Monday, August 21, 2017

So ... What's With The Millennials? (Part 2)

When Hillary lost the election...

Brendan O'Neill: My Beef With Millennials
Published on Aug 13, 2017

Millennials at Work
The Agenda with Steve Paikin
Published on Jan 4, 2017
Millennials, in sheer numbers, now make up the largest cohort in the workforce and they're bringing with them their own distinctive sensibilities. The Agenda examines how they are changing the workplace.

Millennials: We Suck and We're Sorry
Stephen Parkhurst
Published on Sep 18, 2013
Finally, the terrible Millennial generation apologizes for being so terrible! We're the worst!
Directed by Stephen Parkhurst

Starring Sara Jonsson, Nick Schwartz, Ronnie Fleming & Bridget Araujo
Millennials aren’t taking over politics just yet
By Philip Bump
31 July 2017
Katherine Quigley, 19, of Stuart’s Draft, Va., poses for a picture with Miley Cyrus, who was making a campaign visit for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine at George Mason University last year. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
At some point, the age of the baby boomer in American politics will end. It’s simple demographics: Boomers keep getting older and older, and that means there are fewer and fewer of them. But, contrary to two recent news articles, the boomer political era hasn’t ended yet — and it won’t end next year, either.
We will start with an article from Pew Research, which notes that, for the first time, voters younger than the boomers outnumbered baby boomers (and those older) in votes cast in 2016.
There’s an important caveat to this that we’ve noted before. Unlike “baby boomer” — people born between 1946 and 1964 — there is no set definition for “millennial” (or “Generation X,” for that matter). Generations are mostly made-up marketing gimmicks, with the exception of the boomers for whom particular demographic boundaries exist. So Pew’s definition of “millennial” isn’t necessarily someone else’s, and that’s important to remember for analysis of how the generations compare.
That same issue affects another recent article. At CNN, political analyst Ron Brownstein predicts that 2018 will be the first election in which there are more millennials eligible to vote than boomers. “That transition,” he writes, “will end a remarkable four decades of dominance for the baby boomers, who have been the largest generation of eligible voters since 1978, when they surpassed what’s been popularly referred to as the Greatest Generation (or G.I. Generation) raised during the Depression.”
But then he raises a critical point, one also at the heart of the Pew analysis: Young people vote less consistently.
Pew’s combination of Gen Xers and millennials in its comparison to boomers is important because there are more millennials than Gen Xers — but Gen Xers vote a lot more heavily.
Take Gen Xers out of Pew’s calculus and boomers are still the biggest voting bloc.
In early 2015, we used data from Political Data to graph turnout by age in California the previous November. The result was a remarkable curve in which first-time voters cast ballots more heavily than those in their 20s, after which point turnout tracked upward along with age.
That was an off-year election, which matters. We pulled exit polling data from elections since 1976 and compared turnout in that year’s presidential or House elections with the composition of the population at large. In every election, the composition of the electorate contained a lower percentage of the youngest age group (usually 18- to 29-year-olds) than the population on the whole. In most elections, the second-oldest group turned out more heavily as a percentage of the electorate than of the population.
But notice the difference between the red years (presidential) and the green (off-year) ones. While in most presidential years, the oldest age group turned out as a lower percentage of the electorate than they constituted in the population, that wasn’t the case in off-year elections. 
This a critical point for Brownstein’s thesis: Millennials (however you define the group) aren’t going to vote more heavily than boomers next year because young people simply don’t vote as much, particularly in off-year elections! And they didn’t vote more than boomers last year, either.
Again: At some point, this will change, and millennials will call the shots in our political process. But for that to happen, they need to actually vote. And for that to happen, it seems, they need to get a little older.
Millennials' Political Views Don't Make Any Sense
That's not a harsh assessment. It's just a fair description.
Derek Thompson 
July 15, 2014
Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They're for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they've heard of. They'd like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn't run anything.
That's all from a new Reason Foundation poll surveying 2,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 29. Millennials' political views are, at best, in a stage of constant metamorphosis and, at worst, "totally incoherent," as Dylan Matthews puts it.
It's not just the Reason Foundation. In March, Pew came out with a similar survey of Millennial attitudes that offered another smorgasbord of paradoxes:
  • Millennials hate the political parties more than everyone else, but they have the highest opinion of Congress.
  • Young people are the most likely to be single parents and the least likely to approve of single parenthood.
  • Young people voted overwhelmingly for Obama when he promised universal health care, but they oppose his universal health care law as much as the rest of the country ... even though they still pledge high support for universal health care. (Like other groups, but more so: They seem allergic to the term Obamacare.)
This is all very confusing. Perhaps it should be when we're using a couple thousand subjects to guess the collective opinions of 86 million people. What are we sure we know about Millennials? Two big things and one small thing.
1. Millennials are more liberal than the rest of the country, particularly on social issues, but they get more economically conservative when they make more money.
The youngest voting generation today is the most liberal bloc in a long, long time for three reasons.
First, they're young and poor, and young, poor people are historically more liberal. Second, they're historically non-white. Non-white Americans are historically liberal, too. Third, their white demo is historically liberal compared to older white voters, as Jon Chait has pointed out. It all adds up to one cresting blue wave. For now.
But something interesting happens when Millennials start making serious dough. They start getting much more squeamish about giving it away.
Richer Millennials on Redistribution: No, Thanks
2. Millennials don't know what they're talking about when it comes to economics.
Young people lean way left on issues like gay marriage, pot, and immigration. On abortion and gun control, they swim closer to the rest of the electorate.
But on economics, they're all over the map. You get the sense, reading the Reason Foundation and Pew studies, that a savvy pollster could trick a young person into supporting basically any economic policy in the world with the right combination of triggers. Conservative and liberal partisans can cherry-pick this survey to paint Millennials as whatever ideology they want. To wit:
On spending:
Conservatives can say: 65 percent of Millennials would like to cut spending.
Liberals can say: 62 percent would like to spend more on infrastructure and jobs.
On taxes:
Conservatives can say: 58 percent of Millennials want to cut taxes overall.
Liberals can say: 66 percent want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
On government's role in our lives:
Conservatives can say: 66 percent of Millennials say that "when something is funded by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful."
Liberals can say: More than two-thirds think the government should guarantee food, shelter, and a living wage.
On government size:
Conservatives can say: 57 percent want smaller government with fewer services (if you mention the magic word "taxes").
Liberals can say: 54 percent want larger government with more services (if you don't mention "taxes").
Some of these positions suggest, rather than prove, utter incoherence. For example, you can technically support (a) reducing the overall tax burden and (b) raising taxes on the wealthy by raising the investment tax and absolving the bottom 50 percent of Social Security taxes. Somehow, I think what's happening is simpler than young people doing the long math of effective tax rates. I think they're just confused.
Overall, Millennials offer the murky impression of a generation that doesn't really understand basic economics. To be fair, neither do most Americans. Or many economists, perhaps. Or most journalists. Economics is hard.
3. Far less important, but entertaining nonetheless: Millennials don't know what socialism is, but they think it sounds nice.
I predict that any readers over the age of 30 will absolutely love this fact about voters under the age of 29. Forty-two percent of Millennials think socialism is preferable to capitalism, but only 16 percent of Millennials could accurately define socialism in the survey.
Also See:

So ... What's With The Millennials?

(Part 1)
10 August 2017

Older White Generation Voted Trump!

12 November 2017

The Me-Generation is Growing Up!

13 June 2016

The Precarious World of Teenagers!

02 April 2009