Trump does a complete 180

Plus: Young voters aren't as liberal as you think.

1. A Big Shift on Mail-In Voting

Donald Trump has called mail-in voting a “scam” and blamed it for his 2020 election loss, but now he’s backing an absentee, mail and early voting initiative by the Republican National Committee. (WaPo)

Trump in a new video promoting the RNC’s “Swamp the Vote” campaign: “Many Republicans like to vote on Election Day, and we must swamp the radical Democrats with massive turnout on Tuesday, November 5th. … If we swamp them, they can’t cheat. It just doesn’t work out. But if you can’t make it, you need to make a plan, register and vote any way possible.”

The Republican State Leadership Committee, in collaboration with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, is also promoting early and mail voting, crediting it with reducing losses in state legislative races.

The GOP’s messaging on vote by mail has been a mixed bag in recent years.

  • Republicans in some states have launched campaigns to boost trust in mail-in voting.

  • Meanwhile, just last month the RNC filed a lawsuit to block some mail ballots from being counted.

The stats: A CNN poll in April showed only 18% of Republicans prefer mail-in voting, compared to 37% of Democrats and 32% of independents.

  • In the 2020 election, 58% of Biden voters voted by mail, while only 32% of Trump voters did.

According to a 2020 study conducted by researchers at Stanford and Princeton, “1) universal vote-by-mail does not appear to affect either party’s share of turnout, 2) universal vote-by-mail does not appear to increase either party’s vote share.”

  • The study also found that vote by mail increases turnout by roughly 2 percentage points in presidential elections.

2. Republican Kids Less Keen on College

There’s an interesting wrinkle to the current college enrollment crisis. (The Missing Data Depot)

College enrollment dropped by 15% (from 18.1 million to 15.4 million) between 2010 and 2021, per the National Center for Education Statistics.

  • Freshmen enrollment increased slightly from 2021 to 2022 but remains below pre-pandemic levels.

  • The drop in the college-going rate since 2018 is the steepest on record, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meanwhile, the share of high school students who aren’t interested in going to college has been on the rise.

  • High school seniors with no interest in college increased from 18% to 28% between 2011 and 2022, according to a Monitoring the Future survey.

Political blogger KW of The Missing Data Depot:

So why are high school students suddenly disinterested in college? The most commonly cited culprits are non-college career opportunities, costs and COVID. Yet, these explanations ignore two critical facts about growing disinterest in pursuing higher education: nearly all of the increase has happened since 2010 and nearly all of the increase has happened among Republican high school students.

This chart based on Monitoring the Future survey data illustrates the point:

Chart: Monitoring the Future

The dip in college interest among high school Republicans happened as university faculties became even more dominated by liberals.

Around the same period, campus radicalism increased: Since 2013, there have been an average of 48 deplatforming attempts per year from the political left, up from 8 per year between 1998 and 2012, per the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

Related: Applications to Ivy League colleges in the Northeast (whose students are overwhelmingly liberal) dipped this year.

  • On the other hand, applications to Southern universities increased by 42%, with public Southern schools up 62.4%.

Bubba’s Two Cents

There was a pretty major cultural shift that took place at American universities sometime in the early 2010s, and we’re starting to see the ramifications of that shift. This year alone we’ve been treated to Ivy League university presidents’ controversial testimony before Congress, radical campus demonstrations and flip-flops on standardized testing. Given all that’s happened, it’s hard not to come away with the impression colleges are in a state of upheaval.

3. A Trend in Right-Wing Business

Right-wing companies have pulled in significant funding from investors betting on discontented conservative consumers, yet many of these businesses are struggling. (The Righting)

Rumble: The YouTube competitor’s net loss increased by 85% to $43.3 million in Q1 2024.

  • Revenue grew less than 1% to $17.7 million.

  • The company’s stock fell 35.1% in the past 12 months.

Public Square: Net losses ($12.6 million) for the e-retail startup were up 88% in Q1 2024.

  • Shares for the company were down 69.1% over a year.

Salem Media Group: In Q1 2024, net losses for the conservative media giant reached $5.2 million.

  • Revenue fell 7.7% to $58.6 million, with radio broadcasting revenue down 4.6%.

  • Over the past 12 months, Salem’s stock is down 71.3%.

Trump Media: In the first quarter of 2024, Trump Media and Technology Group, which operates Truth Social, reported a revenue of just $770,500 with a net loss of $327.6 million.

Glorifi: The conservative banking startup, which raised about $50 million and was once valued at approximately $1.7 billion, shut down in 2022 after a failed merger.

Bubba’s Two Cents

I believe the demand is real, and that a lot of Americans are willing to pull out their wallets and change their habits to support companies more in line with their worldview. There are some apparent success stories for commodities like coffee or razors, but those are small in the grand scheme of things. In most instances, however, it seems like the product and user experience is secondary to the ideological side of the business.

4. Debunking a Narrative About Young Voters

Despite the stereotype of young people being radical liberals, survey data paints a more complex picture. (Slow Boring)

A Blueprint poll: 31% of young voters identify as moderate, 36% as liberal and 33% as conservative.

  • Even among college-educated young people, 33% are very liberal, and 50% are conservative or moderate.

  • Top issues for young people: inflation (73%), healthcare (71%), jobs and the economy (70%), government spending and deficit (63%).

  • Least important: China (27%), college (37%), LGBTQ issues (38%), student loans (38%), Ukraine (39%).

Yale University student and researcher Milan Singh: “No matter how you slice the demographics, the median young voter self-identifies as a moderate.”

Bubba’s Two Cents

Sure, young people tend to be more liberal than older generations of Americans. But they’re not all blue-haired Starbucks baristas crowing about climate change and wearing keffiyehs. The mainstream media (which is constantly suggesting that President Biden needs to veer left if he wants to win over young voters) and conservatives both share misconceptions about what young people believe.

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