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GOP Self-Destruction is Complete_ Millennials Officially Hate Conservatives _ Ana Marie Cox _ Comment is Free _ Theguardian

GOP Self-Destruction is Complete_ Millennials Officially Hate Conservatives _ Ana Marie Cox _ Comment is Free _ Theguardian

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The GOP self-destruction iscomplete: millennials officiallyhate conservatives
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Ana Marie Cox
theguardian.com, Monday 14 July 2014 06.15 EDT Jump to comments (613)
Sarah Palin's ability to put anything on the internet without anyintermediary has rendered her as reckless as any tween with a SnapChataccount. Photograph: David Lytle / Flickr via Creative Commons
Conservatives are stuck in a perpetual outrage loop.The reappearance of Todd Akin, the horror-movie villain immortality of Sarah Palin, the unseemlycelebration of the Hobby Lobby decision – these allspeak to a chorus of "la-la-la-can't-hear-you" loudenough to drown out the voice of an entiregeneration. Late last week, the Reason Foundation
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released the results of a poll about that generation,the millennials; its signature finding was theconfirmation of a mass abandonment of social conservatism and the GOP. This comes at a timewhen the conservative movement is increasinglysynonymous with mean-spirited, prank-like and combative activism and self-important grandgestures. The millennial generation has repeatedlydefined itself as the most socially tolerant of themodern era, but one thing it really can't stand isdrama.Republicans were already destined for piecemealdecimation due to the declining numbers of their coreconstituency. But they don't just have a demographicproblem anymore; they have stylistic one. Theconservative strategy of outrage upon outrage uponoutrage bumps up against the policy preferences andthe attitudes of millennials in perfect discord.We all can recognize the right's tendency to respondto backlash with more "lash" (Akin didn't disappear,he doubled down on "legitimate rape"), but it seemsto have gained speed with the age of social mediaand candidate tracking. The Tea Party's resistance tothe leavening effect of establishment mores andpolitical professionals has been a particularlyeffective accelerant. Palin's ability to put anything onthe internet without any intermediary has renderedher as reckless as any tween with a SnapChataccount. Akin's whiny denouncement of Washingtoninsiders is likely to make him
 credible with acertain kind of base voter . The midterms are, as wespeak, producing another round of Fox Newscelebrities, whether or not they win their races: theEric Cantor-vanquishing David Brat, Mississippi'sChris McDaniel and the hog-castrating mini-Palin,Jodi Ernst of Iowa.The fire-with-fire attitude of hardline conservativeshas its roots in the petulant cultural defensivenessadopted by the GOP – especially the Christian right –during the culture wars of the 90s. Their siegementality bred an attitude toward liberals that sawevery instance of social liberalization as proof of their own apocalyptic predictions and conspiracy theories.Gay marriage will lead to acceptance of beastialityand pedophilia. "Socialized medicine" will lead to theeuthanizing Grandma. Access to birth control will leadto orgies in the streets.Then came Obama's election, the Zapruder tape for 
the right's tin-foil hat haberdashers – a moment inhistory that both explained and exacerbated America's supposed decline. Dinesh D'Souza, theOliver Stone of the Tea Party, has now made
movies about the meaning of Obama's presidency.The first, 2016: Obama's America, garnered anastounding $33m at the box office, and his lawyersblamed disappointing returns from this summer's America on a Google conspiracy to confusemoviegoers about its showtimes. (Of course.)The GOP has long staked a claim on TheDisappearing Angry White Man, but they haveapparently ever-narrowing odds of getting a bite atmillennials, who appear to be more like TheSomewhat Concerned Multicultural Moderate. Thisgeneration is racially diverse, pro-pot, pro-marriage equality and pro-online gambling. They are troubled by the deficit but believe in the social safety net: 74%of millennials, according to Reason, want thegovernment to guarantee food and housing to all Americans.  A Pew survey found that 59% of  Americans under 30 say the government should domore to solve problems, while majorities in all other age groups thought it should do less.The Rupe-Reason poll teases out some of thethinking behind the surge of young peopleabandoning the GOP, and finds a generation that isless apt to take to the streets, Occupy-style, than tothrow a great block party: lots of drugs, poker andgays! Millennials don't want to change things,apparently – they want everyone to get along. Thereport observes "[m]any specifically identified LGBTQrights as their primary reason for being liberal"; and "[o]ften, they decided they were liberals because theyreally didn’t like conservatives."But liberals can't be complacent about their demographic advantage. Their challenge is to resistthe impulse to copycat the hysteria that has workedso well for the right historically. "No drama Obama"was the millennials' spirit animal – his popularity hassunk with the economy, but also with theadministration's escalating rhetoric. Today, under-30voters show a distinct preference for Hillary Clinton(39% according to Reason, 53% according to the Wall Street Journal), and no wonder: she's asbloodless as Bill was lusty, as analytical as Bill wasemotional. The professorial Elizabeth Warren is thelogical (very logical) backup.

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