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Why Do Young Voters Love Ron Paul?

It's not because they're potheads. It's because they're sick of America's militaristic misadventures.

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Nonetheless, there are two good pieces of news in all this.

First, whereas in earlier eras such establishment hostility to a politician’s position could prevent that candidate from making a serious run for president, polls show Paul’s foreign-policy message is likely getting through to a key demographic, giving him a genuine shot at his party’s nomination.

Second, whether Paul eventually wins the GOP nomination or not, the trends embedded in his current electoral coalition will affect our politics long after his candidacy is over — and even if you don’t support Paul’s overall candidacy, that’s a decidedly positive development for those who favor a new foreign policy. (A brief side note: This article is in no way a personal endorsement of Paul’s overall campaign — I have serious problems with some of his economic positions.)

With the defense budget bankrupting our budget and with our  imperialist foreign policy making us less safe, the younger generation’s rejection of hubris and hyper-militarism — and that generation’s willingness to support candidates in  both parties who similarly reject that militarism — provides a rare ray of hope in these political dark ages. And not just a fleeting hope — but a long-term one.

As the Pew data show, the younger generation, whose foreign policy views were shaped not by World War II triumphalism but by grinding quagmires like Iraq and Afghanistan, has a far more realistic view of America’s role in the modern world. While that position may shift somewhat over the years, the numbers are striking enough to suggest an impending cultural break from the past. As the younger generation assumes more powerful positions in society and more electoral agency in our democracy, the possibility of such a break gives us reason to believe America can create a new foreign policy paradigm in our lifetime.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books Hostile Takeover and The Uprising . He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @davidsirota.

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