Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign highlighted conservatism’s attraction to a wave of younger voters, as well as the willingness of blue-collar voters to abandon the party of their traditional economic champions in favor of one whose candidate expressed their cultural concerns. Gary Hart’s 1984 campaign presaged the emergence of socially liberal, fiscally moderate, reform-minded voters an increasingly potent force in Democratic politics. Trends aren’t yet as pronounced in Campaign 2012, but a few weeks on the trail have revealed some things that have interested this long-time political observer. One is the importance that coming-of-age voters attach to gay equality. You could see that in the repeated and persistent questions conservative cultural warrior Rick Santorum faced from younger voters in New Hampshire about his fervent anti-gay-marriage stance.
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