If Kerry wins tomorrow

01 Nov 2004|Christoper Ireland

If Kerry wins tomorrow (which I believe he will), it will mean that the country’s latest generation of young adults has found its voice. Comparable in size to the Boomer population, this group has been much quieter and less visible in their social and political involvements. All that could be about to change if they turn out and vote in the way predicted by Zogby’s latest poll.

Will it be a one-time expression of power or will this be the first of many changes they influence? My bet is that it will be the first of many, a few of which I’m going to guess:

–If young adults become a more committed and cohesive political force, I think you will see either the Senate or the House of Representatives shift from its Republican hold. Over time, I think you’ll see more women in both institutions and more diversity (particularly in the Senate).

–While they’re predominately Democratic in label, I doubt that they’ll be as worried about outsourcing jobs as their older counterparts. Their perspective is far more global and progressive to sweat the loss of industrial era jobs.

–They’ll barely bat an eye over approving stem cell research and will push for even more aggressive scientific funding and development.

–Dependency on oil? They’ll relish the chance to push thru punitive legislation taxing their parents’ gas-guzzling SUVs.

–I doubt they’ll lose much sleep (or exert much energy) over preserving Social Security. They’ve already written it off as antiquated.

–Harder to predict is their impact on the traditional values agenda. While they experiment with technology, they are in some ways more traditional than their parents. They have stronger views on the importance of marriage, the role of mothers and fathers and the value of a strong family. How they eventually reconcile this with their support of a woman’s right to choose and gay marriage will be an interesting trick.

I could add about a dozen more comments but I’ll let this stand for now. Of course, if there’s no big turn out, then all this is mute. Instead, it will mean that young adults are content to talk about their future, but aren’t yet willing or able to take charge of it. Mom and Dad can continue to do that for them.

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