The Red Dawn Difference
November 9, 2008 3 Comments
For all the talk of the youth vote being the demographic that put Obama over the top, the truth is that while their energy and legwork was unmatched, the real revolution in this election came not in the 20-somethings, but in the 30-somethings.
It is the Red Dawn generation, the forgotten demographic, that made the difference this time around. We are the 30-somethings who in the past eight years have grown into not only the dominant demographic in the media and commercial sectors, but have also started raising families and buying homes – the time when people start to seriously vote.
We are also the first generation to be raised completely under the ideals the Baby Boomer worked so hard to establish. We are done fighting battles of the 60s and don’t see the world the in black and white ways of our parents and we have reached the point in our lives when people become politically active.
The proof is in the exit poll results. This was not a youth movement, but one led by the tail end of Generation X and the Red Dawn Generation, those of us who came of age in the era of Reagan and Thriller and Mutual Assured Destruction.
The 30-44 demographic, however, where the real Change took place. In 2004 and 2008, they made up 29 percent of the vote, but in ’04 they voted for Bush 53-46. This year, they went 52-46 for Obama.
THAT was the group that won this election for Obama, not the youth vote. Fifty-two percent of 29 is way bigger than 66 percent of 18.
A new generation of leadership with a new worldview has arrived on the scene. Fortunately, we are already well-conditioned on coping with and cleaning up the messes of our parents. We are the latchkey generation, learning to care for ourselves as watched our parents divorce, remarry, work careers and refuse to fully admit their adulthood.
The turnout in the youth demographic certainly was impressive – as was the margin – but the real shift in this race came in the 30-somethings. That is the demo where the sea change has occurred. And now it’s time to see what we can do.