Millennials v Boomers - Part 1: Political Differences


Posted On: Tuesday - January 4th 2022 4:50PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Humor  Americans

(As is often the case, this post was going to be about something else. Then I digressed enough to make it long enough to be 2 or 3 posts.)

On this side, people born from 1982 to 2004, and on this side, people born from 1943 to 1960.



Today Peak Stupidity talks about m-m-my g-g-g-generation* a little more. I am not quite a Boomer**, but I tend to root for Team Boomer in the bouts between them and the Millennials, Zoomers, whomever. ("Zoomer" has gotten especially appropriate in the last 2 years, as before it had nothing to do with the Zoom remote meetings program.) I may have written this before on Peak Stupidity, but I don't believe that there are stark differences in the basic make-up of each generation. Each is a product of its environment at the time the individuals within were most impressionable. With the exception of the changing demographics, which IS another factor, people are people.

Let's talk political differences, as that's often what the complaints are about, going both ways. For this I always think about voting results. In general things have shifted left, of course, or toward Totalitarianism anyway. There have been those fighting this, not the politicians, but real people, all the way. There's never been an overwhelming majority of people on either side, as if there had been, "we"'d have voted ourself into Communism long ago.

In elections in which there are stark differences, there have always been plenty of individuals in each generation voting for each side. Even in the very important (notorious, I'd say) Scumbag Johnson over Barry Goldwater presidential election landslide in 1964, there were 43 million votes cast for the Scumbag and 27 million cast for the great Libertarian/Conservative AuH2O. Yes, it's a landslide in American election terms, but still 38.5% of those generations voted Conservative/Lib and 61% Socialist. Those generations were almost all NOT Boomers, BTW.***

It'd be a time consuming, but not particularly difficult, task to find out when these Boomers made up the biggest share of the electorate. I'm not doing it, based on the fact that an estimate will do fine here. I'm just going to pick 1996 through 2016 as a fairly big range that should cover the highest point. Boomers ranged in age from 36 to 53 in 1996, and from 56 though 73 in 2016. Somewhere in there, probably 2000 or 2004, is likely when they had their largest share of all the votes.

In those 6 elections, with the exception of 1996, there has been no Presidential election with the results wider than 7 percentage point difference in popular vote****, and if you except '08 each had less than a 4 percentage point difference in vote numbers between the 2 squads. 1996 was a special case because Ross Perot (proto Donald Trump, with brains) received 8 1/2% of the popular vote, with Bill Clinton getting 49% and Bob Dole getting 41%. I'm sure most of Ross Perot's voter's would have held their noses and voted for Dole, were Mr. Perot not in the running. It would have been another very close one. Good on Ross Perot and his voters for trying, and R.I.P., Ross Perot .

From just this Presidential election business, not all of politics by any means, we can see that the Boomers aren't lefties, they aren't Conservatives, they aren't Libertarians, and they aren't flat-out Commies. However, that generation includes all of these ... and, WAIT, there's more! These younger generations, say, the Millennial one, do not lean all one way either and contain people of all ideologies.

Back to the race/ethnicity demographic factor though, yeah, you're not going to find as many Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan fans among the Hispanics, the Chinese, and the Indians that are the bulk of recent immigrants. They do make up a much larger percentage of the Millennial generation than the Boomer one.

You could impugn some of those in the groups of new arrivals for not "getting" America. As for the different generations of Americans, there are plenty of people on different sides of big political divides as they were for the Boomers. "You Boomers voted in this ____, destroying this country!" "Well, PEOPLE did, but lots of US voted against it." It's silly to put the blame on everyone now between the ages of 61 and 77. It's silly for Boomers to put the blame on everyone now between the ages of 18 and 40.

See, this started out to be just the intro, but I will get to some differences between the 2 generations in Part 2 of Millennials v Boomers next time. Part 1 is hereby ruled a rain-out.


* There's a big The Who kick going on here as of late. I mean, for you Millennials, The Who is trending. If you don't know (or if you do), that phrasing above comes from one of the iconic songs from The Who and one that has probably held the top spot in the Billboard Stutter-Rock charts since, well my whole life - that's because they're not quite my g-g-generation. Maybe they took the top spot on the chart from Buddy Holly?

** That's by Strauss' & Howe's definition which includes those born from 1943 to 1960 as "Boomers". Strauss & Howe are the 2 guys whose prescient books I am going to review Some Day Soon™.

*** That comes from a discussion with, you could have guessed it, good ole Reg Caesar in the Unz Review comments with the details such as that some States did allow people under 18 y/o to vote already, so, the very youngest of Boomers in some States could have voted in November of 1964. Even in the States with 21 as the voting age, 10 months of young people born in the year 1943 could have voted.

*** There's more to it than just that, I understand, as perhaps the choices were much more Tweedle-Dee v Tweetle-Dum -like over the last generation as compared to in 1964.

Comments:
Moderator
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 2:52PM MST
PS: Mr. Blanc, firstly, thanks for your take on the Chicago teachers. I guess those students aren't a factor in any of this due to their parents' not giving a damn, on the whole.

As for the Generational terminology, yeah, there are no solid dividing lines, and no hard and fast differences. You may NOT want to read my review, if it's ever up, on those 2 Strauss & Howe books.

I will say, though, that for something written in the mid/late 1990s, that book (can't remember which I read first) was amazingly prescient. That doesn't at all mean their big comprehensive theory is worth a damn, but if you'd told me in 1997 that America would be this close to falling apart 25 years later, I'd have laughed. I was younger then, but it was also the beginning of the internet - dot-com era, we were far and away the world's only superpower, we were to become this great service economy to beat all, and I don't know, things looked pretty up then. Oh, and China's economy was still minuscule compared to ours.
The Alarmist
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 12:34PM MST
PS

@Mr Moderator, speaking about transitions, I don’t know what I dislike more about Jeopardy these days: The new douchebag host they installed to replace the last douche who chose himself to replace Alex Trebek, or the tranny they are trying to pass off as the highest scoring woman in the show’s history.

#SaveJKRowling
MBlanc46
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 12:29PM MST
PS The Chicago Teachers Union is comprised largely of Negro women and white self-styled revolutionaries. I suppose that some of the Negro women think that they’re revolutionaries, too. When I lived in a co-op in Hyde Park, several of my fellow residents were CPS teachers or retired teachers. The student body is largely Negro and Hispanic. They do not factor into the equation. I imagine that the current squabble is mostly the Negro women wanting to get paid without working and the revolutionaries making the revolution. It’s another case of the people getting what they wanted. And getting it good and hard. About the generational business. I think that Hail’s attempt to make some rational cuts simply indicates that the notion of generations defined by fixed beginning and end dates is futile. Sure, great events such as 7 DEC 1941, 22 NOV 1963, 11 SEP 2001 probably have similar effects on people just coming into adulthood. But not every cohort has such an event, and not everyone reacts to such events in the same way. This generation business is simply marketing. I guess that it started with my bunch, first because there were so many of us, and second because we indicated that the war was over. But the marketing boys couldn’t leave it at that. They had to keep inventing generations. And the chattering classes had to keep chattering about them. Enough already.
Moderator
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 8:27AM MST
PS: Mr. Hail, I hope Mr. Blanc will come on here to comment, being unfortunately still a resident, but I think you for this info. I am pretty sure the hell-raising by the teachers is not at all truly out of worry about Omicron, but about laziness. They want more free time off, supported by the taxpayers.

A funny thing happened recently - our elementary school boy was left for about 1/2 hour after school ended. I got 3 messages from the Assistant Principal, but was out of town, so there's nothing I could have done. My wife was told via voice mail that school was starting late. She assumed that meant they would end 2 hours late also! Haha, no freaking way that would have happened.
Moderator
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 8:22AM MST
PS: Mr. Hail, those definitions of the generations are pretty close to the S&H ones, and I won't argue over a couple of years. If I WERE to, I'd argue the other way for the Boomers though, to 1945 or even 1946 (seeing as conception occurs 9 months earlier, which was a good point of yours.) I had always thought it was the returning GI's, wanting a peaceful, prosperous, suburban life, that started the baby boom - along with their ladies, of course!

As for your 2nd comment, yes, 40, (38 by your definition after the transition*) is not young. 2 things about this:

1) I use "Millennial" more than other terms (for those younger Generation Z/Zoomers), as that's the term used lots in this new young vs. old big generation gap. I will note in my next post that Zoomers would fit the bill even more so.

2) Even a 38 y/o, for the purposes the next post (supposed to be this one) will be about, will fit the bill. It's about digital vs. analog thinking, which you already started discussion . Most people in their 30's may NOT know both worlds. Sure they remember a time before the iCrap (touch screens is what I really mean by that). That would be BARELY though, and before that people still were on laptop computers all the time.


* Man, I can't even use that word anymore without thinking of weirdos!
Hail
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 6:43AM MST
PS

"Chicago city authorities, in their latest move in the Omicron standoff, have begun locking Chicago public school teachers and staff out of their Google Classrooms."

You read that right (classroom.google.com).
Hail
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 4:03AM MST
PS

Corona-Panic flashpoint continues to be Chicago schools (as I predicted on these pages earlier from following the earlier chatter), who want school all-online until spring to fight Covid so they can safely upload video lessons and return to their heroic Covid Fighting efforts. Now in national US headlines, but you heard it here first (or near first).
Hail
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 4:00AM MST
PS

The only way generations work in a rigorous way is to identify or define core-generations, around some cultural experience which those people all went through together (which excludes most foreign-origin people, actually, because they went through something else at the same time), and then fill in periods on each end as transitions to and from the last.

Transition-era people will then drift towards one or the other generational identity depending on a set of things including personal circumstance, personality, region of upbringing, degree of family conservatism or parents' age, religion, or any number of other things or some degree of randomness. (And datasets are never airtight, so even a few outside even the transition range squeak in with the "wrong" generation, but those exceptions shouldn't be used to overturn the whole applecart we are stacking up.)

I think the following ranges work:

Years of birth, USA
- 1910-24 WWII generation
- 1925-27 transition
- 1928-37 Silent Generation
- 1938-41 transition
- 1942-59 The Boomers
- 1960-64 transition
- 1965-78 for Generation X
- 1979-83 transition
- 1984-97 for Millennials
- 1998-2001 transition, and
- b.2002 starts the Generation Z ("Zoomers").

Some of these exact years could be argued. The exact start and end-dates I think have to fit within life-experience brackets (e.g., WWII generation should include those with some adult or later-teenage memories of the Depression and then experience of the 1941-45 period as adults). The principle of transition periods needs to be included, too, or the concept is too easy to attack.

The core experience for the Millennials is growing up analog to some extent and experiencing of the transition to digital as a part of growing up. To some extent knowing both worlds and feeling the analog is the real world.

The core thing about "Zoomers" is growing up entirely in the digital world, analog seen as something quaint. By the time even the older Zoomers them stated school, digital communication was not only the norm but the idea of non-digital primary communication was seen as strange. The 1990s-era attitude of cell phones being entirely optional and most adults opting out of owning one, I think Zoomers would view as skeptical, would not readily believe this was possible, a defining generational attitude. The core aspects of the Internet as we now recognize it were all in place by the time Zoomers aged-into social consciousness, but were NOT for Millennials. More core-agree Millennials, even a silly Nintendo system with laughably graphics and memory capacity was considered a high technology, whereas their Zoomer successors would laugh at such a thing.

(Btw, "Zoomer" comes from Generation Z, as Millennials are Generation Y, both back-formations from Generation X which some magazine writer or somebody coined out of nowhere in the early 1990s to describe the epidemic of slackerdom, feeling 'X' would fit. Alas, everybody always complains about the young generation. I feel quite confident in saying adults of their time complained about what by the 1990s was called the Greatest Generation.)

An extension of this conversation is, I think, that a lot of criticisms of "Millennials" are actually criticisms of "Zoomers" --- or Millennial-to-Zoomer transition-era people who lean towards Zoomers in attitudes, or etc.; or non-standard outlier Millennials more like their successor-generation than their own.

The criticism of Millennials is usually some form of their being reality-detached by being too digitized. There ARE some ultra-digitized Millennials, to be sure, but the main line of the generation is defined (in my schema here) by formative experience of societal *transition* to digital, and therefore the median Millennial is comfortable, basically, in both worlds.
Hail
Wednesday - January 5th 2022 3:42AM MST
PS

1942 is a better start-year for many reasons.

One reason is, when he look to date the End of the Great Depression, it ends up coming to 1941 with war-industry mobilization (long before Peal Harbor). Depending on your exact criteria and whether you choose to date the trend or the absolutes, late 1940 could also be included, but really it's 1941.

(Note: libertarians will say, and can demonstrate, how true US economic fundamentals were still bad in 1940-41 and how the war-mobilization was artificial, that true recovery on fundamentals only came starting in 1946 or so.)

The return of seeming economic dynamism in 1941, marriages and conceptions in 1941 mean 1942 births. Therefore socioeconomically or socioculturally this is the Baby Boom as we understand it.

We're also not surprised to find that in 1942 the absolute number of births in the USA increased over the low trendline for the first time since the 1920s, which means that if analyzing births as a dataset, we have to date the start of the "boom" to 1942.

Finally, when you look at some case-study individuals, just take a few at random people you find b.1942, vs. b.1947 vs. b.1937 and compare them. Here is what you will generally find: the b.1942 and b.1947 people will cluster in terms of what they do, who they are, how they think, life-experience, outlook, generational-style attitude, much more than with the b.1937s. Despite equal distance in age, the cultural-leader b.1942s are more like the the b.1947s than the b.1937s. Sixties/seventies bands are a good example. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both born in 1943. Paul McCartney, 1942.
Moderator
Tuesday - January 4th 2022 7:09PM MST
PS: "Joe Biden is the ÜberBoomer".

I guess we can extend the definition for Creep Joe, Alarmist. I'll get Strauss & Howe to give him a waiver from the Silent Generation. I wish he were more of a Silent type.

How long has he been in Feral Gov't now, 1/2 a century? That wasn't supposed to be the deal, back during the founding.
The Alarmist
Tuesday - January 4th 2022 6:33PM MST
PS

I suggest the window for Boomers be extended to November 1942 to include the king of I-Me-Mine, Joseph Robinet Biden, who, like many other Boomers, talked a great game about how talented and creative and important he has been throughout his 78+ years of “accomplishments” like mediating the Six-Days war at the tender age of 25, Graduating at the top of the bottom of his class, with multiple degrees from a HBCU, and more miles on Amtrak than the rest of America combined.

Joe Biden is the ÜberBoomer.
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