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Matt Bai: Beneath Divides Seemingly About Race Are Generational Fault Lines

Roundup: Media's Take




[Matt Bai writes for the New York Times.]

...According to Pew, there is nearly a 20-point spread between Mr. Obama’s approval ratings among voters younger than 30 and those older than 65. Among independent voters older than 50, Mr. Obama gets passing marks from only 35 percent, while about half of those voters 49 and younger say they approve of his performance in office.

These numbers probably do reflect some profound racial differences among the generations, but they are more indicative of how young and old Americans approach the issues of the day, generally. Older Americans now — no longer the New Deal generation, but the generation that remembers Vietnam, gas lines and court-ordered busing — are less enamored of expansive government than their parents were. They fear changes to their entitlement programs, even as they denounce the explosion in federal spending. They are less optimistic about the high-tech economy, more fearful of the impact of immigration and free trade.

If our leaders want to mend the rift in our political fabric, they might be better served convening meetings not between the white Tea Party advocates and their black contemporaries, but between estranged retirees and so-called millennials. Our national challenge is to reconcile vastly different American experiences. Race is a part of that disconnect, but it is not the whole.
Read entire article at NYT

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