I think Beinart’s article should be read in light of this College Republican report on the attitudes of young voters. Young voters are more ideologically ambivalent than Beinart lets on. A larger fraction of young voters have “conservative” positions on major issues than voted for Romney in the last election. Many of them could probably be won over by a practical message that connected politics to their lives. And this is using “static analysis”. It assumes no minds are changed, only that existing policy preferences could align better with voting patterns. I think young left-wing Democrats are probably more confident than older cohorts. Part of that is being younger, but they have also haven’t experienced 1994 or 1984. This confidence could be a weakness in the end.
My sense is that many basically apolitical young people who have a latent preference for lower taxes, etc. (on those occasions when they thing about such things) find an accusation of socialism to be completely incomprehensible as an insult.
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