*Spoiler alert* This article was written by a millennial, and is about millennials. So suit up.
When it comes to the two-party political system in America, millennials (age 18-34ish) have banded together to say, “Actually, we’re independent.” We’re really into “sticking it to the man.”
But where did America’s “super-independent,” Instagram filter-using, IPA-drinking, handlebar-mustache-growing millennial youths stand on Nov. 8th? Check out the now viral screenshot of what the country would look like if only millennials voted.
Hey now, for a group that doesn’t really want to choose one side or the other, this looks awfully one-sided, eh?
The Struggle is Real
So how did Trump still win? Well, let’s not forget who else showed up to vote: for one, our parents and our parents’ parents.
But even more important for millennials is that despite the overwhelming number of Clinton-supporting Democrats, we were all still pretty bummed about losing Bernie.
Super bummed. So much so that while there were actually a nearly equal number of millennials eligible to vote as there were Baby Boomers, (unfortunately) a lot of us just didn’t.
This didn’t help Trump as much as it hurt Clinton. We like Clinton, but not like we liked Obama. This election actually had the fourth-lowest turnout by youth voters for a GOP nominee since 1972. Additionally, arguably worse than not voting at all, some of us even voted for a third party candidate.
OK, cool, so let’s summarize: millennials disagree with the political system, we didn’t really love either candidate running, we definitely don’t love the candidate who won, but some of us didn’t care enough to cast our ballots either way.
Sidebar: You guys know that not voting means you can’t participate in the #1 benefit of voting: complaining, right? (Possibly the only reason I voted, unclear.) Plus, you missed all the Snapchat filters.
How to Stay Woke
We’re on track to soon outnumber Baby Boomers, but if we don’t show up to vote, then it doesn’t really matter. There’s already a ton of articles out there shaming us for not voting, or voting third party, or not knowing how the Electoral College works.
Side note: Brief description of the Electoral College process as simplified by me (after a lengthier explanation by my smarter-than-me friend, John). You vote for members of the Electoral College, not the president directly. The number of electors is equal to each state’s members of Congress (i.e., Maryland has 10 votes, California has 55). Whichever candidate gets the most votes in the state, gives all* of its Electoral College votes to a presidential candidate. Bada-bing bada-boom, a candidate needs more than half of these votes to win the title: the President of United States.
*except Nebraska and Maine
But while I may not agree with not voting, etc., I can kind of see where you’re coming from. I can’t sit here and say, if all of us had voted then the outcome would be different, because any voter group has that same capacity. Not voting probably isn’t a great move, but I get it.
But if America is going to believe in a winner-takes-all mentality, then we also have to recognize when both candidates are corrupt.
There are pretty much two scenarios for the American people right now. Either the politician you support said/did something at some point that made you say, “Hey, wait a minute, I don’t agree with that.” Or you weren’t really paying attention. And, in a word, these scenarios suck.
Listen Up, Fam
We want to believe that our next president is going to improve our lives, improve America, and maybe improve the world. But is Trump really going to do that? TBD. Could Clinton have? Even the Bern?
So for now, celebrate the little things: the world didn’t explode, Starbucks finally revealed the design of its holiday cup, and maybe you learned which of your aunties was secretly racist (thanks Facebook unfollow feature).
Millennials may be down, but we’re not out. One thing is for sure: at least we can bank on being “intelligent and hopeful.”
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