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April 25, 2023

Biden’s Lost Generation

Progressives have created a mentality of despair among young Americans.

The Biden era is turning America’s youngest voters, the “Zoomers,” into doomers.

They’re depressed and fearful — and their confidence in the nation’s institutions, from the police to the Supreme Court, is weakening. So is their support for Joe Biden.

Only 36% of Americans aged 18-29 approve of Biden’s job performance, according to a new poll by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.

Biden has only himself and his fellow progressives to blame.

They’ve created a mentality of despair among young Americans, who look on as crime soars but hear nothing but a drumbeat from liberal media outlets about how bad the cops are.

As a result, 48% of the Zoomers polled by IOP say they have felt unsafe in the past month — in shopping malls (16%), on public transportation (15%), in their neighborhoods (13%), and on their college campuses (21%).

More than 1 in 5 report feeling unsafe elsewhere in their city or town, too.

Citizens of all ages have reason to feel less safe as murders and carjackings surge.

But even heinous yet relatively rare crimes have become a source of persistent fear for young Americans, especially college women.

The political use to which Democrats put mass shootings, coupled with the wall-to-wall coverage these atrocities inevitably attract, has led 53% of college women to believe that they or someone close to them could be a victim of one.

Ordinary criminal violence is the far greater risk. But only 43% of the young people in IOP’s survey say that having police officers in their community makes them feel safer.

The media glare upon every police-involved killing, sensational coverage utterly disproportionate to the primary sources of violence in any community, is having an effect.

If young Americans don’t look to police as the solution to the violence that haunts their fears — and if they’re more likely to support gun control than to own guns for their own defense — then what hope do they have?

Little or none. IOP finds that 47% of young adults report “feeling down, depressed, or hopeless.” Nearly a quarter — 24% — said they had thoughts about hurting themselves or that they’d be better off dead.

The survey paints a grim picture of young Americans’ mental health. Fifty-four percent report “feeling nervous, anxious or on edge” for at least “several days” in the past two weeks. Forty-six percent said the same about taking “little interest or pleasure in doing things.”

“Loneliness” was the self-reported state of 44% of Zoomers; 42% felt “afraid as if something awful might happen”; and 34% were specifically worried about a mass shooting in a public place.

Progressive ideology is making great gains among Generation Z. Over the past decade of IOP surveys, young Americans’ support for stronger government measures against climate change, even at the cost of economic growth, has expanded from 29% to 50%.

There’s been double-digit growth in support for universal government health insurance (from 42 to 65%) and government guarantees for food and shelter (44 to 62%).

Unsurprisingly, in light of these other trends, the survey finds that only 42% of young Americans who grew up in conservative homes identify as Republican today, compared to 60% of those from liberal homes who identify as Democrats.

If Democrats are winning the war for the hearts and minds of America’s youth, however, the price of victory may be the poisoning of those same hearts and minds.

The party of hope and change has become the party of despair. For now, the Democrats have the votes of America’s young, yet those voters deem Biden a failure.

When the Roman historian Titus Livy judged his own time, as the ancient republic came to its end, he wrote, “We can endure neither our vices nor their cures.”

Having to live with the consequences of liberal policies, yet holding fast to left-wing beliefs, young Americans have created a similar paradox for themselves. One result is the widely reported fact that young liberals tend to be significantly more depressed than conservatives of the same generation.

Unless the next generation changes its mind, conservatives will lose a lot of elections. The Zoomers themselves will only lose hope.

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