I’ve no idea how one would go about proving this, but I’ve often wondered how much a pure “Silent Generation” explanation of modern conservatism would get you. If you just assume those folks have on the whole always been reactionary, it sort of makes sense: the late ’40s and ’50s were when both were just starting to show up on the radar; gradual increase until they became the fat center of the population curve in the 1980s, followed by a palpable dip in influence in the 1990s before they became old folks and reasserted themselves (because old folks vote, you know). This is about as oversimplified as it gets but it does happen to fit the facts. It would be surprising if this wasn’t a part of the story of conservatism, the question is, how much a part?

If this was/is a big part of the story of conservatism, then it basically has two implications: (1) that the tough-on-crime, hawkish, neolib DLC pivot was completely hopeless and trying to solve an unsolvable math problem, and (2) that within a decade we’re going to see some interesting changes in the political outlook here.

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