Sam Smith – In a curious way, the defection from British tradition by Prince Harry is right in step with things happening in America as well. A 36 year old royal doesn’t want to play by the old rules any more. And as with today’s American young he didn’t quit in a noisy, revolutionary way but with uncertainty and polite confusion.
Having come of age in the rebellious 1950s –the warm up band for the 1960s – I find the lack of direction and determination among today’s young a bit frustrating. There’s no political music, no counterculture, no noisy demands. But that doesn’t mean something isn’t happening. It’s just happening more quietly. And age has a lot to do with it, as does ethnic change.
It is likely, for example, that Donald Trump was the last of the aged right to run the show. His bizarre behavior had more to do with proto-dementia than with well examined policy.
Part of his efforts was to block an inevitable change that was taking place in the country, namely that whites were becoming less important. In fact, as Brookings pointed out several years ago, “The new statistics project that the nation will become “minority white” in 2045. During that year, whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations.”
As someone who lived happily in a majority black Washington DC for some fifty years, I don’t see this as a problem, but then I’m not an old Republican.
How big is the age difference? Well one exit poll found that 65% of those aged 18-24 voted for Biden while only 47% of those over 65 did.
But age was not the only factor. The rise of minority populations made a big difference. Actually 53% of whites 18-29 voted for Trump while only 10% of young blacks and 28% of young latinos did.
What’s missing in this shift is a young agenda as well as young angst. And that agenda could be aided by young blacks and latinos seeing themselves not just as ethnic victims but as leaders of a new majority in about 25 years.
For the young and for ethnic minorities, the numbers are on their side. Now they have to figure out what to do about it.