The Gray Revolt Against Trump

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President Trump is losing his fellow baby boomers. Their turnabout is the central reason he trails Joe Biden by a substantial — and apparently growing — margin.

Four years ago, Trump handily won his own generation, which is generally defined as being born between 1946 and 1964, while losing every younger generation. The Pew Research Center estimates that Trump beat Hillary Clinton by nine percentage points among voters 65 and older.

The latest polls this year show a radically different situation. A CNN poll released yesterday found Biden leading Trump by 21 points — 60 percent to 39 percent — among likely voters 65 and older. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday found an even bigger gap: 27 points. Dave Wasserman of The Cook Political Report calls it “the ‘gray revolt’ against Trump.”

Why is it happening? Older Americans began to drift away from Trump even before the coronavirus. Some don’t like his “chaotic and unconventional presidency,” as Ella Nilsen of Vox points out. Others may be more open to supporting Biden than Clinton — given his gender and what polls show to be his lower negativity ratings and less liberal image. Baby boomers also have experience living in a less polarized country, when vote switching was more common.

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But the virus seems to be a factor, too. Many older Americans understand that other countries have handled the virus better than the U.S. They are tired of the restrictions of pandemic life. And many boomers are afraid — for good reason, given that about 150,000 of the 210,000 confirmed U.S. virus deaths have occurred among people 65 or older.

There are only two age groups that continue to support Trump, according to Times polls conducted over the past month. The first is a narrow slice of people older than baby boomers, typically in their late 70s, who have long been conservative. The second is a group of middle-aged people who include the youngest boomers and the oldest members of Generation X:

The middle-aged group is less vulnerable to the disease than people over 65 (although they’re still vulnerable). The group is also more conservative than people under 40. Its members came of age during Jimmy Carter’s unsuccessful presidency, Ronald Reagan’s two terms in office and the U.S. triumph in the Cold War. My colleague (and fellow Generation Xer) Ross Douthat goes into more depth on conservative Xers here.

But winning only a couple of slices of the country’s age spectrum isn’t enough to win a presidential election. The CNN and NBC polls both showed Trump trailing by double digits nationwide. New polls yesterday showed him losing in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump keeps telling people that the virus is not as bad as they’ve heard. Older Americans aren’t buying it.

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  • Lives Lived: Eddie Van Halen’s hyperactive riffs and solos made him one of rock’s most influential guitarists, and paired perfectly with the hedonistic persona of his band, Van Halen. “He also scared the hell out of a million guitarists because he was so damn good,” the guitar player Joe Satriani said. Van Halen died Tuesday at 65.

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Four more states — New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota — may legalize marijuana this year through ballot initiatives. If they do, it would mean that one in three Americans lived in a state with where recreational marijuana is legal. It’s already legal in 11 states.

The change has been rapid. A decade ago, not a single state allowed recreational marijuana, and most Americans opposed it, polls showed. Today, 67 percent support legalization, according to a recent Pew poll.

What explains the shift? Some supporters of legalization point to changing opinions about criminal justice: Most Americans now oppose harsh sentences for drug offenses. Changing media coverage may also play a role: A recent study examined New York Times articles about marijuana from the 1980s through the 2010s and found that the focus had shifted from drug trafficking and abuse to medical use and politics.

“Gradually,” the study’s authors wrote, “the stereotypical persona of the marijuana user shifted from the stoned slacker wanting to get high to the aging boomer seeking pain relief.”

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Spruce up roasted chicken thighs with the zesty flavors of lemon, ginger and jalapeño. For extra crispy chicken skin, place the meat under the broiler for a few minutes after roasting. This recipe works well with chicken breasts, too.

If you’ve heard any new songs from the past three decades, you have probably heard part of the James Brown track “Funky Drummer,” which includes one of the most sampled breakbeats. It’s also extremely difficult to play.

Dylan Wissing, a drummer with credits on songs by Kanye West and Drake, is renowned for re-enacting famous rhythms. But there is one he hasn’t been able to crack yet: “Funky Drummer.” “It’s my Moby-Dick, my Mona Lisa, my Mount Everest,” he said.

The author Tana French doesn’t write genre books or thrillers. Instead, she writes “full-bodied novels in which crimes happen to have been committed,” Janet Maslin writes in a review of French’s latest work, “The Searcher.” The book revolves around Cal Hooper, a retired policeman who moves to western Ireland. After a local boy goes missing, mystery ensures.

Source NY Times

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