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Chesapeake, VA (PRWEB) October 31, 2006 -- 29-year-old Britt Gillette doesn't view himself as a trendsetter, but many political analysts would disagree. Gillette is part of a growing demographic of 18 to 35-year-olds who grew up listening to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Now of voting age, these "Rush Babies" comprise a significant portion of the Republican Party base, and their political activism threatens to upset the conventional wisdom of an easy victory for Democrats this November.
Gillette is the perfect example of the Rush Baby phenomenon. A daily listener of The Rush Limbaugh Show since age 12, he penned The Dittohead's Guide to Adult Beverages, a political humor book for fellow Limbaugh fans. He describes himself as ideologically conservative, eager to vote, and proud to be a dittohead. As the 2006 mid-term elections near, he'll be rooting for a Republican victory. "I'm making phone calls, educating friends and neighbors, doing whatever I can to ensure conservatives vote on election day," he says. Gillette dismisses claims of an impending landslide victory for Democrats. "The liberal media wants us to believe Republicans are staying home, but that's just wishful thinking," he says. "We're more energized than ever."
Recent voting patterns seem to support Gillette's argument. According to Parties, Electoral Participation, and Shifting Voting Blocs by MIT's Andrea Louise Campbell, "about one-third of young people in recent years identify as Republicans, just slightly lower than among other age groups." This hasn't always been the case. Gillette points out that not long ago young people and college campuses were viewed as bastions of liberal thought with the majority of younger voters supporting Democrats. "In the 1980's, Michael J. Fox became a household name playing the role of an out-of-the-mainstream Young Republican," he says. "But Young Republicans are no longer the minority. Today they're commonplace, and most are Rush Babies."
In fact, Michael J. Fox and Rush Limbaugh became the center of a nationwide controversy this past week when Limbaugh criticized Fox's appearance in a Missouri campaign ad favoring passage of a stem cell research initiative. Many viewed Limbaugh as unfairly critical of Fox, but Gillette thinks it's the media's portrayal of Limbaugh that's been unfair. "I listen to Rush every day, and his words have been totally mischaracterized," he says. "Listening to the news anchors, you would think he was making fun of Fox for having Parkinson's. That's completely untrue." Gillette views negative media coverage of Limbaugh as symptomatic of a widespread liberal media bias, one that makes him more determined than ever to see Republicans prevail at the polls. If enough Rush Babies feel the same way, political pundits could be in for a rude awakening come election day.
Since The Rush Limbaugh Show reached critical mass in the early 1990's, Republicans have gained seats in 2 of the 3 mid-term elections for a net gain of 57 seats. Gillette thinks that's a statistic Democrats would be unwise to ignore heading into the 2006 elections. "The pundits are quick to identify each election's key demographic," he says. "First it was soccer moms, then NASCAR dads, then evangelicals." But this particular Rush fan thinks the pundits would be better off if they paid attention to the Rush Babies instead. "To me, there's no doubt who the key demographic is. To paraphrase James Carville ? it's the Rush Babies, stupid. It's the Rush Babies."
About Britt Gillette:
Britt Gillette is author of The Dittohead's Guide to Adult Beverages (Regnery Publishing, 2005), a political humor book for fans of The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Author of The Dittohead's Guide to Adult Beverages
National Agricultural Research
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