Younger voters may sway election, but don't count on it

Monday, November 5, 2018

Baby Boomers have long dominated American life, but the post-war generation has lost enough members to the point that younger generations make up a clear majority of the voters in Tuesday’s election.

But will Generation X, Millennials and post-Millennial voters actually turn out in enough numbers to make a difference?

Not if their record is any indication, according to a Pew Research study (https://pewrsr.ch/2OrYLqr).

While the number of voting-eligible younger voters has increased by 18 million since 2014 — some through naturalization — it may not be enough to counteract their tendency to avoid the ballot box.

In the 2014 midterm election, which itself had a historically low turnout, younger voters accounted for 53 percent of eligible voters, but cast just 36 million votes, 21 million fewer than Boomer, Silent and Greatest generations, ages 54 and older.

With wide generational and political differences this year, Tuesday’s election has the potential to beat the 2014 turnout by a long way, and numbers should give the Democratic Party the edge — 59 percent of Millennials registered to vote affiliate with or lean toward the Democratic Party, as compared to about half of Boomers, 48 percent, and 43 percent of the Silent Generation.

However, in the 2014 midterms, only 39 percent of Gen Xers who were eligible turned out to vote, and 22 percent of Millennials.

Still, according to Pew Research, if the younger generations were to turn out to vote at the rate Boomers did at that age, post-Millennials, millennials and Gen Xers would account for the majority of votes.

The numbers are all very interesting, and are the sort of thing political professionals use to position their candidates for a win.

Unfortunately, catering to demographics to win elections at any cost can result in policies that are popular at the expense of what is best for the country as a whole.

It’s up to the average voter, whatever age, to see through the emotional appeal and marketing haze to select representatives who truly have our nation’s best interests at heart.

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