“RISE OF THE MILLENITARIANS”
“Millennials” – those Americans identified by social anthropologists as being between the ages of 18 and 33 – currently represent the “Holy Grail” of both the Democrat and Republican parties as the two political groups maneuver to win the White House in 2016.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, are being spent by special interests organizations, political action committees and both left and right leaning political consultant firms to track and capture the vote of the Millennials, with an intensity similar to that of a team of wild life biologists tracking a herd of migrating elk. Being careful not to spook the herd, the apparatchiks of both political parties observe the habits of species Millennial from a discrete distance, examining their social habits, their daily routines and so forth (Elk#1 to Elk#2: “Are those heads peaking over yonder ridge?”).
A recent PEW Research Center study (http://www.pewresearch.org/) of the Millennial herd was enlightening if not downright frightening for both the GOP and Democrats. PEW’s study indicates that the Millennial is, in fact, NOT a herd beast – in fact, far from it. PEW’s study seems to indicate that Millenials are not so much disassociated from political parties and structured social groups in the United States as they just don’t see any value in joining a recognized herd (or political party). They are not “joiners” – they don’t really run to community organizations, churches and most troubling for the two main political parties in the U.S., they think about politics as much as a Bull Elk contemplates quantum physics.
I’m reminded of an old Star Trek episode (Baby Boomer Alert!) where the Enterprise crew goes head to head with their arch rivals, the Klingons, over the destiny of a seemingly peaceful and benign people living on a lonely planet who, up until the arrival of the humans and Klingons, haven’t thought to “join” an alliance in the galaxy because they haven’t seen a need to. Just as Capt. Kirk and the Klingons are about to go mano a mano with interstellar weapons and wipe each other out, the planet’s inhabitants show their hand – they’ve known all along the cruelties both the humans and the Klingons are capable of, and in fact, the “benign” citizens living on the planet possess a far superior arsenal of weaponry that could annihilate both groups who desperately want to make the neutral parties their “own.” After this becomes apparent, the Klingons and the humans leave the planet, a bit deflated in knowing their arguments and attempts at winning over the people might as well never started in the first place.
As so it is with the Millenials. At the end of the day, the Democrats and the Republicans will find the group hard, if not impossible, to crack. Baubles, trinkets, entreaties will probably not work. But perhaps both political parties may find a weird sort of reverse psychology may work with the Millennial. Leave them alone, don’t chase them, act with common sense, and their herd may migrate toward you…or not. Whether or not this situation may argue for both parties to play to their bases and forget the Millennials– remains to be seen. Perhaps Libertarians – those outliers of the political system – who also want to be left alone – could become the political home of the Millennials. Time will tell if the two groups merge…although I think there are early signs they are beginning to. Call it the “rise of the Millenitarians.”