millennials

Republican strategist and frequent news panel participant Evan Siegfried is predicting disaster for the GOP as multi-ethnic millennials continue to rapidly replace the fading homogeneity of baby boomers.

“…[T]his is bad news for the Republican Party, as it has struggled — and in some cases willfully declined — to adapt to the changing demographic landscape in the United States,” Siegfried wrote in a recent blog post.

Millennials are expected to overtake boomers in population size as early as next year, and the Latinos, Asians and African-Americans who comprise a large portion of that generation are aligning hard against the GOP and its philosophy. Siegfried is particularly worried about an August NBC News/GenForward poll revealing clear nonwhite bias against the GOP from individuals aged 18 to 34.

millennials
August 2018 NBC/GenForward poll showing millennials’ lack of support for the GOP

It’s also clear that whatever alignment some millennials may happen to feel for the GOP is fleeting, with most responders who self-identify as Republican feeling “not very strong” about their ideology. According to this poll, there are few hard-aligned GOP warriors in this age group. Most of the “Republicans” in the poll could easily saunter away from the party if the mood takes them.

This appears to be exactly what they are doing, according to prior polling in November 2017, January 2018, March 2018, and June 2018.

This may have plenty to do with the perceived indifference that the millennial generation gets from the Republican Party. When asked if they “think the Republican Party cares about people like you,” only a small minority of each race said “yes.” This included white respondents—of whom only 37 percent answered “yes.”

Polls have suggested that political party hostility lately has been extending to both the GOP and Democrats as voters grow more disenchanted with the perceived impotency of the nation’s two-party system. But that’s not the case with youth, who have clearly picked an enemy.

Whites were the only millennials who offered the majority opinion that the Democratic Party also did not care about them, with 41 percent answering “yes,” and 58 percent saying “no.” 69 percent of African Americans believed the party was on their side, however, which was in accord with 71 percent of Asian Americans and 63 percent of Latinxs.

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August 2018 NBC/GenForward poll gauging millennials’ support for the GOP, broken down by race

The dismal approval rate among Latinos is particularly galling to the GOP, because the population has been blooming steadily in the last 40 years. Latinos make up almost 13 percent of eligible voters in 2018, and even though they suffer from low turnout, they still hit a record 6.8 million voters in 2014. This was before President Trump essentially declared war on them and began calling Latino immigrants “rapists.”

With the rising generation looking to put a permanent end to the GOP majority, it is no surprise that GOP officials are working hard to discourage millennials from participating. There was a reason that gun permits were an acceptable form of voter ID in Texas, while student ID was not. (A judge later clarified that that particular voter suppression law was racist.)

State legislatures that went Republican generally began churning out countless attacks on the youth vote by reducing voting hours, closing polling places, and adopting voting restriction laws similar to the Texas law that was struck down.

It’s all part of a pattern, according to Stephen Spaulding, an attorney with political watchdog group Common Cause.

“There is a concerted effort in many jurisdictions to make it harder for young people to vote,” Spaulding told Grit Post. “Most recently, in New Hampshire, they changed voter registration law—although a judge recently put it on hold—that would have made anyone registering to vote declare that they are a permanent resident of that state.”

“And there are deceptive practices on college campuses that say ‘warning, if you try to vote here you’ll pay a penalty,’ ” Spaulding continued. “There have been concerted efforts to make it harder for young people to vote because they are an increasingly powerful voting bloc.”

Things might be different, Spaulding said, if the GOP actually addressed issues dear to young people, such as student debt and health care.

 

Adam Lynch is a part-time “word-puncher” in Jackson, Mississippi. Battle with him on Twitter @A_damn_Lynch. He’s also on Facebook, if that’s still a thing.

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