The rising millennial generation is changing institutions from businesses to universities across the country. Millennials have arrived in the Halls of Congress as well. There, young members say it’s possible that this confident, wired generation is the key to breaking the intense partisanship that has in recent years crippled the federal government and frustrated the public.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, cochair of the Future Caucus, said there is a growing pragmatic undercurrent of cooperation among the youngest congressional leaders. She and fellow cochair Aaron Schock, R-Ill., were the keynote speakers Wednesday at a National Journal and Atlantic event on millennials in Washington,underwritten by Microsoft.
Although members of different parties, Gabbard, 33, and Schock, 32, say they find common ground in a shared generational like-mindedness.
“We are together in a disdain for the status quo — a disdain for processes instead of outcomes,” said Schock. “While we may have strong principled views that vary, we also grew up in a society where you don’t get everything you want.”
As they come of age, millennials face serious economic challenges and feel frustrated with traditional institutions and systems that they believe haven’t delivered. Gabbard, Schock, and a number of panelists who participated in the event indicated that this generation, with its affinity for direct action and its willingness to speak its mind, is not likely to wait quietly to make systems and institutions — including Congress — more responsive to their needs.
“We have the opportunity to shift the way things have been done,” said Gabbard. “There’s a lot of urgency.”
Millennials are “not shy about being empowered,” said Rich Cooper, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who added that, young people are demanding more accessibility and accountability from the institutions they interact with.
“They are collective, collaborative, and cooperative,” he said. “The silos that have divided generations, they’re interested in going right through those: gender, race, demographics.”
But while millennials may want to spark change, they still must contend with the legacies of the past.
“Coming of age in a weak economy after a recession is bad news,” said panelist Martha Ross, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “They’ve all been hit hard. That can have implications down the road.”
Too, the specter of racism haunts the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in American history. Although the number of black and Hispanic young people who go to college has increased, minorities are more likely to attend open-access community colleges while a majority of white students attend the most selective schools, according to a Georgetown University report.
Socially, millennials are more accepting and less racially biased, but American institutions are still racially stratified, said panelist Andrew Hanson of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Whether millennials will be able to make the changes needed to address the big issues they face is yet to be seen. But be assured, panelists said, that the coming of age of the milliennial generation means change is coming fast.
“This generation has a clock in their head,” said panelist Stefanie Brown James, of Vestige Strategies, a public-affairs firm that specializes in reaching communities of color, women, and young people. They’re thinking: “My life is limited, and I have very little time to make a change.”
What We're Following See More »
Concerned that she's become too divisive, "Democrats on Capitol Hill are discussing whether Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should step down as Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman before the party’s national convention in July. ... Wasserman Schultz has had an increasingly acrimonious relationship with the party’s other presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, and his supporters, who argue she has tilted the scales in Clinton’s favor." The money quote, from a Democratic senator who backs Clinton: “There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on." Meanwhile, Newsweek takes a look at why no one seems to like Wasserman Schultz.
"The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote Wednesday on a Republican bill that would block the District of Columbia from spending locally raised tax revenue without congressional approval, prompting President Obama to pledge to veto it. In issuing the veto threat on Tuesday, the Obama White House made one of the strongest statements to date in support of the District’s attempt to win financial independence from Congress."
When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.