By: Eli Love
According to the Pew Research Center, there are now effectively as many Millennial voters (69.2 million) as there are Baby Boomer voters (69.7 million). But you would never know it looking at how little attention the current Presidential campaigns are paying to the substantive concerns of our generation.
The closest a candidate has come to speaking to Millennials is Bernie Sanders who was willing to discuss things like free college education. But instead of viewing the enthusiasm around Sanders’ campaign as a sign of where the conversation needs to go, the media and the political establishment derided Sanders’ supporters as naïve and selfish — voters who would disengage from the political process once their candidate was out of the race.
That’s not who we are and it’s crucial that the remaining presidential candidates move beyond stereotypes and see our true potential.
To understand what’s at risk if politicians do not tap into our enthusiasm and our energy, just look at the recent Brexit situation. Almost 75% of voters between the agesof 18 and 24 voted to remain — expressing their belief in multiculturalism, inclusion and innovation. At the other end of the scale, 60% of voters over the age of 65 voted to leave — many succumbing to their anxiety about the profound changes happening in our world. Imagine how things would have turned out differently if the remain campaign had worked a little harder to reach more Millennial voters. Imagine if the voting public had heard from more Millennial voices who could have shared their aspirational vision for their country.
As our own election looms, it’s time for American politicians to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes.
The Millennials my organization works with every day are entrepreneurs, philanthropists and public servants who consistently defy Millennial stereotypes. And they’re not alone. We recently took a survey of 810 people between the ages of 18 and 44 to find out what my generation is really thinking. It turns out 70% of us plan to vote. Almost three-quarters of us believe that the election will have an impact on our lives but 58% say the media that is covering the election is not highlighting the issues Millennials care about the most.