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Posted by on Aug 10, 2013 in Featured, Politics | 13 comments

With seniors turning on Republicans, are Republicans done?

Milt Priggee,

Milt Priggee,

Carville and Greenberg notice something interesting, and perhaps transformational, going on:

There’s something going on with seniors: It is now strikingly clear that they have turned sharply against the GOP. This is apparent in seniors’ party affiliation and vote intention, in their views on the Republican Party and its leaders, and in their surprising positions on jobs, health care, retirement security, investment economics, and the other big issues that will likely define the 2014 midterm elections.

We first noticed a shift among seniors early in the summer of 2011, as Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare became widely known (and despised) among those at or nearing retirement. Since then, the Republican Party has come to be defined by much more than its desire to dismantle Medicare. To voters from the center right to the far left, the GOP is now defined by resistance, intolerance, intransigence, and economics that would make even the Robber Barons blush. We have seen other voters pull back from the GOP, but among no group has this shift been as sharp as it is among senior citizens.

It’s never made much sense to me why seniors would vote Republican given the the Republican effort to dismantle the social safety net, the government programs so many seniors rely on, but I suppose there’s something to be said for tradition, and of course part of voting Republican is being motivated by fear of change, of the new, of what is young and different.

But the Republican Party is moving further and further to the right, becoming the party solely of anti-government Tea Party types, right-wing Christian fundamentalists, neocon warmongers, and, of course, the Romney-style rich. And for all the post-election talk of rebranding, the Republican Party is doubling down on pushing away minority voters as well, it seems, as anyone else who isn’t of this ideological stripe, including seniors generally.

We’ll see if this holds next year. Midterm elections are characterized by low voter turnout dominated by an older, whiter electorate. But if Republicans are losing old white people, at least enough of them to make a difference, what hope do they have?

Cross-posted from The Reaction

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  • sheknows

    Let us hope many change their party affiliation. Must remember though, with all the voter ID laws the Reps have implemented, many seniors may not be ABLE to vote anyway. It was noted last year that many seniors had no photo ID, and they were unable to get to polls which were moved. Now, with more redistricting attempts, the elderly and minorities will be equally disadvantaged.
    One would think it is a demographic the Reps depend on. Apparently not.

  • The_Ohioan

    Those of us who are old people now, were children during the Great Depression that seared our parents to the soul. All our life we’ve been living with their memories of just how bad things were and been taught to save for a rainy day, never throw anything of possible value away, don’t trust banks over much (especially really big ones), and to view our government as an entity which protects its citizens from fraud and physical harm.

    The GOP is now seen as profligate and unwilling to protect citizens from both fraud and physical harm. We have seen our children and grandchildren being used as cannon fodder in the callous search for domination of the world’s resources. Right or wrong, the GOP has been labeled as the best friend of those forces.

    Blame the internet; the MSM has, with a few exceptions, lightly touched on these problems. The boomers are now almost all wired in and big changes in politics will come from the fact that now they are retiring and more able to concentrate on other than the day to day struggle. This change in outlook started during the opposition to the Vietnam war and it will continue to gain in strength as long as that generation has the numbers to influence votes.

  • dduck

    Can’t blame seniors, or anyone that sees what the Reps are peddling. Losing any group is deserved if your message is bad. I’m sorry seniors are leaving, I ain’t, but I understand. The Reps have really negative PR, mostly due to what appear to be lousy ideas and positions,that is for sure. That some of them say things that don’t make sense, except perhaps to their core constituency, helps little and the Dems with excellent intelligence for picking these up and the left-tilted media do a good job letting us hear every idiotic remark. That seniors also realize that, hey, these Dems will take care of me up to the grave, doesn’t hurt; the kids can look after themselves and look at all the programs the Dems have from cradle on. They’ll be OK, the Dems will find the money somewhere to take care of all of us.

  • sheknows

    That’s just it dd…the media is NOT left tilted. It is right. you don’t hear some of these idiotic statements on CBS, ABC or NBC. You MAY hear it on MSNBC, but never on Faux, and probably not on CNN. These remarks and stupidities are reserved for the blogs and other off-road vehicles. There are so many outrageous, bigoted, sexist, and just plain stupid comments coming from the right, believe me, if the public heard these things on the 6 o’clock news, the Reps would have been washed down the tubes a few years ago.
    They are well protected by the owners of these networks.
    And btw…if it wasn’t FOR the Dems, there wouldn’t even BE social security today. A very successful program overall through the years. certainly better than the poorhouses the Republicans were and are now again in favor of.

  • dduck

    You think right tilted I say left tilted. So be it.
    Last time I mentioned that the Dem, Ed Kennedy knocking out a Rep and a Dem Universal Health Care Plan, I was told, but that was thirty years ago, so I will avail myself of that theory for SS creation. (BTW: up to WWII, the Reps were the no war party; times change).
    SS is on another thread, but save that line with the poorhouses, Dickens would approve.

  • KP

    That’s just it dd…the media is NOT left tilted

    I have a serious question and it is not a value judgment, just an observation: Why doesn’t the left have more successful progressive radio and television programs?

    My theory is because the left doesn’t need them. Why don’t they need them?

    It seems to me that if there was a need or demand for additional progressive TV and radio they would be on air. What does that tell us? One explanation are that network and old media is quite left leaning or there would be a demand and need for more programming.

    I am interested if others have different or additional explanations.

  • dduck

    As many folks here on TMV have pointed out, most Reps are stupid. So, if the media folks are not stupid, likewise those in academia where polls show there are more Dems, then by extension the media must be tilted left. 🙂

  • Willwright

    What seniors aren’t completely dumb and recognize their own self interest, I’m shocked. To bad the GOP hasn’t figured out this as well. We don’t have a left leaning radio/TV culture because it couldn’t be based on anger. It would have to be based on compassion and understanding which doesn’t draw listeners/viewers and therefor doesn’t sell soap.

  • sheknows

    KP, your logic eludes me on the “more left leaning shows”. Apparently the left is just happy with MSNBC and NPR ( others might say). There isn’t a whole lot of propaganda they need to spread, unlike the right. That’s probably why we don’t see the equivalent of Hannity and Rush or Diane Sawyer on ABC defending Clint Eastwood’s stupid empty chair and taking 15 minutes to do it.

    We heard NOTHING but Benghazi for months on major networks, and all the so called scandals, but nothing about how they found the IRS to not be biased. One little blurb and suddenly all focus on Obama is removed…for now.

    We don’t hear about all the stupid comments made by Rep Senators on Nightly News now do we?? And if there are Dem comments..please enlighten me.

  • sheknows

    BTW, I think the real outrage Reps are feeling is that they are the brunt of jokes all over television. Other off-road shows like Colbert Report and Daily Show report on these more than anyone even though the comments most of these Rep lawmakers make is ANYHTHING but funny!

  • cjjack

    I am interested if others have different or additional explanations.

    It is my understanding that our friends on the right considered ALL media to be slightly to the left of Che Guevara until Rush Limbaugh debuted on radio and Fox News hit cable.

    I can only speak to the radio side of things, but the reason (in my opinion) that the nationwide experiment in “progressive” talk radio – Air America – failed is that they tried to do to much too quickly. Limbaugh was an overnight success that took years to happen. The radio stations that carried his show then went looking for other, similar content once the formula had been proven to work. Right wing talk radio grew organically over a long time.

    Air America tried to create a nationwide network overnight…trying to repeat the success of right wing talk without understanding HOW it got to be so successful. Air America might have worked out better if they’d started small…a few stations in a few test markets, then once they found a winning formula, see if it could be duplicated on a national scale.

    Anyway, with regards to the OP, Willwright hit the nail pretty much on the head. Just because they’re old doesn’t mean they’re stupid. The GOP has been banging the drum for decades about Social Security and Medicare, but in recent years they’ve been going after the third leg of the stool that a lot of seniors depend upon for income:


    If you worked all your life in some municipal or state job, the GOP considers your pension the “go to” fund when things need to be cut back. If you worked a union job in the private sector, and the company goes under, the GOP wants your pensions offered up first in bankruptcy proceedings.

    Unless you retired wealthy, chances are you’re dependent upon a mix of Social Security, Medicare, and a pension to get by, and the GOP has all of them in their crosshairs.

  • KP

    Thanks for the feedback. Sorry it was off OP topic.

  • JSpencer

    Re: older people leaving the GOP? Better late than never. Who wants be thought incapable of change when it’s clear the GOP is so rapidly becoming unrecognizable as the party it once was? Just because someone is older doesn’t mean they can’t still think. As for the media being biased to the left, I think that’s the same nonsense it ever was. To the extent it may appear to tilt left from the POV of “conservatives” I’d say reality tilts left a bit too. More importantly though the MSM tends to be timid when it comes to calling a spade a spade. They certainly don’t cheerlead for the left. Anyway, they have more important things to do, like chase bright shiny things and please the ratings gods.

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