Friday, August 04, 2017

Millennials Have The Voting Power (But Aren't Using It)

In 2015, the Millennial generation outnumbered the previous largest generation (Baby Boomers) for the first time -- and that gap will continue to grow. That means the Millennials should have a large say in who gets elected to office in this country. But they don't, because they aren't using the voting power they now have.

In the 2016 election, only 49% of Millennials voted -- making them 25% of the voters in that election. By comparison, about 69% of Baby Boomers voted -- making them 34% of the voters in the election. Democrats have a significant advantage among Millennials, but that advantage is useless until they can convince them to vote in much larger numbers.

Here is just part of an article on this by Stephanie Akin in Roll Call:

A report from the Pew Research Center published this week found that millennials and Generation X voters outnumbered baby boomers and older generations for the first time ever in the 2016 presidential election. The report marks the latest milestone in a trend that demographers say will keep building for at least another 20 years. And while Pew includes Gen X voters in its report, millennials alone outnumber boomers as a whole and are driving the trend.

The population shift has yet to make a mark in elections. That’s partly because young people are less likely to vote. . . .

“We have these two broad camps in America, one of them is older, whiter and more conservative and the other is younger, browner and more liberal,” said Paul Taylor, author of “The Next America,” which looked at the widening generation gap and the changes it would bring to American life. . . .

Those statistics would indicate that Democrats already have a vast advantage. The problem is that — so far — they don’t vote at rates comparable to other generations.

“Millennials continue to punch below their weight,” Taylor said.

Millennials overtook baby boomers last year as the country’s largest generation and also caught up to them as a share of the U.S. electorate. But they cast only 25 percent of the votes in November, Pew has found. And election turnout among millennials is expected to drop by more than half in 2018.

The outcome of next year’s midterms, and future congressional elections, could depend in large part on whether political organizers can motivate millennials to turn up, said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, the director of CIRCLE at Tufts University. 

“Especially in congressional elections, there’s just not enough attention paid to the importance of mobilizing young people,” she said. . . .

But so far, the data show that young people are not that motivated, Kawashima-Ginsberg said. A survey conducted by her organization last year found that while about 75 percent of young people were paying attention to the presidential election, only a quarter were paying attention to congressional elections

Reactions to the Trump administration could shift the tide, she said.

Trump, with his crackdown on border security, travel ban on nationals from certain Muslim-majority countries, and attempt to ban transgender people from the military, has made little effort to craft social policies that would appeal to many younger voters, Kawashima-Ginsberg and other observers said. 

In response, some liberal groups have stepped up efforts to recruit young people for leadership training programs and encourage them to run for office, according to Kawashima-Ginsberg. As young voters see more candidates who look like them and share their values, she said, they could be more likely to participate. 

But the reverse is also possible: Young people who don’t feel that either party represents their interests could give up on politics altogether, she said.

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