There is an old saying that if you’re not a liberal when you’re young, then you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative when you’re old, you have no brain.
The idea, of course, is that liberalism is a game for the youth and that age brings security, stability and a natural resistance to change. The upshot, in American politics, is that while most voters might start on the center-left, with Democrats, they’ll end their political journey on the center-right, with Republicans. One party represents disruption and change; the other party represents a steady hand and the status quo.
Or at least that’s the story. The reality is a little more complicated. Not only does our narrative of political change over time exaggerate the degree of rightward drift among different people as they age, but there’s also good evidence that for the youngest generations of Americans, it is hardly happening at all.
Read the full article at The New York Times.