HomePoliticsAnalysis | Why ‘MAGA’ is so appealing to older Republicans

Analysis | Why ‘MAGA’ is so appealing to older Republicans


Within the 2020 election, older People have been extra more likely to help Donald Trump than Joe Biden — however not by as large a margin as you may assume. Pew Analysis Middle’s validated assessment of turnout in that election signifies that Trump gained folks ages 65 and older by about 4 factors. That’s a slight benefit, at finest.

One cause we affiliate Republican politics with older People is just that youthful People are a lot extra Democratic. In 2020, voters underneath the age of 30 most popular Biden by 24 factors. Between the events themselves, there’s a distinction: A better density of the GOP is older than is the case with Democrats. About a third of the Republican Celebration is 65 or older.

Why this divide by age? Partially due to demographics. Older People are much less more likely to be Black, Hispanic or Asian than youthful People, all teams that vote extra closely Democratic. In reality, the hole between older and youthful voters in presidential voting overlaps with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, a second wherein the confluence of demography and politics was acutely apparent.

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Within the 2016 election, Trump leveraged considerations amongst older Republicans concerning the altering demography of america to his profit. His slogan — make America nice once more — was not particularly about race, nevertheless it integrated a way that America had declined because it additionally was much less disproportionately centered on the wants of White People.

New polling from CNN, carried out by SSRS, exhibits how this sense of decline continues to carry sway within the GOP — and continues to tell how Republican candidates and right-wing media attraction to Republican voters.

The ballot is centered on gauging views of Republican main voters (together with independents) a 12 months out from the 2024 nominating contest. However the pollsters included quite a few questions centered on this concept of how America’s altering.

For instance, most respondents mentioned that America’s finest days have been behind us; that, you may say, America is not as nice because it was. There’s not a lot distinction in responses right here, notably when contemplating margins of error.

There’s an awesome sense amongst Republicans that the nation’s values are eroding on problems with sexual orientation and gender identification. Right here we see some differentiation by age, however, once more, subtly.

It’s exhausting to reply the chicken-egg drawback right here. Hostility to altering views of homosexuality and transgender People is pervasive in right-wing media, however is that as a result of it’s essential to Republicans or do Republicans view it so negatively due to that media consideration? Which got here first, the Tucker Carlson monologue or the outrage?

A part of it, definitely, is that these topics set off an opposition rooted in non secular arguments that efforts to leverage racial insecurity don’t. What’s extra, the social gathering has renewed chatter about higher participating non-White voters in its politics. Specializing in homosexual and trans folks as a goal means stoking an analogous sense of discomfort however in opposition to a smaller inhabitants.

Essentially the most attention-grabbing query within the CNN ballot, although, centered on views of American variety. Right here, the divide between youthful and older People was clear: Youthful Republican main voters have been extra more likely to see the elevated variety of america — “having an growing variety of folks of many various races, ethnic teams, and nationalities within the U.S.,” because the query put it — as enriching American tradition fairly than as a menace.

Amongst Republican main voters 65 and older, a majority mentioned this elevated variety was a menace. Amongst these underneath 50, views ran greater than 2 to 1 in the wrong way.

Trump clearly hopes to stoke this sentiment. Right here, the chicken-egg scenario is extra clear. Even within the 2016 primaries, considerations about perceived discrimination in opposition to Whites was a better predictor of help for Trump than financial standing. Trump unquestionably leveraged this sense; it appears clear that he shares the priority. (Simply this week, he declared that he was dealing with attainable indictment in New York as a result of the prosecuting D.A., a Black man, was “racist.”)

We are able to observe the logical chain right here. Should you assume that America is being eroded by elevated variety, you see a less-diverse America as a greater America. In that context, what does “making America nice once more” indicate?

This was all the time a part of the attraction. As an older White Republican, Trump has all the time been adept at capturing the considerations of that group, considerations that embody turning again the clock on American tradition and on the standing of Whites. CNN’s new polling exhibits that, amongst older Republicans specifically, this stays a potent sentiment.

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