David Frum has a good post about why the GOP has so much trouble with top university students:
Today’s top students are motivated less by enthusiasm for Democrats and much more by revulsion from Republicans. It’s not the students who have changed so much. It’s the Republicans.
It’s worth reading full. Kevin Drum has a simpler explanation:
Older voters might be willing to accept Republican incoherence simply because it’s in their interest to do so and they don’t really care if the arguments make sense, but younger voters don’t have that same motivation. Republican magical thinking doesn’t really benefit them, so they’re just repelled by it.
It’s not just that Republican magical thinking doesn’t directly benefit young people in any tangible way. The bigger problem is that, values aside, this magical thinking is so easy to knock down. At universities where a bunch of bright young people are getting into late-night bull sessions by night and reading academic literature by day, these arguments have no chance of gaining traction. They fall down under any empirical attack. I don’t think politicians need to go around saying the most intellectually daring arguments out there, but they should have some substance behind them. Republicans increasingly rely on glass house arguments. Ambitious kids who think they know much more than they do are going to throw rocks. It would take someone with a lot fortitude to constantly want to play that sort of defense with your peer group.
Increasingly in my life, I simply end conversations when they veer into Republican fantasyland. I’m not going to argue about whether the Bush tax cuts added to the deficit or not. Either you base arguments on widely accepted factual premises or you don’t.