According to a recent national poll, nearly one in four of Millennial participants would prefer to have a giant meteor strike Earth than to see either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
Earlier in this election cycle, the Millennial generation supported Bernie Sanders. They thought he was speaking to them, not at them, and they felt the Bern. When there was disagreement, he listened in an effort to solve the problems at hand. Young people respected Sanders and what he stood for. They’re still mourning the loss of their idealism and the possibilities.
Enthusiasm about voting is decreasing as this negative campaign enters the final weeks. And the impact of the attacks that have defined the election is apparent. The downbeat mood of Millennials sharply contrasts with their 2008 optimism, when Barack Obama’s message of hope and change drew the support of 66% of voters under the age of 30.
With less than 3 weeks to go before the election, the Millennials still aren’t fired up. Many who have not been gainfully employed since graduating from college are carrying a financial and emotional burden. They’re frustrated, knowing that some industries and jobs aren’t coming back. At the same time, they’re anxious to move out of their parents’ basements and move forward with their lives.
There is broad agreement about what the Presidential candidates’ top priorities should be: jobs and the economy, college affordability, health care, civil rights, national security, foreign policy/terrorism. Like other generations, the Millennials have little interest in being sold either the same old dream or unrealistic promises. Still longing for innovation but discouraged or apathetic, their response about election day is “I’m not voting.”
As a last-ditch effort, activists are urging Millennials to focus on state and local elections where the officials make decisions about police and school issues that directly affect them. At a recent rally, Michelle Obama warned, “We cannot afford to be tired or turned off…. And we cannot afford to stay home on Election Day.” Let’s follow the First Lady’s advice and encourage others to cast their vote, an honor and obligation of living in this country.