In the 2016 presidential election, millennials will be given the opportunity to shape define the United States of America for generations to come. It will be up to millennials to decide whether this country leans liberal for a generation, or if this country will lean conservative for a generation. As many know, this is an election like no other in history with its crazy antics and grade school bullying, but one interesting aspect of this election that makes it different than any other election in recent history is that millennials have now surpassed the baby boomer generation as the nation’s largest living generation which makes it evident just how instrumental millennials will be in this year’s presidential election.
Millenials have the opportunity to decide the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, but does that mean they will? Even though millennials have now surpassed baby boomers, they are still the generation with the fewest percentage actually heading to the polls. Andrew Soergel points out, “Millenials, or the demographic between the ages of 18 and 35, are often discussed as if they're a separate species, with their own unique values, wants and needs that politicians can either cater to or overlook entirely. And typically, the latter strategy hasn't been a terrible one, considering only 38 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 years old and 49.5 percent of those between the ages of 25 and 44 years old turned out to vote in 2012, according to the Census Bureau” (Soergel). The fact is, millennials just do not show up at the polls… so will they show up this year? Will millennials take advantage of the opportunity they have to change the outcome of this election?
Bethany Lemmons, a dear friend, says in many ways this is the biggest election we have ever had. “We have the chance to vote for Hillary Clinton, the most qualified candidate to ever run for president, or vote for the least qualified candidate to ever run for president, Donald Trump. So what happens in this election will determine the course of united states and we, millennials, play such a big part in that. We have the chance to vote for the most qualified person ever, but if my generation will take up the offer, I do not know”, she explains.
In a recent USA TODAY poll, Clinton trounced Trump 56%-20% among those under 35. Susan Page of USA TODAY points out, “The findings have implications for politics long past the November election. If the trend continues, the Democratic Party will have scored double-digit victories among younger voters in three consecutive elections, the first time that has happened since such data became readily available in 1952. That could shape the political affiliations of the largest generation in American history for years to follow” (Page). Trump's numbers among millennial voters is unlike anything seen before, lower even than the 32% of the vote that the Gallup Organization reports Richard Nixon received among 18-to-29-year-old voters in 1972, an era of youthful rebellion and protests against the Vietnam War.
Tyler Wilson, a millennial and young republican says he doesn’t know if he will support Donald Trump in this election. “I saw a button not long ago that read ‘Republicans for Hillary. Principals before Party’… this summed up my thoughts exactly. I come from a family of republicans, most will be supporting Trump, but I just don’t know if I can. I don’t know if it is a generational thing or not, but I just cannot find myself to vote for Trump after some of the things he has said such as claiming that John McCain was not a war hero because he was captured. This is the republican nominee for President, yet he sounds like no other republican in my lifetime.” Wilson went on to explain that he feels the republican party has no place for millenNials. “After seeing what has happened in this election cycle and witnessing how the republican party has become the party of Donald Trump, I do not believe there will be a republican party in twenty years from now because they are turning millennial republicans like myself off”, says Wilson.
According to the Atlantic, “a recent survey of Millennials in 11 battleground states released by Baumann’s firm, the Global Strategy Group, for Project New America and NextGen Climate presents the same daunting contrast for Clinton. In that survey, 75 percent of Millennials say they view Trump unfavorably, 73 percent describe him as a ‘racist,’ and 70 percent say he is ‘unfit to protect our country from major threats’” (Atlantic). Regardless of polls showing record lows for Trump among millennials, they are not the greatest for Clinton either. None of the national polls show Clinton approaching Obama’s 60 percent vote share with Millenials last time. Among all of them, just the Global Strategy Group survey show her in the four-way race equaling or exceeding Obama’s 23 percentage point advantage among members of that generation. While the latest Global Strategy Group survey found some improvement for Clinton compared to the firm’s first poll in July, she is by no means where she needs to be” explains the Atlantic (Atlantic).“Millenials need to realize how big this is. This is a game changer,” says student Branyon Jones, “On one end we have a moderate woman with amazing accomplishments and an incredible resume and then on the other end, we have a far right fascist man who says terrible things…. terrible things. He says he wants to ban Muslims from this country, he wants to deport 11 million people, and he mocks people with disabilities. You cannot do that as president. Millenials do not realize how big and how dangerous this is. He goes on to explain, “as millennials, we think we have erased racism and difficulties of such, but when you see that Donald Trump is even an option for president and the hate he has brought forth, you have to question is racism and sexism really gone? The answer is NO! We have work to do and it is up to us as a generation to decide where this country goes.”