By Katie Kieffer
Donald Trump is my president—and street protesters shouting “Not My President!” do not represent how most young Americans feel about our 45th President.
Democrats counted on young swing voters—Millennials—to get out the vote for Hillary Clinton. Big mistake. At the same time, many Republican Party leaders are resting on their laurels—talking presumptively about Trump’s “eight year” term. Big mistake.
Yes, we have a huge win to celebrate. However, the 2018 midterms hold a chance for Democrats to exact revenge on the governing party. It’s therefore very important to examine and act upon the intelligence we gleaned from last Tuesday’s tallies.
Why Most Millennials Sat It Out
Contrary to popular opinion, thousands of young people weren’t livid Clinton lost when they blocked traffic in at least twenty major cities from Miami to Minneapolis last week.
The main reason young people who didn’t leave the comfort of their homes to cast an actual vote are flooding the streets, vandalizing cars and breaking store windows after the election is because they feel the American political system is fixed.
Indeed, USA Today reported four days prior to the election that 40% of Millennials feared the election was rigged. The Republican Party must address this simmering sentiment if it hopes to win future presidential elections.
Democrat leaders like Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges ignored Clinton’s concessionary call to give Trump “an open mind and a chance to lead” and instead egged her young constituents to lash out by posting on Facebook that she stands with all “afraid” “of a President who has pledged to attack you.” Hodges added that part of the “first order of business” is “to rage.”
Young people responded with “Trump – Make America Hate Again” signs. This manufactured and misplaced outrage was a reaction to a false sense of victimhood rather than a manifestation of genuine displeasure with Trump.
Consider that Trump didn’t lose (or gain) any young voters in comparison to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. For the past two elections, Millennials decidedly handed Democrats the White House. Barack Obama won 66% of the youth vote in 2008 and 60% in 2012.
Clinton should have easily beat Obama’s numbers instead of scarcely snagging 55% of the youth vote. Why? Because on Nov. 8, 2016, nearly every member of the 95-million-strong Millennial generation was at least 18 years of age. Thus, Clinton had a far larger pool of potential young voters than Obama had in 2008 or 2012. Plus, Clinton issued taller promises than Obama with regard to “free” college education and childcare.
Trump won—and Hillary lost—for one primary reason: Millennials stayed home. This fact unlocks a massive opportunity—and warning—for the Republican Party going forward.
Only 19% of Millennials voted—of which 8% voted for a third-party candidate over Clinton or Trump. Most Millennials felt too disenfranchised to vote. Thanks to WikiLeaks, young people knew the Democratic National Committee rigged the presidential nomination process to favor Clinton over their favored candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Honesty, trustworthiness and consistency rank far higher with Millennial voters than what Hillary sold: freebies and victimhood. Or what Trump sold: political incorrectness and a promise for change from an outsider. This is why Millennials favored Mr. Consistent, Ron Paul, in 2012 and Sanders in 2016.
Pander At Your Own Risk
Amazingly, Trump matched Romney’s Millennial number despite not pandering to Millennials. Trump called human-induced global warming a “hoax;” promised to tighten America’s borders and vowed to defend the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Matching Romney’s 37% share of the youth vote should have been impossible for Trump. Trump even beat Hillary 35% to 33% in a statewide mock election poll in early November capturing the opinions of over 77,000 high school students from 213 schools in the blue state of Minnesota. Two days before the election, also in Minnesota, 24,000 people—given 24 hours notice—showed up to hear Trump speak and the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the crowd included “many young families, lined up for hours.”
So-called “experts” who bet big on a Clinton victory ignored the intelligence I’ve been sharing with you, my reader, for the past two years: First, as America’s largest voting cohort, Millennials currently hold the most power over our elections. Second, nonpartisan research shows that Millennials’ top two priorities are the economy and national security (not climate change and birth control). Third, Millennials want to be led by an outsider they trust. Fourth, Millennials value entrepreneurial empowerment over freebies that even they call “too good to be true.”
Hope Lies Ahead
Millennial singer Miley Cyrus reneged on fleeing the country and accepted Trump as her president-elect in a video that went viral last week. “I am accepting and hopeful, inspired and smiling,” Cyrus sniffled. Many Millennials feel like Cyrus, but politicians like Hodges are succeeding in holding onto their political power by convincing Millennials that they are victims.
Let’s seize this historic moment to reach out to young people. Resolve to mentor a young person over the next few years and show them how Trump’s policies—assuming he keeps his promises—improve the quality of life for all Americans while reminding them how Obama’s socialist policies only lifted the rich.
White working class men who turned up in droves at the polls are not the biggest story behind Trump’s win. The bigger story is about who stayed home. Because these young constituents—diverse in gender and race—will shape our country’s future in the near and long term.