[A] recent USA Today/Rock the Vote poll that shows Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by 56 percent to 20 percent among voters under 35. Let that sink in. Trump is supported by 1 in 5 younger voters — an astonishing and consequential collapse for the GOP. Though the young don’t turn out at election time with the same frequency as older voters, they always get (and deserve) particular attention from the parties. In the long run, younger voters are older voters. In the long run, older voters are . . . companions to John Maynard Keynes.So why is Trump crashing and burning among the young? The 2016 election excludes some explanations. It cannot be that Clinton is making an inspiring, Barack Obama-esque appeal to youthful idealism. . . . Sanders bested Clinton among 17-to-29-year-old Democrats by 84 percent to 14 percent. . . .
And it cannot be that younger voters are rejecting Trump because he is too socially conservative. He got applause during his convention speech for promising to defend “LGBTQ citizens.”
I would venture that Trump’s failure among the young has something to do with his assault on the idea of tolerance, particularly racial and religious tolerance. Younger voters are less likely than other age groups to regard racially inclusive language as “politically correct.” They are less likely to believe in “reverse discrimination” and to embrace anti-immigrant attitudes. And, according to the USA Today/Rock the Vote survey, they were not impressed by the GOP nominee’s convention speech. By more than 2 to 1, younger voters said it made Trump seem less human and accessible.
While Clinton has an ethics problem, Trump has a humanity problem. . . . . It is one thing to go after “low-energy” Jeb Bush or “Lyin’ ” Ted Cruz; it is another to mock a disabled reporter, stereotype Mexicans as rapists, condemn a judge because of his ethnicity, attack the faith of a grieving Gold Star mother, or call for systematic discrimination against Muslims. These are not violations of political correctness. They are violations of human decency, revealing serious moral impairment.
Young people understand the logo of the Republican nominee — the very name of the Republican presidential candidate — as conveying a message of exclusion.
These are the first serious political impressions of my younger son, voting in his first presidential election this year. It is the way to lose a generation.