6. The politics of guns
Scenes from Saturday's "March for Our Lives" protests across the country sparked an online debate about whether these young activists would take their anti-gun fervor to the ballot box in 2018. (Historically, it's much easier to pinpoint races where the pro-gun side has shaped the outcome than it is to find elections where passion for gun control has helped a candidate win.)
Short-term view: Amy Walter tweeted yesterday: "We'll know that the gun-control issue is politically potent one for Dems when they start campaigning on it in the swing CDs [congressional districts] they need to win control of Congress.
- National Journal's Ron Brownstein responded to Walter's tweet: "Not viable everywhere, but if they [Democrats] don't in the white-collar seats atop their target list, it would be political malpractice. Gun ownership much less common in suburbs & in latest NBC/WSJ 2/3 of people in households w/out guns disapprove of Trump & 2/3 plan to vote D 4 Congress."
Longer-term view: Brownstein, a student of the demographic changes roiling American politics, published a piece on CNN that's worthy of your time. Responding to Saturday's anti-gun marches, Brownstein writes:
- "Don't look now, but here comes the post-millennial generation...in their racial diversity, attitudes toward religion and culture, their digital fluency and their political priorities, this emerging generation — usually called the post-millennials, sometimes labeled Generation Z — might shake American life even more profoundly than the millennials.
- "For Republicans who have nervously watched polls showing an enormous backlash against President Donald Trump's insular nationalism among the millennials, this younger generation could represent an even greater threat.
- "By 2024 — just two presidential elections from now — the generation of young people that includes the students organizing a march on Washington next month to demand gun control will represent 1 in every 10 eligible voters."
Defining the debate: "Most definitions of the millennial generation start with young people born in 1981. Some demographers, such as those at the Pew Research Center, say the millennial generation stops and the post-millennials begin with anyone born in 1998 or after; another, somewhat more widely accepted, definition starts the post-millennial generation with young people born in 2001 or after."