Bottom Story of the Day

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on May 19, 2015

Bottom Story of the Day

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.

Bottom Story of the Day
“American Viewers Getting More Chances to Watch Cycling on TV”–headline, Washington Times, May 15

Other Than That, the Story Was Accurate
“An obituary on May 7 about the longtime Democratic congressman Jim Wright described incorrectly a request President Ronald Reagan made to Mr. Wright in 1987, when Mr. Wright was speaker of the House. Reagan invited him to help develop a plan for peace in Nicaragua between the Sandinista government and the antigovernment contras – not to support aid to the contras.”–New York Times, May 18

What Would We Do Without Experts?
“Will Death Make Tsarnaev a Martyr? Experts Say It Depends”–headline, Associated Press, May 17

In the Long Run, We’re All Dead
“The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally.” So declares – optimistically or pessimistically, depending on your point of view–the headline of a Politico piece by Daniel McGraw, “a political writer living in Lakewood, Ohio.”

McGraw anticipates the obvious objection–that so is every other institution composed of mortals:

By combining presidential election exit polls with mortality rates per age group from the U.S. Census Bureau, I calculated that, of the 61 million who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, about 2.75 million will be dead by the 2016 election. President Barack Obama’s voters, of course, will have died too–about 2.3 million of the 66 million who voted for the president won’t make it to 2016 either. That leaves a big gap in between, a difference of roughly 453,000 in favor of the Democrats.

His point is that Republican voters skew older than Democratic ones, and thus are likelier to die during the four years between any two presidential elections. “If Republicans aren’t able to win over a larger share of the youth vote,” he claims, they’re doomed:

In 2012, there were about 13 million in the 15-to-17 year-old demo who will be eligible to vote in 2016. The previous few presidential election cycles indicate that about 45 percent of these youngsters will actually vote, meaning that there will about 6 million new voters total. Exit polling indicates that age bracket has split about 65-35 in favor of the Dems in the past two elections. If that split holds true in 2016, Democrats will have picked up a two million vote advantage among first-time voters. These numbers combined with the voter death data puts Republicans at an almost 2.5 million voter disadvantage going into 2016.

OK, but what if the Republican advantage among older voters is a function of age itself rather than of particular age cohorts? It never occurs to McGraw that those who were under 18 in 2012 aren’t the only ones who’ll be four years older four years later.

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”