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New Poll Reveals Alarming New Trend Among Young Republicans

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Back in 1955, in the mission statement of the newly founded National Review, William F. Buckley might have produced the most enduring description of what American conservatism ought to be.

Buckley’s magazine, which would become the standard-bearer of the incipient conservative movement, “stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”

I mention this because one of the most jarring elements of recent history is the resurgence of socialism, a political philosophy we all believed had been rightly discredited. It’s dispiriting, if perhaps unsurprising, that younger liberals are embracing the ideology.

What’s more disconcerting is the fact that, at least according to a new poll, a goodly portion of young, self-identified Republicans also have a positive view of an ideology diametrically opposed to theirs.

This bit of information comes from a Morning Consult survey called “Understanding Gen Z: How America’s largest, most diverse, best-educated, and most financially-powerful generation will shape the future.”

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Generation Z has plenty of definitions. Bloomberg describes it as “the group of kids, teens and young adults roughly between the ages of 7 and 22.”

Polling 7-year-olds on their take on politics has its definite limitations, considering they’re probably more interested in “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” than they are in, say, what socialism means to them. Therefore, Morning Consult stuck to individuals between the ages of 18 and 21.

The survey, conducted in May with a little under 1,000 members of Generation Z and over 3,000 individuals total, found that “Gen Z Republicans are far more comfortable with ‘large government’ and socialism than elder Republicans. They also hold more socially liberal views.”

How comfortable? Eight percent of Gen Z Republicans hold a “very positive” view of socialism while 17 percent hold a “somewhat positive” view of socialism.

Do you think younger people are more amenable to socialism?

Another 14 percent are “neutral” on socialism and 12 percent “don’t know/have no opinion.”

If math isn’t necessarily your thing, that means 25 percent of young Republicans view socialism positively and 26 percent don’t particularly have any real allergy to it. That’s a majority who don’t really care about the rise of a movement whose goals are antithetical to the party with which they identify.

To be fair, it’s not like their elders have set a particularly good example for them. One of the more galling trends of recent years has been the expansion of government and federal spending even when Republicans controlled the two branches of government — executive and legislative — that could have stemmed the tide.

It’s almost like the old anti-drug commercial: “I learned it by watching you!”

Nevertheless, “all older Republicans” polled by Morning Consult had a far more negative opinion of both socialism and big government. At least there’s that group of conservatives to stand athwart the rising tide and hold the party responsible. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess.

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It’s anyone’s guess, too, as to what to make of these results. It is just one poll of a narrow group of the next generation, after all.

Counterintuitively, Morning Consult also noted that “Gen Z adults put slightly more faith in capitalism than millennials.”

Socialism is also a vaguely defined thing nowadays, which is problematic.

In September of last year, Gallup asked Americans what socialism meant to them. The top answer was “equality” with 23 percent. “Government ownership or control, government ownership of utilities, everything controlled by the government, state control of business” was next with 17 percent.

“Talking to people, being social, social media, getting along with people” garnered 6 percent, which was the same as the number of people who thought it was “[m]odified communism” or “communism.”

This raises important questions of whether or not Americans in general and Generation Z, in particular, know what it’s signing on for when it gives socialists a pass.

Those who identify as socialists and are currently in government — you can probably name the most famous names among them — know very well what socialism means. One imagines that Republicans should have a built-in allergy to this sort of thing, particularly after the specter of the Green New Deal and “Medicare for all.”

Yet, socialism itself has become a trendy buzzword. You have to wonder what it meant to the sample Morning Consult surveyed. Did they believe it merely meant “equality?” Did they think it was just the process of being social?

The Republican Party is, for better or worse, the primary vehicle for political conservatism in America. Socialism’s zombie-like rise from the grave is reason enough for all of its members — including those aged 18-21 — to stand athwart both history and popular culture and yell stop.

Small government isn’t just a tenet of conservatism, it’s also a tenet of our nation’s founding principles. It’s the very reason why we have a system of checks and balances and the Bill of Rights.

The fact that there’s a significant minority of Republicans in the newest generation to receive the vote who feel positively about socialism — and an outright majority who wouldn’t oppose it, if you count those in the poll who seemed apathetic toward the concept — ought to deeply concern us all.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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