The Millennials are coming out to vote in 2018. They are the largest voting bloc in the nation and they aren’t happy. They are the future of the nation and they will be a force to be reckoned with. While they are not a monolithic voting segment, they nonetheless share a majority view on many important issues. Recent polls suggest Millennials support more government involvement in the following categories. If you are running for elected office in 2018 as a Democrat you must address their concerns with specific proposals. B.S. and insincere lip service won’t work. Here are several insights and issues Millennials care about and want to see the government spend more (not less) money on according to the findings of Hartstad Strategic Research, Inc. As candidates, it is one thing to show you acknowledge these concerns of Millennials, it is quite another to demonstrate that you are prepared to do something about them. Millennials won’t take you seriously if you don’t state specifically how you are going to make changes.
Making College More Affordable – Specific Actions to Consider
- Not only have many older Millennials been saddled with hopeless debt and many younger Millennials are finding college unaffordable. The nation cannot allow this to continue.
- Offer ways to reduce subsidized student loans for undergraduate and graduate students from the current average rates of 6.8%.
- The unsubsidized loans should be eliminated altogether.
- The tuition for community college students who graduate in three years or less should be refunded.
- Those completing one and two-year vocational courses should receive refunded tuition as well.
- Women graduating in STEM programs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) should also receive reduced tuition. Only 7% of the workforce in STEM occupations are women.
This seems to make more sense for the future of the nation than handing a huge tax cut to the rich, building an $18 billion wall, or appropriating billions more for military spending to appease the military/industrial complex corporations. Candidates will need to find more creative ways to finance many of these college and education initiatives, but if the Resistance is successful in November many of these programs will be possible.
Creating Jobs – Creating jobs and making education beyond K-12 affordable go hand in hand. Public education has always been the great economic equalizer. Most of the changes listed above regarding affordability apply here as well. However, there are several realities that exist that should be considered. The unemployment and underemployment rates are higher among Millennials of color, especially those in the inner cities, and young white Millennials in rural areas. Jobs are not going to be created for these areas without a significant re-prioritizing of public and private spending. The following are several realities that need to be addressed by those expecting to receive support from Millennials in 2018.
- The actions of the Federal Communications System in December to repeal the internet neutrality regulations set in place by the Obama administration which were intended to maintain a level-playing field for internet users is not popular with Millennials and threatens the use of the internet by entrepreneurs and small businesses. Candidates should be prepared to answer questions about these economic as well as First Amendment rights threats.
- There are several excellent ideas advanced by the Center for American Progress to address job creation and employment opportunities for Millennials. Many of the ideas are still relevant four years after this article was written. Candidates can adapt these initiatives and customize them to their own constituencies, regardless of the office for which they are running, up and down the 2018 ballot.
Providing Retirement Security for Seniors and Helping the Poor – 76% of the Millennials in this survey want to see the government spend more money in these two areas. This would seem to negate the idea that Millennials are self-absorbed and don’t care much about others. Candidates would be wise to recognize these concerns.
- Any attempts by Paul Ryan and his band of Republican ideologues to threaten the two pillars of retirement security for seniors (Social Security and candidates would be well advised to consider ways to insure these programs are adequately funded for decades into the future. A nation that can’t offer an adequate safety net that allows its senior citizens to live out their years in dignity and free of fear is a travesty and a sham.
- Recently, the Republicans in both the House and the Senate are making noise about “welfare reform” and “liberal spending programs for the poor”. They feign their concern for the rising national debt and naturally blame the entitlements and social services for the poor, disabled, and children. Of course, it didn’t bother them when they added a cool $1.5 trillion to the national debt giving the richest folks in country and corporations huge tax cuts! See this article from the New York Times to comprehend their hypocrisy. https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/01/08/us/politics/08reuters-usa-congress-welfare-factbox.html
Millennials aren’t about to buy this Republican ruse. Candidates will have a free shot at the end zone on this one. This is unnecessary roughness!
Other Significant Issues Millennials care about and want more government involvement- These are supported by at least 70% of the Millennials surveyed. Again, Millennials are going to want to know how you plan to address these needs for protection.
- Protecting the environment from pollution
- Protecting the rights of women
- Protecting consumers and workers
- Protecting the rights of minorities
Finally, Millennials are going to be an important part of any progressive effort to take back our nation from the likes of those who seek to destroy the ideals and moral imperatives of our democracy. They must to be included in all our campaigns in 2018. They need to be heard and listened to. They must be taken seriously. The pundits and prognosticators have greatly underestimated their motivation and energy. Their disdain for Trump and his cronies is more than evident. Failure to recognize their value and importance would be a grave error. After all, it is their future too of which they are well aware.