Millennials Navigate Politics

Megan Pociask
Staff Writer

PC: Wikimedia Commons

As the largest generation in the United States, there is no question that millennials inevitably have a strong impact on the overall political stance of the nation. They are the generation that grew up witnessing 9/11, the intense, rapid growth of social media and a major economic recession, and therefore, the millennial’s political identity is more definitive than given credit.

A 2014 study reported by Vox suggested that the millennial generation was a mixed bag of differing, contradictory opinions. However, a closer look proves otherwise.

To paint a picture of their economic views, at the time of this study, 58 percent of millennials wanted to see tax cuts, although at the same time, 66 percent thought it would be a good move to raise taxes on the wealthy—an ideological trend that has become even more popular in recent years.

The nuances of politics can easily create distinct separations of views, although it is not impossible to simultaneously achieve both distinct outlooks mentioned earlier.

Despite having extremely specific political opinions and making up about 22 percent of the United States population, there are only eight millennials in the House of Representatives and not a single one in the Senate.

Contributing to the lack of political participation alongside the millennial generation being severely underrepresented in Congress, according to the Pew Research Center, they are also fairly inactive voting participants. During the 2016 elections, only around half of  eligible millennials exercised their right to vote.

Regardless of these low numbers, millennials still have huge potential to work towards political changes. With the benefit of having a large online presence, within recent years the nation has seen millennials take advantage of their social media savviness to launch cultural movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the few millennials in the House, is utilizing her social media platform to connect and further engage the nation’s younger generations. Recently gracing the cover of Vanity Fair, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proving that with modernizing times, modernizing political campaigns to gain the attention of U.S. citizens is crucial.

Millennials have already managed to change the narrative in a world that once criticized them for being more present online than in reality. While the United States president’s main source of communication to help polarize the public is Twitter, a Pew Research Poll found that millennials are actually largely unaffected. They are most independent generation among Generation X-ers, Baby Boomers and the Silent generation.

Bipartisan political cooperation among millennials in and out of Congress does not come without its own set of challenges. Quorum’s research found that currently the average American is around twenty years younger than their congressional representative, creating an obvious discord along generational experiences, and therefore, important legislative moves.

Even with these challenges, millennials are still in the lead in terms of how they identify politically, despite having a slight Democratic advantage among the leanings of millennial independents. This means that once millennials manage to become more engaged on Capitol Hill, their efforts to achieve agreements across the aisle are exceptionally possible.



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