If you are a Millennial, odds are, you are no stranger to people generalizing and telling you things about “your generation” being this way and that way. Many of such claims, often made by older friends and relatives, are dubious at best. Why? Because the Millennial generation is still so young that it is still quite hard for sociologists to make any kind of sweeping claims about them.
That does not, however, mean that we know nothing. Avoiding any speculative, qualitative conversations about the personality traits or group characteristics of the Millennial generation, let’s instead focus on things we can know for sure, like their voting habits.
Millennials Are More Liberal Than Past Generations
Millennials are America’s most liberal generation by far. On pretty much every issue down the line, from gay marriage, to marijuana laws, to gun control, to abortion rights, and the like, U.S. Millennials poll more liberal than other segments of the population.
Might they change over time? Can Republicans find comfort in the maxim attributed to Winston Churchill: If you’re not a liberal at age 20 you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at age 40 you have no brain?
Probably not. Why? Because much Millennial-liberalism is an outgrowth from the fact that the Millennial generation is the most diverse generation in history. You don’t merely “grow out” of diversity.
Moreover, diversity not only defines many Millennial’s identity, it’s the beating heart of their political value system. On the central social, economic, and cultural issues of our time – same sex marriage, immigration, economic inequality, criminal justice – millennials tilt left out of empathy for out-groups of all stripes. To them, pluralism isn’t a challenge to be managed; it’s an ideal to be celebrated, and the wind at America’s back.
Millennials Are Apolitical
Millennials lean independent. Many, around two-thirds are not affiliated with either the Democrats or the Republicans. This is an incredible development, and one that leaves the door open for the first non-Republican and non-Democratic presidential candidate to take office in the United States in about two-hundred years. That is, of course, if Millennials start voting—something which, so far, they have been incredibly bad at.
Millennials have plenty of reasons to be apolitical. They’ve come of age in an era when technology keeps reinventing most realms of modern life, while government seems stuck in an endless loop of partisan gridlock. Many believe politics is rigged, both parties are beholden to big money donors and voting is futile.
Many Millennials Are Unmarried
While the fact that less Millennials are married today than ever before might not seem like an out-and-out political consideration, when you actually dig down into it, it very much is because married people have in the past voted very differently from married people and with just 26 percent of millennials are currently married, that is definitely something to consider and, if you care about politics, keep an eye on as it may or may not change in the coming decade.