By Christian Howard
Millennials are better known to some as the generation of entitlement and narcissism. Like it or not however, we are the future and the world needs us more than ever in the era of Trumplandia. Young people will be the ones most impacted by Trump’s shortsighted policy, but we also need to be the ones that turn the country in a different direction.
The 2016 election saw a voter turnout rate of 59.7% which is relatively low when compared to recent years. Many have turned to blaming the non-voters that refrained from voting due to political stubbornness. A lot of this blame in particular has been shifted upon the millennials. This though is not a fair assessment as the 18 to 29 year old age group was the only group to see gains in voter turnout, rising 1.1% since the 2012 election.
This small increase in turnout however did not end up fueling a Clinton victory. When all was said and done it came down to how we young people decided to vote. Republican voting in the millenials remained the same as the 2012 election at 37%, while the Democratic fell from 60% to 55%. Third party voting rose tremendously from 3% to 8%. You can see that Clinton with her campaign of maintaining the status quo was not able to attract young voters. Many of these disenfranchised voices turned to a third party entity as a protest against both candidates and in turn helped lead to Trump’s victory.
Though it seems the political protest of the millennials assisted Trump’s victory it also displayed how radically political ideology is changing in young people. Young people are ultimately angry at their uncertainty in society, injustice, and facing the brunt of a stagnating economy.
As a result of this they are moving very far left on the political spectrum. This could be seen through the overwhelming support for Sanders and the revolution he seemed to awaken in America, specifically its young citizens. Sanders losing the nomination resulted in many still not wanting to vote for Hillary and explains her loss of support and gain for the alternatives. Unity, increased participation, and more liberal candidates are a must for the Democrats if they wish to achieve the blue sweep as the millennials will play a huge role in their potential victory.
Millennials are seeking a fair economic climate and equal chances. Despite being the most educated of all generations they have not found the same opportunity of the past. The contract that was held between attaining a higher education and ending up with a job and comfortable at least middle class life has been broken.
Tuition rates have also reached all time highs in this period of unreliability of education and the value it holds in securing one’s future. Many members of older generations have already attained their job and home and now ignore the concerns of future Americans.
A sense of “I got mine, why can’t you get yours” has further driven the millennials’ want of change and systematic upheaval. Trump’s own support from young people can be explained by his campaign of “draining the swamp” and promising to alter the political scene in America. Resentment is brewing as costs rise for millennials, wages fall, opportunity vanishes, and self investment becomes meaningless.
This generation is also entirely against injustice. This should be seen as a redeeming quality of the generation, but also produced social justice warriors and overdone politically correct culture.
Labeling every action against your agenda as racist and xenophobic has taken away from the bigger picture. There is actual injustice in this world and nation, but instead many decide to enlist as keyboard warriors and wage online campaigns against minor post, comments, and details.
It is of grave importance that the millennials are able to organize themselves against larger injustice and not cry out against everything if they wish to produce any actual change.
Trumplandia is very obviously against the average millennial’s values and future. Though his victory can partially be attributed to the millennials, much backlash has occurred. A poll by the Harvard Kennedy School’s of Institute Politics revealed that after Trump’s first 100 days only 32% of millennials approved of his presidency. This come as no surprise as Donald’s approval rate has plummeted to 35% amongst all Americans while 43% of voters wish to begin the impeachment process. Millennials much like the rest of America do not stand with Trump and wish for his removal.
The dissatisfaction with Trump has become apparent with the number of protests against his presidency. The most notable of these protests involving young people being the Berkeley protests. These protests have devolved into riots and sparked senseless violence. Berkley has turned into a literal battleground and is not much help to either side’s case.
With young people realizing the necessity to unite and come together they must see that these riots are a setback. Simply attacking Trump supporters makes no difference and is a misuse of their political voice. These protests and rallies need to become much more organized and efficient if they hope to bring about any change and help reach out to the other side.
Hopefully Trumplandia will become nothing more than a small blemish on American history. The young will find their voice and be able to steer the country back on track, the old will understand the significance of ensuring a bright future for upcoming Americans, and the political system will see a massive overhaul. Us as young people need to continue to vote, resist, and do everything we can to reverse the effects of Trumplandia and better this nation.