Stop Blaming Millennials for Potentially Giving Trump the Presidency

Recently, Clara Jeffery, the editor-in-chief of Mother Jones tweeted that she “never hated millennials more” after looking at the latest round of presidential poll numbers.

She’s not alone in blaming millennials for what increasingly seems to be a close race. James Kirchick’s op-ed for The Daily Beast is titled “Blame Millennials for President Trump.” Similarly, New Republic’s Brian Beutler writes that millennials must not understand how bad the George W. Bush administration was.

Seeing these reactions from the media, it’d be easy to assume that millennials are favoring Republican nominee Donald Trump. If you were to check out multiple polls to see where young voters stand, though, that’s far from the case:

millennial poll

Last month, Five-Thirty Eight averaged five reputable polls to create the above chart. Clinton beats Trump by a 2:1 margin with this demographic. No other generation has that much of a difference between the two candidates.

The bottom line is that Clinton’s millennial “problem” is nothing compared to Trump’s problem with younger voters. His brash bigotry isn’t resonating with millennials, and that’s why more accurate headlines describe the situation as “Young Voters Flee Donald Trump.”

Remember that Donald Trump can’t win an election without receiving votes. According to Washington Post-ABC News polls, it’s the older generations that are largely giving him those votes. Citizens aged 40-64 have a slight preference for Trump, while those 65 and older give Trump a 10 point advantage.

If Trump wins, it’s because the Americans over 40 (who account for 68 percent of the registered voters in this country) chose him to be their president. So why is that we are trying to blame millennials for electing Trump?

Really, these complaints read like the usual youth bashing that we see pop up in the media every so often. It’s easier to scapegoat a generation that has already been labeled lazy and entitled than to look critically at the entire political landscape.

Admittedly, it probably is worth discussing that twenty-somethings indicate that they won’t be voting for Clinton at nearly the rates that they did for Obama in the previous two presidential elections.

Still, if the Democrats believed that clinching the youth vote would be critical to their success this election, perhaps the DNC should have more seriously entertained the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who millennials demonstrated a strong preference for.

It should come as no surprise that a decent chunk of millennials is supporting third-party candidates this cycle. The favorability ratings for Clinton and Trump are abysmal – historical lows for both parties, in fact. The “un-likeability” of the candidates has been known long before the nominations were cemented, so this voter flight seems inevitable, if anything.

When pundits complain that millennials aren’t voting for Clinton, what they’re really trying to say is that they’re not voting for Clinton at absurdly high enough rates to counterbalance the votes from older generations. Do 80 percent of millennials need to vote for Clinton before they can escape blame?

That seems like an unfair barometer to measure millennial voters by, particularly when the 40 and older crowd isn’t willing to give Clinton even a simple majority of their votes.

Moving forward, political writers that decide they want to broadly assign blame to a certain demographic of voters for electing Trump would be smart to start pointing their fingers at their contemporaries instead.

Election Day is less than two months away, and the race is close. To make sure Care2 readers in the U.S. are represented in the polls this Nov. 8, we’ve partnered with HelloVote to make registering to vote quick and easy. Get registered with HelloVote today

Photo credit: Thinkstock


John B
John B11 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Marie W.
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jane R.
Jane Rabout a year ago

I would vote for Mickey Mouse if I could. Much better choice than we have to pick from

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeldabout a year ago

David Y.,
I am not foolish enough to think he can win. He has only a slight chance of even winning one state (N.M. seems to be his best shot, although he is doing quite well in Utah also). However, unless a thrid party can gain national appeal, they have little chance of succeeding locally. Being realistic, the only way another party can establish themselves as a viable threat to the status quo is to siphon off members from one or both of the existing parties. This is what happened after 1856. The Republicans won one seat in Congress, but won over many converts from the existing parties. Granted, much was due to the dismise of the existing parties. Still, the party had to start somewhere, and was able to rise to national prominence in a very short time. How many of those who indicate a willingness to vote for Johnson are converts, dissatisfied with their existing party? Sure, they may return to their folds next time, if their respective parties nominate worthy candidates. There is always a lot at stake in these elections. This year, we just have two appalling choices. That said, it is still Clinton's election to lose.

Janis K.
Janis Kabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

David Youmans
David Youmansabout a year ago

Perhaps that's true Dan, but they did win nationa office before winning the presidency, as you just verified. No third party has ever won the presidency without first winning seats in Congress, and it's unlikely that it will happen. They have to establish themselves to some degree nationally, before they can really hope to win the White House.

I didn't give a percentage on what the Johnson was polling, but 9% certainly isn't enough to win the election...

It's always good to be optimistic, but you must be realistic when there's so much at stake, as there is in this election...

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeldabout a year ago

David Y.,
In that case, you are further off than I thought. The current polling for Gary Johnson is around 9%, which would be the highest total since Ross Perot. Interestingly, the Republican Party had not won any major election until 1856, and 4 years later won the presidency.

Mari 's
Mari 'sabout a year ago

We are not part of this 68% No Trump noooo! Remove us plzzzz and ty

M Quann
M Qabout a year ago

Just use your vote! The most qualified is Hillary Clinton. Use your vote it is your voice!!