Monday, October 08, 2018

Millennials Need to Kill Politics as We Know It

Among the biggest losers under the Trump/Pence regime and Republican Party is the Millennial generation.  Soon to be the largest voting block generation, to date they have surrendered their own best interests by failing to vote against politicians who are their enemies when it comes to economic benefits, environmental policies, and resisting discrimination.  Had Millennials turned out in the 2016 presidential election, the foul Cheetos colored occupant of the White House would have remained a reality TV character with no ability to harm the nation at large.  A piece at CNN looks at how the Millenials could upend conventional politics and send many toxic politicians into retirement.  Here are highlights:

Millennials could be one of the biggest political forces in America today, if they wanted.

Defined by Pew as those born between 1981 to 1996, millennials make up about 22% of the US population, and at some point between November's midterms and the 2020 election, they're expected to surpass baby boomers as America's largest living generation. They're a massive voting bloc, capable of setting policy priorities and swinging elections.  They're also grossly underrepresented in American politics.

They are "highly idealistic young people," he said, and their political rise coincides with "our country's worsening polarization and political dysfunction."  Millennials are drawn into politics over issues that affect them, like student debt, the economy, the environment, and health care, said Erin Loos Cutraro founder of She Should Run, a nonpartisan group that helps women run for office.

"Millennials especially want to put their time toward something they know they can change," she said.

That millennial attitude showed up in an Instagram post Wednesday by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was photographed for Vanity Fair. In the caption for the photo, she sounded more like a social media influencer than a typical politician, writing that she felt anxious and overwhelmed by her sudden fame after winning her New York primary.

Though millennials' experience varies widely by demographics, geography, and politics, they're a generation shaped by experiences like the Great Recession, high levels of student debt, and the rise of social media.

They are the most racially diverse generation and the most likely to live in metro areas. They're more likely to be unmoored from social institutions -- the most likely to be religiously unaffiliated and the least likely to be married. They're the least trusting of others. They're the most likely to live with their parents and not be in the workforce. They've been mocked in the culture for being given participation trophies they never asked for, and many feel as if they're inheriting a mess they didn't make.

Politically, millennials are the most independent generation. They're the least likely to see big differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, and a March Pew poll found 44% of millennials identify as independent, while 35% identify as Democrats and 17% as Republican.

Millennials are "rejecting the old partisan boxes, they're rejecting the old binary choices," Olikara, of the Millennial Action Project, said.

Once derided for their hashtag "slacktivism," movements powered in large part by millennials on social media have directed political action and activism towards causes like #LoveWins, #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo. It's perhaps an omen of what's to come.

Once millennials become a majority in Congress, Olikara said, "I think it's very likely that partisan identity will not be the driving force in American politics." Instead, he hopes, politics will be "more issue focused."

"We have a huge opportunity," he said.
  Let's hope they turnout in a major way next month and help flip control of Congress.

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