February 2020: Generational Change in American Politics

We are currently witnessing the passing of political power from one generation to another.  The prolific and entertaining political science pundit Prof. David Shultz from Hamline University provided a lively and insightful analysis of this political shift at our February community gathering.

Schultz asserted that each generation is met with defining political/social moments that shape their understanding of the world.  For Boomers it was the fall of Saigon. For Millennials, it was the Great Recession of 2008.  Their current affinity for Sanders’  democratic socialism largely comes out of their experience with parents who lost homes, stagnating wages, skyrocketing home prices, increasing income inequality, and burgeoning student loan debt.

The election of 2020 is the first time in nearly 30 years where Boomers are not the largest generational voting cohort – it’s the Millennials.  In the coming decade, the moderate politics of the Baby Boomer era will end as the Millennials hit their stride.  Schultz suggested that many of the contentious issues of our time – a abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights, health care for all, immigration reform, among others – will largely resolve with this generational shift.

But while Millennials are on the rise, Boomers still vote in larger numbers.  Schultz offered no crystal ball for the short term. (Audio recording of his complete talk to come.)

— Audrey Kingstrom


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