Another view Gore’s sup­port no game-changer for Hil­lary

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Jonah Gold­berg The Na­tional Re­view Jonah Gold­berg is syn­di­cated by Tri­bune Me­dia Ser­vices. Read­ers may write to him via email at gold­bergcol­

The Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paign is de­ploy­ing former Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore to rev up the youth vote, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported this week. Stop laugh­ing. The an­nounce­ment elicited a lot of mock­ery from var­i­ous cor­ners of the right. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., scoffed on Twit­ter that he heard Gore is host­ing a Clin­ton cam­paign event for mil­len­ni­als “spon­sored by Alta Vista & fea­tur­ing Ace of Base. It’s gonna be the bomb ...” For those of you too young or too old to re­mem­ber, those used to be things. Ra­dio talk show host Hugh He­witt played an ex­tended clip from the TV se­ries “South Park” in which Al Gore pompously warns of the threat from ManBearPig, a “crea­ture that is half man, half bear and half pig.” He­witt went on to sug­gest that us­ing Gore was a mis­take be­cause mil­len­ni­als were raised on “South Park” and can’t stand Gore.

Now, as the colum­nist who wrote the first (and still most im­por­tant) piece ad­dress­ing the vi­tal ques­tion of whether or not Gore is an alien — he was born about nine months af­ter the UFO in­ci­dent in Roswell New Mex­ico, for what that’s worth — I take a back seat to no one in the time­honored prac­tice of Gore-mock­ery. In­deed, the idea that the Clin­ton cam­paign has tapped the one ma­jor po­lit­i­cal fig­ure who makes Hil­lary seem re­laxed, easy­go­ing and hip is funny on its face. If the two ap­pear to­gether, some might even re­spond, “Huh! I never no­ticed un­til now how sur­pris­ingly life­like Hil­lary Clin­ton is.” But there are a cou­ple of prob­lems here.

The first is a nar­row point. The Clin­ton cam­paign has ac­ti­vated Gore to woo mil­len­ni­als who are wor­ried about global warm­ing, not young peo­ple gen­er­ally. That makes a lot of sense. The head­lines about Clin­ton’s “mil­len­nial prob­lem” can be mis­lead­ing. Yes, she has a prob­lem with them, but it’s not that she’s los­ing the youth vote to Trump. She’s crush­ing Trump among young vot­ers by dou­ble dig­its. An ABC News/ Wash­ing­ton Post poll showed her beat­ing Trump among peo­ple ages 18-39 by a mar­gin of 5127. Another re­cent poll of likely mil­len­nial vot­ers ages 18-30 had Clin­ton lead­ing Trump by a 74-2 mar­gin among blacks, 71-6 among Asians, 64-9 among Lati­nos, and 41-31 among whites. Clin­ton will crush Trump among young vot­ers. Her prob­lem is that there may not be a lot of young peo­ple who vote. Democrats need young vot­ers.

If the le­gal vot­ing age in 2008 had been 35, John McCain would have beaten Barack Obama. Then there’s the broader point: It’s silly to talk about mil­len­ni­als as a ho­moge­nous group, not just racially but in most things. Sure, some gen­er­al­iza­tions are pos­si­ble about a co­hort that grew up with the in­ter­net ver­sus one that didn’t. But gen­er­a­tional stereo­typ­ing is the first refuge of lazy jour­nal­ists and peo­ple with low self-es­teem. Re­porters love to re­duce large seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tion to neat cat­e­gories be­cause it’s eas­ier to write broadly that way. It’s funny: When writ­ers over-gen­er­al­ize about race, eth­nic­ity or gen­der, con­tro­versy usu­ally fol­lows. But if you pre­tend you “know” some­one’s be­liefs and de­sires just by look­ing at their date of birth, no one blinks an eye.

As a mat­ter of logic, that’s a form of prej­u­dice, too. By no means am I sug­gest­ing that young peo­ple should take knee­jerk of­fense at ageism. Nor am I say­ing that young peo­ple are no dif­fer­ent than old peo­ple. Any­one who was young — which in­cludes every non-dead non-young per­son in the world — knows that youth has its good points and bad. But be­ing young is no ac­com­plish­ment. Which gets me to the point about self-es­teem. Peo­ple who take ex­ces­sive pride in be­ing a mem­ber of a gen­er­a­tion — any gen­er­a­tion — are ba­si­cally declar­ing that they have noth­ing bet­ter to brag about. There was no heroic “great­est gen­er­a­tion.”

Rather, there were a bunch of in­di­vid­ual peo­ple who did heroic things. If you spent D-Day drunk at a bar in Cleve­land, you get no more credit for storm­ing the beach at Nor­mandy than I do. Gore may help Hil­lary with mil­len­ni­als who con­sider him the pope of the Church of En­vi­ron­men­tal­ism (just as sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian so­cial­ist Bernie San­ders might help with mil­len­nial so­cial­ists). Mil­len­ni­als who think Gore is a plod­ding, sanc­ti­mo­nious huck­ster might say, “Hey it’s the ManBearPig guy!” That’s as it should be, be­cause any group of 74 mil­lion Amer­i­cans is go­ing to defy the sec­u­lar as­trol­ogy that passes as gen­er­a­tional anal­y­sis.

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