NewsOne’s PolitickerOne blog tackles some of the most important topics in politics: Election 2016, moves by the Obama administration, voting rights, lawmaking, and the way that elected officials represent our communities. Three times a week, we will go beyond the mainstream media’s “pack” coverage of politics to highlight the underreported aspects of how politics and policy affect you and the people you care about. In between, follow the conversation on Twitter at #PolitickerOne.
It’s no secret that the youth vote helped propel President Barack Obama into office during his historic election in 2008, and again in 2012.
He garnered 60 percent of the vote among those younger than 30 in his re-election, according to Pew Research Center. Those numbers were down from 2008, when he won nearly two-thirds, or 66 percent of the votes among young people.
Still, support from young voters may have played a bigger role in his second victory than in the first win. Why? Well, the under 30 demographic in 2012 was “by far the most racially and ethnically diverse age group,” the report says, and the president keyed into issues of great concern and urgency to them, including health care, immigration reform, and same-sex marriage.
Now in 2015, the young voting bloc has not changed much and neither have the issues of importance to them, which is why the Republican Party is failing to draw in the millennial voters it needs to be successful in the 2016 general election, according to The Brookings Institution.
Despite hauling in a record number of older viewers for its last GOP debate on CNN, the Brookings Institution said millennials were likely to view the event as a free-for-all “where cultures and generations clash.” The campaign rhetoric also flies in the face of this generation’s beliefs and views.
Here are six top reasons millennials are not tuning in to 2016 presidential candidates:
1. Black Lives Matter
Despite having Ben Carson, the sole Black presidential hopeful this election cycle, the Republican Party ignored #BlackLivesMatter, the most powerful movement to emerge since the civil rights era, during its second presidential debate last week at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
PolitickerOne noted in August that “White privilege was on full display” at the group’s first debate in Cleveland, Ohio, which occurred on the same day as the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
None of the candidates or debate host Fox News mentioned the landmark law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.
2. Immigration Reform
Most of the Republican candidates hold stances on immigration reform that are untenable for millennials, who are, ahem, mostly immigrants, and who have been repeatedly targeted – chiefly by Donald Trump. With immigration adding more numbers to its generation than any other, millennials are projected to peak in 2036 at 81.1 million, according to Pew Research Center:
The Census Bureau projects that the Millennial population was 74.8 million in 2014. By 2015 Millennials will increase in size to 75.3 million and become the biggest group.
3. Same-Sex Marriage
An estimated 70 percent of millennials support same-sex marriage, while it’s not discussed at all among some Republican candidates. Former Arkansas Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee made a splash over his support of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who received national attention and went to jail for violating a federal order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
But not all Republican presidential candidates sided with Davis. MSNBC News reports Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Trump said she had “an obligation to perform her duties as an elected county clerk, which include issuing marriage licenses.”
4. Millennials Support Obamacare
While most Republican presidential candidates talk about repealing the popular Affordable Care Act, the formal name for Obamacare, Brookings notes that “52 percent of millennials approve of the program.” Enough said.
5. Millennials Favor Legalization of Marijuana
About 68 percent of millennials support legalizing marijuana, but few Republican candidates have come out in support of it, notes Brookings:
Rand Paul’s insistence on a state’s rights approach to (medical) legalization choices was as close as the field came. Instead, Jeb Bush in the best Boomer presidential candidate tradition apologized for using the stuff when he was young, chalking it up to youthful indiscretion, and Governor Chris Christie asserted that maintaining pot’s illegality was so important as President he would go against traditional Republican deference to state’s rights and assert federal law supremacy over state law to prosecute offenders.
6. Millennials Are Concerned About Climate Change
Climate change, an important issue to millennials, has been showing up on the presidential campaign trail among Democrats, but barely registers among Republicans, as NewsOne reported earlier. For example, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told Face the Nation that “human activity has nothing to do with climate change,” while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz “has made it clear he doesn’t believe in climate change, but also says he isn’t a ‘denier.’”
Are there other reasons millennials are not tuning in to Republican presidential candidates? Sound off in the comments…
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