Millennials’ political affiliations have drastically shifted since the past couple elections, aligning more with the Democratic party now than ever before.
Social issues are replacing the American Dream in which the silent generation grounded itself. In recent polls millennial voters have been leaning toward the Democratic party at an alarming rate, especially compared to earlier generations that tend to be more conservative. Millennials, generally those who range in age from 18 to 33 years, have a 51 percent tilt towards the Democratic party, whereas in previous elections, there’s about a four to five percent difference.
Republicans just are not seeming to relate with this generation. Millennials have said the GOP candidates do not connect with them.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump has been getting the most millennial support compared to the other Republican candidates. While some relate to him because of his brutally honest statements, most are quite frightened of his possible rise to power.
Paola Vargas, political science student at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said, “Donald Trump is absolutely shifting the millennial vote. What he’s doing is appealing to the older crowd which is who usually votes. Making us open our eyes and realize this is not what we want for our country.” She noted that while she does identify as a Republican, if Trump won the nomination her vote would go to the Democratic Party.
However, Bernie Sanders seems to be some millennials’ hero. Sander’s focus tends to be
about issues that impact them the most. Education and health care are big issues when you are a
millennial in college slowly moving toward being responsible for your own insurance. Even if that’s not their selling point, it seems to be beating out the talk of hand size and hair pieces.
“Even for my own candidate I feel embarrassed because he sometimes loses his groove
and falls in the trap of just insulting each other,” Vargas stated.
Millennials don’t seem to be falling for the idea of the American Dream anymore.
When one considers that America is number one in incarceration, guns, and obesity, this doesn’t seem to fit millennials’ idea of what makes a great country.
Most millennials have grown up in a time where acceptance is mediated and forced on
them. Leaning liberal fits in with this culture into which they’ve been raised. In early generations the
idea of the self-made man was promoted, but this generation doesn’t always see the pay off for hard work and determination.
Emily McDonald, a former sociology student at Southeastern Louisiana University said,
“I think we’re the first generation to really, really work hard and it not pay off.”
Republicans have not lost all hope with millennial voters. McDonald said that even
though she aligns more with Democrats, if Republicans focused more on social issues they may
win more support.
“I have hope for our generation, like a little bit, that we will actually break up the
parties,” McDonald said.
Regardless of the party affiliation, most millennials agree there is a need for change.