The Generation Gap: Why Gen X is Trump’s Strongest Support Base


Donald Trump’s strongest support base is among Generation X, with 45- to 65-year-olds opting for him over Joe Biden by 19 points, a stark contrast to the narrow margins among Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Generation Z.

This intergenerational divide has sparked fervent debate among Twitter-savvy pundits, leading to a wealth of speculation and recrimination. However, a simpler explanation for this phenomenon lies in the tangible real-world reasons why Gen X might prefer the Republican Party over the Democratic Party led by Biden.

Gen X individuals have achieved greater stability, with lower student loan debt, higher likelihood of marriage in their 20s, and younger ages of having children. In fact, the average age at first marriage in the early 2000s was around 25 for women and slightly higher for men, indicating that average Gen Xers secured employment and married before the age of 35.

The Generation X demographic also coincides with the peak of the baby boom period, which has had a lasting impact on the demographic makeup of the country. Additionally, the subsequent decline in birth rates beginning in 2007 has resulted in significantly lower birth rates.

Those who pursued traditional family formation and career pathways during their prime working years are now predominantly Republicans. Trump expanded the child tax credit, and under his administration, the economy experienced notable growth with low inflation.

In contrast, millennials prioritize national politics, focusing on issues they deem relevant to their communities rather than their own personal lives. This generational fixation on national policy has led many to overlook the realities of family and neighborhood life.

As columnist Matthew Yglesias observed, this phenomenon could be seen as a product of Gen X nihilism. For those who care more about their personal lives, such as family and community, Republicans may appear as the more appealing choice, particularly when considering the stark contrast between Trump’s presidency and Biden’s actions.

Under Trump, the economy was perceived as more normal, allowing individuals to mind their own affairs without the constant drama of national politics. Conversely, the Democrat-led agenda, championed by Biden, has forced Americans to navigate the devastating consequences of lockdowns, school closures, and the introduction of divisive ideologies in classrooms.

Perhaps the simplest explanation for this electoral divide lies in the desire for a return to normalcy. For those seeking stable family lives, Republican policies may be deemed more appealing, particularly among older generations.

Timothy P. Carney
Timothy P. Carney
Timothy P. Carney is a senior political columnist and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of Family Unfriendly: How Our Culture Made Raising Kids Much Harder Than It Needs to Be, Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse, The Big Ripoff, and Obamanomics.

Latest stories


Related Articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!
Continue on app