Michael Barone

But they also say that Millennials favor systems that give them lots of choices. They want to mouse-click on the option they prefer. This, of course, is in conflict or at least tension with systems in which government makes choices for you. If young voters' positive disposition to government programs gives Democrats an opening, their preference for choices gives Republicans one, too.

As it happens, we have a recent example, the Medicare prescription drug program passed in 2003. Democrats wanted government to negotiate prices and thought that seniors would hate to choose between plans. But even the elderly, who grew up in an America where big institutions -- the U.S. military, big corporations, giant labor unions -- made choices for them, turned out to be satisfied with the choices they had under Medicare Part D. You haven't heard the Democratic presidential candidates campaigning much against it this cycle.

My sense is that voter preferences on issues like the economy and health care will depend on discussion and debate that haven't taken place yet. Voters have been concentrating on the curriculum vitae and character of the candidates, and the candidates themselves have made little in the way of argument for their positions. It's not immediately obvious what fiscal policy or health care policies voters want. It's less "the economy, stupid," than "the economy, huh?"


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM