The Washington Times recently ran a column written by Frank Donatelli, chairman of GOPAC, the Republican political action committee, entitled “Youth should focus on freedom.” The gist of the piece is that youth should be voting their self-interest, and their support of Obama was counterintuitive.
What I don’t understand is the lemming-like support he received from the Generation Y voters. Well more than 60 percent of these voters who are under 26 and were born from the early 1980s to the early 1990s helped elect Mr. Obama.
Mr. Obama’s collectivist agenda is the antithesis of the self-interests of Generation Y voters. If he succeeds in his major policy goals, Generation Y will be the first generation in America to grow up financially worse off than previous generations.
Mr. Obama may create a more equal society and a few more solar panels, but it will come at the expense of a dynamic economy and opportunity for more Americans, especially Generation Y.
Rather, as the most upwardly mobile segment of society with the longest time horizon, their self-interest is far more consistent with a system that focuses on young people’s ability to achieve their dreams and full potential. They are the chief beneficiaries of freedom and the natural allies of those devoted to the private sector and low taxes.
For someone who has been around politics as long as Donatelli has, his lack of understanding is a bit of a shock.
As any student of marketing will tell you, decisions are seldom made based on logic. Instead, they are based on emotion nearly all the time. Or, put another way, in any contest between cerebral and limbic marketing, pick limbic every time. There is an ancient tradition supporting this conclusion.
Within days after the parting of the Red Sea—a miracle by any description—the Israelites grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Some days after that, they complained about the food. Thus, despite witnessing supernatural forces operating on their behalf, it didn’t take much for them to stop thinking about it (cerebral) and respond to their empty stomachs and dry throats.
A more modern iteration involved test-marketing of what was to become the Lexus, when it was offered for 30 days to select Mercedes owners. After the test period, the drivers ranked the new car superior to Mercedes in nearly all categories. However, when they were asked if they would buy the new model, most of them said “No.” Asked to explain, they said that while the new model was superior, they just had to stay with Mercedes.
By the same token, if you put one of those Gen Y voters in a room, and discussed what was better for him in a logical way, he would probably agree with you, but given the appeal of Mr. Hope N. Change, not to mention the dullness and age of McCain, he would act against his own self-interest in the voting booth. Here’s a scoop, Frank, many people (and not just Gen Y-ers) are superficial about most things in their life, and tend to make many a whole lot of bad decisions.
A better GOP strategy would have been to NOT nominate McCain, and put up a younger candidate, preferably one with conservative street cred. Actually, they did this with the VP spot, but then the GOP establishment didn’t support Palin, and prevented her from really speaking out on the campaign trail.
- Put up a crummy presidential candidate in 2008.
- Tear down your own populist VP candidate.
- Support the absurd bailout bills.
- Have several prominent GOP senators support Sotomayor.
- Have GOP portray itself as little more than Dem/Socialist light.
Sounds like a winning strategy to me.
And Donatelli can’t understand why Gen Y-ers act against their own self-interest?