Why Millennials Will Reject Trump
In the US, pundits remain fixated on traditional party divides, and not on the deeper demographic changes that are underway. Today’s millennial generation, with its members' future-oriented perspective, will soon dominate American politics, and the country will become increasingly liberal and economically just as a result.
NEW YORK – The key political divide in the United States is not between parties or states; it is between generations. The millennial generation (those aged 18-35) voted heavily against Donald Trump and will form the backbone of resistance to his policies. Older Americans are divided, but Trump’s base lies among those above the age of 45. On issue after issue, younger voters will reject Trump, viewing him as a politician of the past, not the future.
Of course, these are averages, not absolutes. Yet the numbers confirm the generational divide. According to exit polls, Trump received 53% of the votes of those 45 and older, 42% of those 30-44, and just 37% of voters 18-29. In a 2014 survey, 31% of millennials identified as liberals, compared with 21% of baby boomers (aged 50-68 in the survey) and only 18% of the silent generation (69 and above).
The point is not that today’s young liberals will become tomorrow’s older conservatives. The millennial generation is far more liberal than the baby boomers and silent generation were in their younger years. They are also decidedly less partisan, and will support politicians who address their values and needs, including third-party aspirants.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in