The Corner

Politics & Policy

Conservatives and Kids These Days

Ben Shapiro and Kristen Soltis Anderson have written essays for the Weekly Standard about what conservatives should do to bring young people into the fold. Both are smart and stimulating, as you’d expect. I agree with some of what they have to say and disagree with some of it. But what strikes me as more important is a blind spot in their analyses.

When thinking about why young people are so much less likely to vote Republican than their elders are, we can dwell on differing views of marijuana, same-sex marriage, and President Trump, or question whether conservative attitudes toward Millennials have been self-defeating. Those are all things worth thinking about. But by far the biggest reason for the generation gap is that young people are a lot less likely to be white than their elders.

According to the States of Change project, today’s senior citizens are 22 percent nonwhite. Millennials are 44 percent nonwhite. Those facts alone would lead you to predict a sizable difference in voting behavior.

It has long seemed to me that the public discussion of voting and demographics has overemphasized categories of age and sex at the expense of variables that make a bigger difference in voting behavior, such as race, religion (both affiliation and frequency of attendance), and marital status. And we don’t pay enough attention to how these categories are related.

I’m more than open to changing the Republican position on marijuana, and I agree that there’s a these-lazy-kids strain to conservative rhetoric that’s predictably unhelpful in appealing to young voters. But they can change their approach on these subjects as much as they want — if Republicans don’t do better among nonwhites, they’re going to continue to wonder why they’re not doing better among young people.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Science & Tech

About That Scary Hydroxychloroquine Study

Remember that scary hydroxychloroquine study in The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine that everyone in the media was writing about a few weeks ago? It turns out that the underlying data were likely fake: A Guardian investigation can reveal the US-based company Surgisphere, whose handful of employees ... Read More
Science & Tech

About That Scary Hydroxychloroquine Study

Remember that scary hydroxychloroquine study in The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine that everyone in the media was writing about a few weeks ago? It turns out that the underlying data were likely fake: A Guardian investigation can reveal the US-based company Surgisphere, whose handful of employees ... Read More

Biden as Paradox

It is now conventional punditry that should Joe Biden win in November, his vice president, in 1944-style, will sooner rather than later become president. Biden, to reboot and secure the identity-politics base, thought he had to discriminate by sex and race in advance by selecting his vice president. But given ... Read More

Biden as Paradox

It is now conventional punditry that should Joe Biden win in November, his vice president, in 1944-style, will sooner rather than later become president. Biden, to reboot and secure the identity-politics base, thought he had to discriminate by sex and race in advance by selecting his vice president. But given ... Read More
U.S.

The Lockdowns Are Now a Scandal

A boy in my neighborhood committed suicide a few weeks ago. It’s possible that the teen’s preexisting problems were exacerbated by the seclusion, tediousness, and helplessness of a national lockdown. Maybe not. I didn’t really know him. I do know that locals were forced to pay respects by sitting parked ... Read More
U.S.

The Lockdowns Are Now a Scandal

A boy in my neighborhood committed suicide a few weeks ago. It’s possible that the teen’s preexisting problems were exacerbated by the seclusion, tediousness, and helplessness of a national lockdown. Maybe not. I didn’t really know him. I do know that locals were forced to pay respects by sitting parked ... Read More
U.S.

What Happened to Social Distancing?

Cardenas Ortiz-Sandoval’s mother, Guadalupe, died last month. Cardenas, 22, helped to plan her funeral. She was told by mortuary officials that the state of California would not allow more than ten people to attend her mother’s graveside service. Some family members were forced to stay home. Lifelong friends ... Read More
U.S.

What Happened to Social Distancing?

Cardenas Ortiz-Sandoval’s mother, Guadalupe, died last month. Cardenas, 22, helped to plan her funeral. She was told by mortuary officials that the state of California would not allow more than ten people to attend her mother’s graveside service. Some family members were forced to stay home. Lifelong friends ... Read More