How Can Democrats Win Support From Millennials?

Donald Trump’s electoral victory in November came largely on the backs of older Americans. Voters aged 45 and older cast their ballots for Trump at a rate of 53 percent.

If the choice were solely up to the younger generations, though, the outcome would be a lot different. Half of people aged 30-44 voted for Hillary Clinton vs. 42 percent for Trump. Looking at the youngest voters – the 18-29-year-old demographic – the gap widens further: 55 percent voted for Clinton compared to just 37 percent for Trump.

Although liberals are undoubtedly heartbroken over soon having to say “President Trump,” these are the kinds of poll numbers that should give the left hope that a more progressive future could be on the horizon.

Assuming these generations maintain their political ideologies, even the national Republican Party would have to shift leftward in order to compete.

Since the election, a lot of people have blamed millennials for not showing up to the polls. It’s a routine complaint that arises about the younger generation pretty much every election, and seems especially true in light of the fact that significantly fewer twenty-somethings showed up to the polls than they did for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

While some finger pointing is deserved, Democrats ought to also ask themselves why millennial voters sat out such an important election. If the twenty-something vote is so critical to achieving victories for the left, it seems worth it to make direct appeals to this age bracket to ensure they want to vote for the Democratic candidates.

So how can the Democrats maintain liberal enthusiasm amongst millennials to produce a more progressive tomorrow?

Give Young Candidates a Chance at Taking Office

Parties are starting to understand that diversity in race and gender are important to accurately represent our nation, so how come age is not a consideration?

The average age of a U.S. senator is 61 and the average age of a U.S. congressperson is 57. Giving younger voters some actual voices in the various branches of government could in turn boost the participation of people in this age bracket who finally feel represented.

Consider Millennial Opinion Polls

When forming the party platform, Democrats should give extra credence to the opinions of those under 30. Hooking the kids early could lead to lifelong loyalty. For example:

Most millennials do not support capitalism – eliminating the Democratic Party’s tight connections to corporations and corporate money would be a way to build new trust.

Treat climate change with unambiguous urgency – millennials overwhelmingly believe that manmade climate change is real and want to switch to renewable energy. Democrats can become the party of the future by ensuring that there still is a future.

Conduct Outreach to Young People Outside of Campaign Season

A lot of the young adults I know pretty distinctly feel that the issues that matter most to them are rarely discussed until someone wants a vote. Some millennials feel they have not gotten a fair shake economically at points when Democrats are not asking for their votes. Prioritizing those issues will count more in the long term; rather than feeling pandered to, they’ll feel cared for.

These suggestions are merely a starting point. The important thing is that, rather than taking the support of millennials for granted, Democratic leaders should consider deliberate ways to earn the support from this demographic. Building the future of the party with millennials seems like the best way to know they’ll show up in greater numbers the next time around.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

64 comments

Marie W
Marie W10 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Nang Hai C
Nang Hai C11 months ago

Thank you.

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Margaret G
Margaret G11 months ago

Herbert C. wrote, " ... fake news is a fake problem ... " Tell that to the pizzeria that almost got shot up because someone believed the fake news.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S11 months ago

noted

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Siyus C
Siyus Copetallus11 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S11 months ago

noted

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees11 months ago

Brian, again you are cherry picking data while ignoring the bigger picture. What is the cost of living in Denmark or Australia? What is it in New York or Seattle vs. West Virginia? What about China, India, or parts of Africa? The poor in the USA are among the top 10% in the world in terms of absolute wealth. It makes no sense to set a national or world minimum wage. The Seattle minimum wage likely had little effect as they are phasing it in over time. What is the market minimum vs. the artificial minimum? In some parts of the country it is higher, others it is lower. Look at North Dakota, during the oil boom market minimum wage was $17 dollars for fast food workers. Supply and Demand, no government force needed. It's not rocket science, just basic economics.

And as Dan points out minimum wage should be an entry level pay for high school students not those that are feeding a family. If you have people making minimum wage trying to raise a family that is a sign of a weak economy.

David is right, our government is bloated which is a burden on the economy. And we have not even balanced the budget during the good years let alone the bad. Someday we will come to the cliff be forced to deal with the debt.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S11 months ago

noted

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David F
David F11 months ago

The number of US Government workers outnumbered the number of manufacturing workers decades ago.
There is a war on our children led by the party of drunken spending.
20 Trillion in current debt, with 6-7 Trillion every year in unfunded liabilities added to the 123 Trillion we have now.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld11 months ago

Brian F.,
Fewer workers today are earning the minimum wage compared to 1960, but the current $7.25/hr is equivalent to the inflation-adjusted minimum wage of 1960. The minimum wage is not forcing workers into poverty. Few people earn the minimum for very long, and most are young people, or part-time workers. Less than 1% of full-time bread winners earn the minimum. This has little effect on social security, as they are essentially paying their future self.

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