I was reading an article in the Pew Research Center. It was talking about generational change.

For example, it showed a large increase in Gen Z Republicans saying blacks can't get ahead of whites because of racial discrimination compared to silents who identify as Republican. There was no significant increase in Democrats feeling this way by generation.

There are other issues where this happens. Why are Democrats more consistent among generations in views on social issues?

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    I challenge the generality you seem to be implying. You give a valid example but by and large the platform of the Democratic party platform today contains or at least is considering things completely outside the Overton Window just 15-20 years ago: green new deal, free tuition, open borders, etc. Not to mention ideas like economic globalization which would not have sat well with the AFL-CIO crowd when they wielded more influence in the party of yesteryear. 4 years ago Hillary Clinton could dismiss coal in a way her husband couldn't have gotten away with. Politics can make for strange alliances Oct 9, 2020 at 10:08
  • See for example the answers on this question. Oct 9, 2020 at 10:21

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"Conservative" literally means "no change"; to conserve. Young people tend to be more open to change. When those overlap, you get "inconsistency" as you phrase it. Older liberals are already susceptible to change via attitude instead of age, reducing the potential for an age/openness mismatch.

People don't typically spontaneously change their beliefs for no reason, without exposure to a new idea. Therefore, we can think of belief change as the illness caused by a virus loaded with new ideas that some are more susceptible to than others, by factors of exposure (socialization) and resistance (hardiness against new ideas; conservatism). Young people have a lot more involuntary social interaction from work, school, parties, and combined housing situations (roommates). The only one of those risk factors hitting older married people is work, resulting in less exposure to the new and competing ideas that drive change in beliefs.

While young conservatives might have a greater resistance to the "virus" taking hold from their political attitude, they can still be overwhelmed by the broad exposure they face, whereas older conservative's resistance to change, combined with lower exposure, tends to protect them, and changes in their political views are less common as a result.

Liberals and some young conservatives "catch it", while older conservatives don't, resulting in a mis-match by age among conservatives.

The whole process is called political socialization if you want to dig in even deeper.


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