For years, older people have belittled the “millennial” generation, or those who were born from roughly 1980-2000 (the exact years vary depending on who you’re speaking to, and whether or not they want to be considered a millennial).
This isn’t a new phenomenon. History books are riddled with the old guard diminishing the new. But I’ve never been part of any of those other generations.
We’re supposedly lazy. We don’t buy cars or homes. We don’t want to work. We’re not competitive. We want everything to be easy. We want handouts. We have no passion, no drive. We’re apathetic. We have no heart.
I’ve been arguing against all of those points. Before Tuesday, I could point to President Barack Obama and his elections in 2008 and 2012. Millennials got behind him, and were a driving force in him winning those elections.
This year’s election marked the first time that there were more millennials than baby boomers among the electorate. We should have been the key demographic, but we just didn’t show up.
Various political analysts declared that, if only millennials were voting in the election, Clinton likely would have easily won the election.
In total, she had at least 55 percent of the millennials who did vote, according to CNN’s exit poll data reported on-air Tuesday night. Other outlets had her millennial support a little lower or a little higher.
In one model I saw, via Survey Monkey, the data could be manipulated to show how the electoral map would change with various factors. It had Clinton winning more than 500 of the total 538 electoral votes if the only voters were those in the millennial generation, including Tennessee, which Trump won handily.
Obviously, without a high turnout from millennials, that means nothing. My generation identified that one candidate was very clearly preferred. And yet they let the older generations dictate the race.
Some people have shared this information on social media with the implication that in the future millennials will determine elections, and the Repbulican party will need to become more progressive.
That’s only true if we actually vote. According to a report from NPR, overall voter participation for people ages 18-35 in the 2016 election was the lowest for a presidential election since 2000.
Bernie Sanders garnered an incredible amount of support from my generation. For whatever reason, many millennials decided that if they couldn’t have their guy, they would rather not vote.
I don’t know if Trump will be a good president, a bad president, the best president or the worst president.
I don’t know how conservative he really is. He has no political history.
I know that’s appealing to his supporters, but he is now no longer pushing against the authority. He is the authority.
Trump doesn’t believe in global climate change, he has a history of publicly bullying people, he has been publicly accused by at least a dozen women of committing sexual assault and, most troubling to me as a reporter, he has questioned whether the nation needs stricter laws on the press.
These are all important issues to my generation, but for whatever reason, we didn’t vote.
In an election that held the balance of the Supreme Court, an election that could shape the next several decades of our lives, we didn’t vote.
Perhaps all of the old people are right. This generation just doesn’t have any heart.