Liberal democracies in western world need to make sure they do not become populist gerontocracies with changing demographics creating elderly ‘Gerrymandering’ where influence and numbers of older voters (with short term horizons) increasing proportionally over younger generations with longer term interests but less voice and influence.
From Alan Stokes of Fairfax round 2016 elections:
One startling statistic shows why 65+ voters hold all the power at this election – and it will only get worse for the young’uns.
This election will not be decided by modern issues or fashionable personalities. It will not be aimed at the nation’s future. It will be about living in the past.
The 2016 election will be decided more than any other by Australia’s elderly.
We have seen a surge in the share of voters aged 65 and over – wartime children and now baby boomers, many of whom once burnt bras, voted for Whitlam, had a day off work when Alan Bond won the America’s Cup in 1983 but then backed John Howard, pocketed huge superannuation tax breaks from the mining boom, banked capital gains from home ownership and negative gearing, and can afford to say now that 70 is the new 50……
…One startling statistic defines this reversal of the 1960s-70s-80s generation gap.
Since Kevin07 rode youthful exuberance to victory nine years ago, the number of enrolled voters aged 18-24 has increased 7.9 per cent, reflecting some improvement in encouraging younger people to enrol.
But the number of enrolled voters aged 65 and over has increased 34 per cent.
Yes, oldies are out-growing young’uns by a ratio of more than four to one….
…As I wrote last week, the youth have good reason to be revolting. The 65+ voter demographic makes up 22 per cent of the vote this time – more than twice the 10.6 per cent for 18- to 24-year-olds….
…..These revelations are not intended to deny the elderly their voice. Rather, they raise questions about the morality of voting for self-interest when you will not be around to carry the burden of your decisions.
The median projection from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest the numbers of Australians aged 65+ will have increased by 84.8 per cent between 2011 and 2031. The proportion of the population 65+ will have increased from 13.8 per cent to 18.7 per cent….
….And what if parties realise they can win elections by kow-towing to the older demographic and downplaying issues that matter to younger Australians? We have seen this already on same-sex marriage, a republic, climate change and housing affordability….
….Expect to see more youthful candidates revolting against the demographic demons. We can only hope they can get through to older voters because the future belongs to the children, not the parents and grandparents.
Such is life …
Meanwhile in Europe:
Oct 10, 2018 | EDOARDO CAMPANELLA
MILAN – The right-wing populism that has emerged in many Western
democracies in recent years could turn out to be much more than a blip on the
political landscape. Beyond the Great Recession and the migration crisis, both of
which created fertile ground for populist parties, the aging of the West’s
population will continue to alter political power dynamics in populists’ favor.
It turns out that older voters are rather sympathetic to nationalist movements.
Older Britons voted disproportionately in favor of leaving the European Union,
and older Americans delivered the US presidency to Donald Trump. Neither the
Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland nor Fidesz in Hungary would be in power
without the enthusiastic support of the elderly. And in Italy, the League has
succeeded in large part by exploiting the discontent of Northern Italy’s seniors.
Among today’s populists, only Marine Le Pen of France’s National Rally (formerly
the National Front) – and possibly Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil – relies on younger
…Most likely, a growing sense of insecurity is pushing the elderly into the populists’
arms. Leaving aside country-specific peculiarities, nationalist parties all promise
to stem global forces that will affect older people disproportionately.
For example, immigration tends to instill more fear in older voters, because they
are usually more attached to traditional values and self-contained communities.
Likewise, globalization and technological progress often disrupt traditional or
legacy industries, where older workers are more likely to be employed.
At best we are observing very cynical politics, influencers and media endeavouring to confuse, create fear and anxiety amongst older demographics round populist themes such as immigration, globalisation, nativism and identity.