This is my third installment of a series examining how the election of 2008 might be changed by as much as 45% of the electorate belonging to the Gen-X or Millenial Generations. You can find the previous entries here:
Because of the color of Barack Obama’s skin, race will play a role in this election that will be more intense than any previous one. However, the voters who will decide the election will invariably perceive the media frenzy in very different ways. This will happen because race itself is only as important as people think it is. Our perception of race is a strong function of the world that we grew up in.
In my last blog entry I showed that there is a major generational change pending in the electorate, in which up to 45% of all voters will not remember the 1960s. You can find it here:
It’s easy to make too much of the change in generations. Each of them can only be considered significant to the extent that they share an outlook on life that was created by the events happening around them during their formative years. Many things have changed in the last few decades, some of them more slowly than others, and kids that grew up in and given time might have radically different experiences. Regional variation has to be expected, as does the experience of growing up in a different culture such as a Latino world, an Evangelical Christian world, or any one of a number of class distinctions. Naturally, any given individual will have a different experience from another of the same generation.
With all the attention on the Presidential race of 2008, there is one key issue that has been largely neglected – the issue of generational change. Certainly, Barack Obama has an appeal to younger people who turn out in record numbers and often confound pollsters. How do they do that? The simple answer is that they can. Consider voter turnout in 2004 from this source at the Census Bureau, on page 4: