Millennials do actually care about politics

The idea that millennials ignore politics is a myth

Millennials have been labeled with countless negative qualities: privileged, narcissistic, entitled — the list goes on. Previous generations are often quick to judge, and unwilling to give the newer generation a chance.

One main criticism of millennials is their lack of political concern. With the lowest voter turnout rate in the country, millennials do make it seem like they aren't concerned by what people, or policies govern their country.

But despite their inactive voting patterns millennials do care about politics. In fact in today's political climate, they are often the most outspoken, they just express their political concerns via different outlets.

Millennials are more likely than any other age group to have attended a political protest, and to believe that protesting is effective. 

And they're not stupid — compared to previous generations, millennials are more diverse and better educated. But there are certain circumstances that make it more difficult for young people to register and vote, which explains the low voter turnout rate.

Many college students come from out of state. In 2016, Barrett, the Honors College at ASU had an enrollment class of 6,894 students — 29.2 percent were out of state.

In order to be able to vote in their school's state, a students must re-register. Out-of-state students must also choose if they want to vote in their home or school state. Students may not understand the registration process. This can be especially overwhelming for newly independent students.

But millennials, now on the way to make up the largest share of the voting population, have political power. 

"There are a lot of problems in the world that have yet to be solved, and if (millennials) have the power to push legislation that solves these issues, then there's no reason why we shouldn't," Tempe USG intern and freshman economics major Kajol Kapadia said.

Millennials are politically active, they just do not seem to be voting. While this is an issue, they should not be written off as careless.

"We have the power to make a real impact in our communities," said Tempe USG Vice President of Policy Kelsey Wilson. "I think millennials care much more about politics than we sometimes get credit for. From my interactions with students, they care about their communities.

"They have opinions on topics ranging from global warming to the cost of tuition. I think there's a disconnect sometimes between what millennials care about and their actions," she said. 

Millennials are better educated and more multicultural than other generations — and they are politically active in new ways, even if they are struggling to turn out to the ballot box. 

This generation knows who they are and what they value, and they don't feel the need to justify themselves. Millennials are changing the status quo.


Reach the columnist at adunn11@asu.edu or follow @adrienne_dunn on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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