Edsall notes that younger Democratic voters are more likely to be neoliberal on economic issues, focusing their liberalism on social issues only, like gender and sexuality rights, etc. And, he links to a Pew survey with massive data to seemingly back this up. Edsall centers his column on this:
The Pew survey points up the emergence of a cohort of younger voters who are loyal to the Democratic Party, but much less focused on economic redistribution than on issues of personal and sexual autonomy.
Back in April, Pew researchers wrote that “huge generation gaps have opened up in our political and social values, our economic well-being, our family structure, our racial and ethnic identity, our gender norms, our religious affiliation, and our technology use.” These trends, Pew noted, point “toward a future marked by the most striking social, racial, and economic shifts the country has seen in a century.”
I asked Andrew Kohut, the founding director of the Pew Center, what he made of these results. He emailed me his thoughts: “There is a libertarian streak that is apparent among these left-of-center young people. Socially liberal but very wary of government. Why? They came of age in an anti-government era when government doesn’t work. They are very liberal on interpersonal racial dimension, but reject classic liberal notions about ways of achieving social progress for minorities.”Edsall backs this up by reference to other larger-scale polling.
At the same time, this doesn't surprise me. Even Occupy Wall Street, at least its original Wall Street incarnation, seemed to have a lot of people who only became mad at economic justice when, despite their MBAs and JDs, they didn't get Wall Street jobs because of the Great Recession. More on my in-depth analysis of the reality vs myths of the original Occupy Wall Street is here.
In fact, Edsall notes that a majority of younger Democrats thinks Wall Street helps the economy more than it hurts it.
At the same time, the younger Democrats are more dismissive of the element of luck, more naive about the likelihood of their own hard work playing off economically, and everything in between. Perhaps this connects to the level of online narcissism among younger people, the idea of self-branding online, and other things. It's not just personal vanity, it's economic vanity wearing a massive pair of Dunning-Kruger Effect blindfolds