Monday, October 4, 2010

Old People

Here's a chart Ezra posted about how different age groups have moved around this year in terms of their Congressional vote.

It brings to mind Matt Taibbi's awesome description from a Tea Party rally of "A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries." Of course, the old people who abandoned Democrats and generated the downward motion at the bottom of the chart are by definition a swing-voting group and not hardened Republican base voters who likely are showing up at the rally. But the contradiction in an elderly group pushing an antigovernment ideology -- well, that's real.

If Republicans win power and limit their attacks to the Affordable Care Act (which, after all, leaves people over 65 in the same condition they were in before) they may not alienate these voters. But there are elements in their party that want to go after Medicare and Social Security. They can't do that and hold on to power, as Newt Gingrich and the Social Security privatizers learned.


low-tech cyclist said...

From the graph, it looks like we lost a lot of those old people during the summer. I think the assumption that people don't pay attention before Labor Day is getting less true all the time.

What's worrisome is that Obama's strategy for this election was clearly based on that assumption. A lot of narratives are set earlier in the year, and once they're in place, it's hard to change people's positions that are based on those narratives.

And in general, it's a good idea not to let a hole get too deep before you start digging your way out.

Charlene said...

Yep. Amazing how the "I got mine and don't you touch it, the hell with you" crowd protest against their own interests.

Here in Kentucky with the Tea Republican Party candidate Rand Paul, he says he wants privitization of SS and a $2000 annual dedutible for Medicare, but only for the young people. This guy would rant for everything the Tea Republicans want and morph after one term into a Mitch McConnell acolyte.