowaOldLady: I hope they run his car elevator.

  68. 68
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @patroclus:

    Maybe Hillary could put him on the ticket.

    Can you imagine the Veep debate?

  69. 69
    IowaOldLady says:

    @shortstop: I swear I remember his campaign talking about Ann as his “secret weapon” who’d charm everyone. She was stunningly unlikeable.

  70. 70
    Turgidson says:

    @Chris:

    I think this is right, but not quite as airtight as it should be. I have friends and family who are recent college grads, or rising college grads, and their job prospects are meager. To an extent that surprised me, they attribute their plight to the “Obama economy.” This isn’t surprising given that he’s been in charge for the last fifth of their lives, but distressing given that it wasn’t that long ago that Bush nuked the economy on his way out, and not exactly a deep dark secret that the GOP is relentlessly undermining Obama’s attempts to improve things.

    By and large, these people are repulsed by the GOP’s regressive social issue stances and shameless brown-nosing of the rich, but they are disillusioned enough with the Democrats that they could be reeled in by a sane GOPer who can convince them that he’s not a social neanderthal and that his brand of economic snake oil is just what they need to get their careers moving. Fortunately for us, the GOP base won’t allow such a candidate anywhere near the presidential nomination any time soon.

    We need to follow Obama with another Dem and give that Dem a sane Congress so that we can knock off this austerity/governing by crisis bullshit for a while and some of the seeds Obama planted can finally bloom. That would get today’s and tomorrow’s young voters into the D column for posterity, I think. That’s a heavy lift, but should be possible. If Hillary’s the strongest nominee as far as coattails, that’d be great.

  71. 71
    Anne Laurie says:

    @IowaOldLady: Well, she’s been living in the Romney compound since she was 16 years old. When Mitt decided she was his Kolub-destined spouse, her parents allowed her to move into the Romney home ‘in preparation’ for her religious conversion/eventual marriage. She was quite literally molded into the Perfect Upper-Class Mormon Wife — of course the Romney family presumes that, as the Perfect Female Avatar of the Perfect Aspirational American Family, what’s not to adore?

  72. 72
    Trollhattan says:

    @IowaOldLady:

    Yes, bless her purported heart. I envision Willard “Mitt’s” anouncement video opening with smoke clearing to reveal elevator doors amidst a cluster of Escalades, then pencil beams spotlighting Lady Ann emerging from the elevator, astride Rafalca and wearing that nutty bird print outfit. Willard leads Rafalca via a bejeweled rein. Everyone looks just super.

    “By the sword of Moroni I declare my candidacy for the presidency of Kolob, whoops, the United States of Money, I mean, America. To victory! Now, chums, please inform me as to who has issued forth the canines? Woof.”

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @IowaOldLady:

    I swear I remember his campaign talking about Ann as his “secret weapon” who’d charm everyone.

    Obviously a sign that she didn’t pay enough attention in Flitwick’s class.

  74. 74
    Trollhattan says:

    @patroclus:

    I’d be all in favor of a second Al Franken decade because the first one started so very poorly and contained an eight-year Reagan shite sandwich.

  75. 75
    StringOnAStick says:

    My experience is that the yoots are trending liberal, period. I work in a situation that puts me in contact with students at a small, elite engineering university. My experience 20 years ago when I worked in consulting engineering was the engineers were 95% republicans; this is not at all what I see in these students. Sure, the mining engineering students (a small group) are conservative, but the ones who are grad and undergrad students in biochem, chem eng, physics, even nuclear fuels engineering skew liberal. Even though the current student mix is 70% for some petroleum-related degree, even a third of them give me liberal comments, and that field is notoriously wingnutty.

    I think a lot of this is because these students are largely from middle class backgrounds, and they are smart enough to see what has happened to the middle class as they grew up. They see the huge cost of their college education at a school that pretty much guarantees them a great job, but they know it will still be years before they pay off their student loans. The economy’s been weak since the crash of 2008, and being smart kids, they know who was responsible, plus that all happened just as they were getting old enough to pay attention and to choose careers in the face of poor employment conditions that still aren’t great. That’s why constructs like the 99% work with them; they know where they will be positioned in the pack even after struggling through a very difficult school with an extremely high graduate placement rate.

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    shortstop says:

    @Trollhattan: That was delicious.

    @StringOnAStick: And that was heartening.

  77. 77
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @IowaOldLady: They also thought Clint Eastwood, whatever he said, was going to change the whole dynamic of the campaign. With the best written and prepared speech, it never would have been much beyond a curiosity. IMHO.

  78. 78
    mclaren says:

    Hillary Clinton remains corrupt and a warmonger, but the fact that she’s a woman qualifies as a big plus.

    In addition to which, the Republicans will obviously run someone batshit insane in 2016, so what’s the alternative if Elizabeth Warren doesn’t run? Like I’m supposed to vote for Huckabee? Or Ted Cruz?

    Puh-lease.

  79. 79
    Chris says:

    @Turgidson:

    Key word there is “Congress,” and more generally a party infrastructure that endures beyond individual candidates. The Republicans spent the entire seventies and eighties working on theirs, which did at least as much to create a conservative consensus as Nixon and Reagan’s elections.

  80. 80
    rk says:

    @Chris:

    I am strongly anti republican so that has of course influenced her. But having said that she has tried to go out of her way to understand the republican viewpoint, but many times ends up saying that she cannot support them as they just come across as mean. In a way it’s really good that the awful economic policies of republicans are linked to their horrible social policies. We’d be royally screwed if they became more socially tolerant, but kept their disastrous economic agenda.

  81. 81
    BethanyAnne says:

    @Xantar: And, as premature as it is to think of 2016, that’s why I want someone who could run in 2020. That year is a redistricting year, so that really matters.

  82. 82
    Chris says:

    @rk:

    Pretty much. Another revelation for me growing up was that talking to Republican after Republican and finding out that no, there really aren’t any “reasonable” ones left; they’re invariably racist, sexist, fundamentalist, classist or some combination of the above. In a truly nasty, vindictive kind of way.

    Which makes sense when you consider that they’ve spent the last fifty years carefully cultivating a base by appealing to the worst of human nature.

  83. 83
    Mary Brown says:

    I very much like the way your daughter thinks. Good job raising her to be an empathetic, thinking person. Maybe she’ll run one of these days.

  84. 84
    brantl says:

    How much branding does it take to convince knucklewalkers? Seriously, I mean seriously.

  85. 85
    brantl says:

    @hildebrand: I’m nor in Texas, and I SERIOUSLY miss Ann and Molly.

  86. 86
    Nathanael says:

    I have wanted a woman to be elected President since I was able to think.
    And so do a lot of other people born after, say, 1960.

    If Democrats run any reasonable woman candidate, including Hillary Clinton, she will win in a cakewalk. The worrisome Presidential election is 2020, after people have actually seen what sort of a President she is. I hope she’s better than I fear she is.

  87. 87
    hitchhiker says:

    In WA you can vote in the caucus to choose a primary winner if you’ll be old enough to vote in the general.

    Which is how it happened that my mr. hitchhiker and I shared a caucus table with our 17-yr-old high school senior in the spring of 2008, and failed to convince her (or her many cohorts) that HRC would be a good president. She helped Obama win the WA primary. I did not, but I was more than happy to vote for him that fall.

    Since then she’s graduated from college and spent the last 18 months working with victims of domestic violence . . . I haven’t talked with her about this, but I think she’d say today that ANY D is better than an R, and that a FEMALE D is far, far better than an R, and that she’d be a glad supporter of Hillary, as would her dad and I.

    Her whole dorm ran for the streets the night Obama was elected; I want to think it will happen again in 2016.

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