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In describing ways in which the gop could entice younger voters , the fact is they can't give away what they don't have.

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Jan 26, 2023·edited Jan 26, 2023

As a current 35-year-old, I think that what older generations so often fail to understand is that there has *never* in our living memory been a national conservative figure we could revere - or even like.

In the US, the *only* Republican presidents I can remember are George W. Bush and Trump. I feel like that fact speaks for itself. For our generation, their presidencies encapsulate what the GOP is.

(Them, plus the deranged reaction many in the GOP - the future Trumpists - had to the first Black president, Barack Obama.)

In Britain, the earliest Conservative PM I really knew of was David Cameron. First of all, ick. Second of all, his departure paved way for the intra-party chaos that brought us Theresa May, Boris freaking Johnson, Liz “lettuce” Truss and now Rishi Sunak. I don’t yet have a strong opinion of Sunak, but my first impression of him is that of yet another out-of-touch elite, so my expectations are pretty low.

In Australia, I vaguely remember Tony Abbott and whatshisface Trumble. Ick.

In Canada, where I live, the Conservative figures I really know are Stephen Harper (ick) at the national level, and Doug and Rob Ford (ughhhhhhh) and Patrick Brown (who was MeToo’d but then got elected mayor of a Toronto suburb anyway, ugh) within Ontario.

(Admittedly there is also John Tory, mayor of Toronto, who I voted for and who is broadly popular in the city. But I and I think many other Torontonians consider him an outlier, a political unicorn. When he ran for the leadership of the Ontario Conservative Party he lost to Doug Ford, ughhhhh. He does not represent the dominant forces in the party.)

So really…

Considering this parade of right-leaning assholes and dunces which represent the essence of what Anglophone millennials have seen as representing conservatism…

How can there be *any* mystery about why we lean left?

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The electorate has been trending leftward for some time. The Republican candidate for President has only won the popular vote twice since 1988. Republicans could have done the sane thing and moderated their platform to appeal to a broader audience. Instead they chose to embrace populism and to drink deeply from the well of victimhood and culture-war outrage. The apparent take away from the last three election cycles is that they lost or underperformed because they weren't extreme enough.

Populism is a scourge irrespective of which side it comes from because it cannot exist with a "them" on which everything wrong with society can be blamed.

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Sullivan has really lost the thread.

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Thanks Charlie for your accurate, but too polite, assessment of Sullivan’s musings over the younger generation’s refusal to embrace “conservative” values. Sullivan has had his head up his ass for a very long time now. It’s difficult to get clear perspective from up there unfortunately.

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Thank you, as always for your commentary. I work with a lot of bright young people in an R&D lab at a chemical company. I honestly believe they are democratic socialists because everything they like is denounced as socialism, and they are struggling to pay for their college educations, buy a home, etc. That's where the mean-spirited side of the right drives them away.

On the other hand, there are a lot of non-college educated young people, especially in rural areas, that love the meanness, and the name calling. I know, because I am related to some of them, and they love MAGA and Trumpian spite. These are people who grew up online, with trolling as a way to win prestige and respect from their peers.

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Just a comment, Charlie, about DeSantis banning a course in African American studies. First of all, he didn't ban it. As governor, in charge of education in his state, he rejected a proposed Advance Placement African American Studies course, which us certainly his right to do. According to CNN, the course is being offered as a pilot in 60 schools across the country during the 2022-23 school year.

Secondly, he had three reasons for rejecting it. Also according to CNN, he said "the course framework for the study of reparations . . . includes no critical perspective . . . All points and resources in this study advocate for reparations." If that is so, I agree with this reason to reject the course. It's not a big deal to present both points of view. Last year Britannica's ProCon site published "Reparations for Slavery – Top 3 Pros and Cons" (https://www.procon.org/headlines/reparations-for-slavery-top-3-pros-and-cons/).

I'm a former history teacher and I believe history and current events should be taught based on inqury: Let the students decide if reparations should be made. Let them do the research and craft the argument. The teacher's role is to provide the sources and guidance.

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No, that is not what I'm saying. I'm saying he says he rejected it not because there was a topic in it he found objectionable, but because of the way the topic was handled. He says it was advocating reparations. Is that so? I don't know. But if it is so, I agree with that objection and offered an example of how another publisher, Procon.org, handled it without advocating for the pro side.

I myself do not find the topic objectionable. It's controversial, and I lean toward the pro side, but he objections on the con side should be considered. I'm an educator and that's my pedagogy for current events.

Further, it's a proposed course. The College Board who writes the new course submits it for review to officials, educators and content experts. It gets reviewed, they get feedback, they revise the course.

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Great column,

I might be incorrect here, but one of the reasons why the new US Right turns to countries like Poland and Hungary is because their NatCons DO have support from the youth in those countries. They see the regimes and parties in Central Europe as the model to follow and which can persuade the distracted Zoomers and millennials in the US.

The phenomenon of ideological detachment of young people from RW politics in the West has less to do with the parties but more with rejection with the consensus that emerged after WWII. The Right has become reactionary in the new century and has nothing to offer. The Left has few alternatives, but they speak to the young in a matter similar to what Andrew Sullivan writes, even if few of their objectives will ever become a reality.

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Rufo is also an admitted liar, working to make people associate things with Critical Race Theory that he knew wasn't part of it, because those things had negative connotations.

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Every generation seems to face its own unique challenges. From what I've seen, the Millennials have what it takes to not just survive but to excel---the curiosity, the emotional intelligence, the grit, the spirit of wanting to do better all bode well toward accomplishing as much as can be in our short lives. Half of my MS/HS teaching career has been with Millennials and the other half with Gen Z. So much has impressed me even if/when I didn't always understand the what or the why behind it. The young people I've known are smart, creative, interesting people that know how to dig deep to solve problems. Cheers to the youthful voices, minds, and spirits of this country!!

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@ Mona Charen (she mentioned this during the “Is it Really a Mystery” podcast)

Here is one reliable, easy way to find/watch Masterpiece Theatre and other well-known PBS programs.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/masterpiece-on-pbs-passport/

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Love me some Masterpiece Mystery! If you have Amazon Prime, you can also add (for a fee) PBS and Britbox, which is also chock full of UK mysteries. Acorn then also pulls in mysteries from the commonwealth countries. SO much TV goodness!

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I have to say that Sykes list this one. For instance "leave it to society". That has happened over the Trump years and the whole country slipped backwards. I also believe that more people do want paid maternity leave for instance. They see all other countries can do it and stay a free market society. Why not the USA. Not Sykes most compelling arguments

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Re Biden and his documents, there's every reason to believe Biden is more careless in an innocent way than Trump. Biden is willing to admit mistakes quickly then refuse to consider implications about why he made those mistakes and whether he's learned anything from them. There's at least a plausible argument to be made Biden COULD learn from his mistakes if only he'd FULLY acknowledge them.

That's in sharp contrast to Trump, who NEVER admits mistakes because he can't conceive of the possibility he's made any mistakes (other than Sessions). Because he can't entertain the possibility of mistakes he keeps on digging the holes in which he finds himself. Anyone raising a stink about it is thus persecuting him. The man with no capacity for reflection much less any chance of learning from mistakes.

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Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

To the extent the GOP has abandoned (1) enlightened foreign policy to become Putin-friendly, (2) sound fiscal policy by ignoring deficits under Republican presidents, (3) law and order once it's applied to Republicans, and (4) upholding even the most minimal standards of decency, integrity, honesty or tolerance, and instead has made CULTURE WAR it's one guiding policy goal, should it really be surprising fewer people as they get older vote for Republicans?

Put another way, is it really the preserve of the young to discern that Republicans are no longer a serious political party? If Jim Jordan and MTG are the primary faces of the party outside leadership rolls, what rational person of any age would want to vote for that party?

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So Pence now has documents as well. Maybe stuff is simply overclassified ?

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I sometimes look in on Sullivan, whose unorthodox views can be thought-provoking. His Dishcast sometimes even dispenses with self-congratulatory chumminess, and is actually worth an hour and a half (the Nov. 18 discussion with Robert Draper is an example). This time, however, his idiosyncrasy is just idiotic.

Andrew, it seems, thinks that Republicans should (or even could) turn themselves into classical liberals to gain traction with voters under 30. This would represent no mere minor adjustment tracking to the left; it would be a 180º turn from their current course toward authoritarianism. He thinks that "cheap, culture-war populism" is just "diversionary." In other words, Republicans just have a messaging problem. Their real and true selves actually embrace diversity and would "expand access to childcare for young, struggling families; tout entrepreneurial and scientific innovation to tackle climate change; expand maternity and paternity leave; redistribute wealth from the super-rich to working Americans...." In other words, Republicans are really Democrats. Now that would be some diversion.

Who to carry this new message and establish this new brand for the new true (blue?) Republicans? Why, Ron DeSantis,of course! After all, he is an entirely empty vessel as far as policy (both domestic and foreign) is concerned. In fact, his entire brand is owning the Libs with "cheap culture-war distractions" with which he hopes to attack the only declared Republican presidential candidate from his right flank. Who could be more perfect!

Sullivan might want to field test this new message with Republican primary voters (even those under 30) better than half of whom think that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

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Bam, bullseye. Sullivan twists himself into believing that 1.) rabid anti-wokeness is just a distraction from the policy-oriented essence of True Republicanism, and 2.) the person to carry the GOP away from rabid anti-wokeness is…Ron DeSantis??! Also, implicitly, 3.) Sullivan is not himself contributing to the atmosphere of rabid anti-wokeness 🤦‍♀️

A total rhetorical face plant.

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God this was good. Well said. The stuff andrew was recommending was full crazy. Their is no reason to believe they want any of this stuff. Also, “cheap, culture was populism” is literally everything Andrew talks about. If you read his twitter posts you would think that every person was trans!!!!

What pisses me off the most of Andrew is his bs “I am a catholic” so I believe all these crazies things. DUDE, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOESNT LIKE HOMOSEXUALS. Maybe the things you learned from the church are UTTER BULLSHIT.

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The thing is that even if the GOP did this that it would work.

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