In such a climate, some thoughtful liberals, such as Yale’s Jacob Hacker, suggest that progressives should avoid embracing an authoritarian, top-down ruling philosophy. “The Democrats have the presidency now,” he suggests, “[but] they won’t hold it forever.” They are essentially “feeding a beast” that, at some date, may turn against them with a vengeance.
This suspicion of “top down” solutions also extends even to one of the most critical parts of the Democratic base: the millennial generation. Although they have been a core constituency for Barack Obama, they appear to be drifting somewhat away from their lock-step support, with the presidential approval level, according to a recent study by the Harvard Institute of Politics, now under 50 percent.
Much of the problem, notes generational chronicler Morley Winograd, lies with millennials’ experience with government, which to them often seems clunky and ineffective. The experience with the ACA is not likely to enhance this view, Winograd suspects. “Millennials,” he notes, “have come to expect the speed and responsiveness from any organization they interact with that today’s high tech makes possible. Government, on the other hand, is handcuffed by procurement rules and layers of decision-making, from deploying much of this technology to serve citizens. The result is experiences with government, from long lines at the DMV office to the botched website rollout for Obamacare, causes millennials to be suspicious of, if not downright hostile to, government bureaucracies.”