Heller: Millennials could change the political landscape this time around

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The midterm elections of 2018 might be a watershed moment for millennials as a whole. Though it’s been nearly two years since Republicans gained control of both Congress and the White House, events such as the #MeToo movement and the March For Our Lives have many millennials of voting age extremely enthusiastic about this election cycle. But will it matter?

Studies have shown that millennials are one of the largest liberal bases out there, but have been notoriously absent from the polls in midterm elections. As a result, conservative candidates, who they tend to disagree with, get elected; due to older generations, such as baby boomers, constantly showing up to the polls and voting.

There are many different factors contributing to low voter turnout, but more often than not, millennials simply don’t vote in non-presidential elections.

So, what makes this time so different? Donald Trump.

The midterms are often a sort of referendum on the sitting President as a whole. What the president does or says often reflects back on his or her party, and boy, did Donald Trump do a lot. For the past two years, his actions have been a public relations nightmare for Republicans, and unfortunately reflected back badly at the party. Recent polling data suggests that Democrats are poised to gain control of the House, while Republicans may be able to retain control of the Senate, albeit by the skin of their teeth.  

Now more than ever, millennials have an opportunity to change the political landscape as a whole. Since 2008, the generation that saw the birth of the iPhone and the election of America’s first black president have been taking for granted the way the country has been moving forward.

Subsequently, millennials have neglected to actually take responsibility for their future, and as a consequence have left their future in the hands of those who only seek to take advantage of them. Also, since millennials started at a slightly lower turnout rate than boomers did, they may continue to trail them in voting at the comparable point in their lives. Probably not until 2024, as some experts claim, will they gain ground.

Whatever the case may be, this November’s election is projected to be the country’s first in which there are more millennials eligible to vote than baby boomers, a transition that will end a nearly four decades long dominance, since 1978. If millennials actually show up this time around, they could possibly change the entire political landscape for the future and completely change the country’s direction as a whole.  

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