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Turn Of The Screwed: Does The GOP Have A Shot At Wooing Disgruntled Millennials?

Apr 21 2014, 4:29pm CDT | by

Over the past five years, the millennial generation (born after 1983) has been exercising greater influence over the economy, society and politics of the country, a trend that will only grow in the...

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14 weeks ago

Turn Of The Screwed: Does The GOP Have A Shot At Wooing Disgruntled Millennials?

Apr 21 2014, 4:29pm CDT | by

Over the past five years, the millennial generation (born after 1983) has been exercising greater influence over the economy, society and politics of the country, a trend that will only grow in the coming years. So far, they’ve leaned Democratic in the voting booth, but could the lousy economic fate of what I’ve dubbed “the screwed generation ” lead to a change?

Just look at these numbers. Since 2008, the percentage of the workforce under 25 has dropped by 13.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , while that of people over 55 has risen by 7.6%. Among high school graduates who left school in 2009-11, only 16% had full-time work in 2012 , and 22% worked part time although most sought a full-time job.

These trends are likely to continue and could worsen, according to the U.S. Department of Labor , particularly for workers between 20 and 24. Today even a college degree guarantees increasingly little in terms of social uplift. Tuition debt is nearing $1 trillion ; the percentage of 25-year-olds with school debt has risen from 25% in 2004 to close 40% in 2012. Average indebtedness amongst borrowers has grown 70% from $15,000 to nearly $25,000.

A record one in 10 recent college borrowers has defaulted on their debt, the highest level in a decade. With wages for college graduates on a downward slope, one has to wonder how many more will join them.

Over 43% of recent graduates who are employed are working at jobs that don’t require a college education, according to a recent report by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Some 16% of bartenders and almost the same percentage of parking attendants had a bachelor’s degree or higher, notes Ohio State economics professor Richard Vedder.

Besides a tepid economy, the millennials confront paying off huge public debts, much of it due to the generous pensions of boomer public employees. This constitutes what economist Robert Samuelson has labeled “a generational war” in which the young are destined to be losers in the “withering of the affluent society.” As he puts it: “For millions of younger Americans—say, those 40 and under—living better than their parents is a pipe dream. They won’t.”

Not surprisingly, the young, who are traditionally optimists, are becoming far less so. According to a Rutgers study , 56% of recent high school graduates feel they would not be financially more successful than their parents; only 14% thought they’d do better. College education doesn’t seem to make a difference: 58% of recent graduates feel they won’t do as well as the previous generation. Only 16% thought they’d do better.

According to Pew Research, up to half of millennials lean Democratic, compared to barely a third who favor the Republicans. The actue generational chronciclers Morley Winograd and Mike Hais suggest that this will continue and that hard times may even strengthen millennial support for what they describe as “economically activist government.” They cite a 2011 Pew poll that found millennials preferred a larger government that provided more services over a smaller one by a 54% to 35% margin. By contrast, 54% of boomers (born 1946-1964) and 59% of the silent generation (born 1925-1945) favored a smaller government.

Critically, they maintain, these political views are likely to remain in place throughout their lifespans. The “Greatest Generation,” those born before 1925 who grew up during the Depression, never lost their enthusiasm for government.

But it may be premature for Democrats to presume they have a lock on millennials’ loyalty.

In 2008, twice as many millennials identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic (58%) as identified with the GOP or leaned Republican (29%), according to Pew . Cut to 2014, and the Democrats’ advantage among millennials has narrowed to 16 percentage points (50% to 34%).

Although barely a a quarter of those under 35 said they had positive feelings toward the Republican Party in the last Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll , in a poll earlier this year, support for the Democrats has also dropped from roughly half to barely a third. Last year, a majority of 18- to 29-year-olds polled in a Harvard study no longer approved of the president’s performance.

This suggest that like boomers under Jimmy Carter, who then shifted to Reagan, the millennials are not to be taken for granted. To attract them, though, Republicans will need to change many of their positions.

Millennials, for example, are far more heavily minority, and descended from recent immigrants; they are likely to be far more permissive on immigration reform than earlier generation. At the same time, they embrace significantly more liberal views on issues like gay marriage and legalization of marijuana than older generations. Republicans right now are not competitive on these issues.

Some conservatives rest their hopes not on attracting millennial voters but on the possibility that they’ll stay home during the mid-term elections. In 2010, 18- to 24-year-olds turned out at half the rate of the rest of electorate . But this can’t go on forever; the millennial share of the vote, even with poor turnouts, will continue to go up and will eventually overwhelm a party that depends on older voters to prop them up. In 2012 millennials accounted for roughly a quarter of the electorate; by 2020 they will be about 36%.

Simply put, Republicans have no choice but to engage this population. To do so, they must focus primarily on economic growth, where the Democrats don’t have much to recommend themselves. Issues where the GOP could make up ground include reform for boomer pensions, as well as policies to spark job and income growth.

To win over a significant share of millennials, Republicans don’t so much need a new Reagan as a program that inspires more confidence in the economic future./>/>

Although I am not fond of either party, a more competitive political environment among millennials would be useful, not only for conservatives also for the generation itself. As African Americans should have learned by now, being taken for granted does not guarantee better service from the political class. Under the country’s first black president, conditions for African Americans have declined rapidly.

The evolution of the boomer generation suggests that such a change of fortune could happen. Between 1990 and today, the percentage of boomers identifying with the Democratic Party has dropped from 31% in 1990 to 25%. Much of this stemmed from reaction to the failures of the Carter presidency.

This suggests that, although the formative years are critical, people do change their views as they age, experience life as adults and, most importantly, become parents. Many may not become Republicans, but could easily shift towards independent status. It may not happen this year, but perhaps later in the decade.

Over time, even the self-absorbed boomers will have to give way to the needs of the new generation. The challenge for both parties is to develop policies that will allow the millennials to rise as have previous American generations. Whether these ideas come from the right or left seems less important than that the debate be engaged, open and focused more on the future than the past.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejec ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammudd ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selata ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Min ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Ba ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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