Memo to Trump and Clinton: Use Tough Love to Win the Millennials

From left: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

The Millennial Vote is being treated like a Magical Unicorn in the 2016 election. It is seen as something valuable and mysterious. As Dan Schwabel, at Quartz, in a piece modestly entitled The complete guide to winning the millennial vote this election recently noted:

As we head into November’s US elections, all candidates are vying for the millennial vote—and for good reason. Millennials are … a critical bloc for any campaign. 69.2 million are now eligible to vote, which is more than double compared to the past decade. When added together with Gen-X voters, 2016 represents the first time young people have displaced the Baby Boomer vote. At the same time, millennials are historically less likely to vote than their older peers, with only around half having voted in the last presidential election. Knowing this, there’s no question that all political parties will be pushing hard to get them to the voting booths this fall.

I, too, covet the kids’ allegiance. Yet I – an aging Boomer – confess to finding the Millennials mystifying. I am the father and co-owner of three of them (plus one Gen Xer). I know more than a few others. They’re Everywhere, and deeply enigmatic.

Yet I have a theory that could provide the key to resolving their riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. They have not yet found, but absolutely must conceive and declare, their own Narrative.

Let the candidates take note.

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Can Trump Challenge Hillary Among Millennials?

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Hampshire (photo credit: Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA 2.0)

As Paul noted, Donald Trump has been surging in recent head-to-head polls between himself and Hillary Clinton. The latest ABC/Washington Post poll, which shows Trump leading Clinton by two points, indicates that Trump is closing the gap within a very interesting demographic: millennial voters, or in this case, voters 18-29 years of age.

Back in March, the last time this poll was conducted, Clinton was beating Trump 50 percent to 41 percent overall. In that same poll, Clinton was running the table with millennials, winning that demographic 64 percent to 25 percent. However, in the May edition of the poll released over the weekend, Trump now leads Clinton 46 percent to 44 percent, and perhaps even more interestingly, Trump is receiving 42 percent of the vote among voters 18-29 compared to Clinton’s 45 percent — a 36 point swing among millennial voters.

What is the impetus for Trump’s 17 percent gain among young voters? Are they disillusioned Bernie Sanders voters, supporting Trump to protest the DNC-backed Clinton machine? Or has Trump’s message begun to resonate with young voters who are fed up with politics-as-usual, many of whom supported Sanders for that very reason? Will Trump be able to bring young voters into the GOP fold?

It will be very interesting to see if this poll is an outlier or signals the start of a new trend, but for a candidate like Donald Trump, who doesn’t seem to adhere to conventional wisdom, either eventuality is a possibility. Continue Reading

New Poll: Fear for Religious Freedom Surges Among Christian Millennials

Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

A new Barna poll commissioned by Alliance Defending Freedom finds a large increase in Americans’ concerns about religious freedom.

Forty-one percent of Americans overall say religious freedom is getting worse, compared to 33 percent who were concerned in 2012.

But concerns are concentrated among practicing Christian millennials, who are growing up in the midst of liberal-dominated cultures after gay marriage: 56 percent of young practicing Christian adults now say they are “very concerned” about the future of religious freedom, up from 19 percent in 2012.

But even atheists and agnostics report more concerns about the future of religious liberty now than just three years ago.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Renee Elmers’ Two Percent Solution

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) became the face of Republican timidity when she publicly justified torpedoing a quick vote in January on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, also known as the 20-week bill. She will reap the whirlwind, but it is the House Republican leadership which deserves the blame for this betrayal.

Why are GOP elites so squeamish about voting against late-term abortion?   It is telling that Rep. Ellmers’ and others’ decision to torpedo a late-term abortion ban came just after a retreat the leadership organized for GOP House members featuring demographer Neil Howe (who coined the term “millennials”) and focused on how the GOP can attract younger voters. “The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials—social issues just aren’t as important [to them],” Ellmers told the National Journal.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider how much sense it makes to torpedo a late-term abortion plan in order to attract younger voters. According to Gallup (May 2014), overall millennials split 50% pro-choice and 40% pro-life.  So in the very best case, we boost by 10% our standing among a cohort which represented 22% of the turnout in 2012 and 19% in 2014 – a net gain of 2% in the total vote. How many voters would we lose in the process of attempting to gain that 2 percent?

For every millennial who votes Republican because of our doing nothing on a social issue, one or more pro-life activists who went door-to-door last year on behalf of Republican candidates will stay home.   Continue Reading