Millennials Are Down on Government

That may be good news for Republicans.

President Barack Obama talks to millennials
National Journal
Emma Roller
March 19, 2014, 10:12 a.m.

Two re­cent stud­ies — one re­leased by the Pew Re­search Cen­ter and one by Third Way — show that the gen­er­a­tion that helped elect Pres­id­ent Obama in 2008 now iden­ti­fies as in­de­pend­ent more than ever. Mil­len­ni­als who may have voted with youth­ful ex­uber­ance in 2008 seem to have grown fa­tigued with the gov­ern­ment’s in­ab­il­ity to get things done.

In 2009, 42 per­cent of mil­len­ni­als said gov­ern­ment pro­grams are usu­ally in­ef­fi­cient and waste­ful, ac­cord­ing to Pew data. By 2012, that num­ber had in­creased to 51 per­cent. And young people say they’re los­ing trust in the gov­ern­ment to Do the Right Thing. In 2009, 44 per­cent of mil­len­ni­als said they trust the gov­ern­ment to do what’s right all or most of the time. By 2013, that dropped to 29 per­cent.

Per­haps as a res­ult of this polit­ic­al fa­tigue, more and more mil­len­ni­als are start­ing to identi­fy as polit­ic­ally in­de­pend­ent. Third Way — a think tank that ad­voc­ates for cent­rist pub­lic policy — says mil­len­ni­als may lean Demo­crat­ic, but more are opt­ing to pick and choose their polit­ics:

They may be vot­ing for Demo­crats by wider mar­gins than Re­pub­lic­ans, but there’s no in­dic­a­tion that they have bought the prix fixe menu of policy op­tions his­tor­ic­ally offered by the Demo­crat­ic Party, nor that brand loy­alty to the Party will ce­ment them as Demo­crats forever.

The study also found that mil­len­ni­als are more open to switch­ing brands than past gen­er­a­tions. Third Way found that 85 per­cent of mil­len­ni­als would be will­ing to switch brands if it aligned with a cause they sup­port.

You could ar­gue that the Demo­crat­ic and Re­pub­lic­an parties are two of the biggest brands in the U.S. And like any good com­pany, they need to work to show the coveted 18-to-29-year-old pop­u­la­tion that they’re bet­ter than their com­pet­i­tion. (Pew defines mil­len­ni­als as people born between 1981 and 1996.)

Then again, mil­len­ni­als are opt­ing out of the Demo­crat­ic/Re­pub­lic­an brand war al­to­geth­er. Ac­cord­ing to Pew, each suc­cess­ive gen­er­a­tion has grown in­creas­ingly weary of strict party polit­ics. Since 2004, the por­tion of mil­len­ni­als who identi­fy as in­de­pend­ents has grown from 38 per­cent to 50 per­cent — more than the per­cent­age who identi­fy as Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic com­bined.

But just be­cause more mil­len­ni­als identi­fy as in­de­pend­ents doesn’t ne­ces­sar­ily mean they’re more mod­er­ate than past gen­er­a­tions. The Pew study found that, over the past 10 years, mil­len­ni­als “have re­mained the most lib­er­al and least con­ser­vat­ive of the four gen­er­a­tions.”

Al­most a third of mil­len­ni­als identi­fy as lib­er­al, versus 39 per­cent who identi­fy as mod­er­ate and 26 per­cent who identi­fy as con­ser­vat­ive. The Si­lent Gen­er­a­tion iden­ti­fies as more Demo­crat­ic, but mil­len­ni­als are more lib­er­al.

Mil­len­ni­als have long been the car­buncle on the GOP’s back­side, but these stud­ies sug­gest some ways that Re­pub­lic­ans can make in­roads with young­er voters. Twentyso­methings today are less ideo­lo­gic­ally “pure” than older voters, and there­fore more likely to be swayed to one side or an­oth­er.

What lar­ger les­sons can we take from these stud­ies? Like Walt Whit­man, the mil­len­ni­al gen­er­a­tion con­tains mul­ti­tudes. Twentyso­methings today can’t be sim­pli­fied to the kef­fi­yeh-wear­ing, selfie-tak­ing hip­ster that graces a magazine cov­er story every three months.

But over­arch­ing trends seem to sug­gest a wan­ing be­lief that the gov­ern­ment can ac­tu­ally get things done, and a grow­ing be­lief that Amer­ica most draws its strength from en­tre­pren­eur­ship. To win over swaths of mil­len­ni­als in the next elec­tion, Demo­crats need to show they sup­port that en­tre­pren­eur­ship, and Re­pub­lic­ans need to show that they’re open to gov­ern­ment solu­tions where the free mar­ket fails.

What We're Following See More »
BRIEFER THAN TRUMP’S?
Clinton to Receive Classified Briefing on Saturday
0 minute ago
THE DETAILS
FHFA RULES APPLY
Judge: Freddie Mac Doesn’t Have to Open Its Books
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Freddie Mac shareholders cannot force the mortgage finance company to allow them to inspect its records, a federal court ruled Tuesday." A shareholder had asked the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to allow him to inspect its books and records, as Virginia law allows him to do. "The court held that Freddie shareholders no longer possess a right to inspect the company’s records because those rights had been transferred to the Federal Housing Finance Agency when the company entered into conservatorship in 2008."

Source:
MANY BEING TRADED ON BLACK MARKET
Pentagon Can’t Account for 750k Guns Provided to Iraq, Afghanistan
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Pentagon has "provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns." Trouble is, it can only account for about 700,000 of those guns. The rest are part of a vast arms trading network in the Middle East. "Taken together, the weapons were part of a vast and sometimes minimally supervised flow of arms from a superpower to armies and militias often compromised by poor training, desertion, corruption and patterns of human rights abuses."

Source:
SINCE JANUARY
Baltimore Is Spying on Its Residents from the Air
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department" has been using a Cessna airplane armed with sophisticated camera equipment "to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings." The public hasn't been notified about the system, funded by a private citizen.

Source:
COST HAS RISEN 400%
EpiPen Prices Draw Scrutiny from Congress
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The cost of EpiPens have risen 400% since 2007, and members of Congress increasingly want to know why. Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Mylan, which makes the allergy injection devices, on Monday. “Many of the children who are prescribed EpiPens are covered by Medicaid, and therefore, the taxpayers are picking up the tab for this medication," he wrote. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) "called earlier for a Judiciary Committee inquiry into the pricing and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission."

Source:
×