Reaching out to millennials is like trying to grab a wet bar of soap.
They’re difficult, unpredictable, and eccentric.
Just look at the democrat candidates. Hillary’s been focusing on the millennial vote for some time. She’s trying to be the hip relatable candidate for young voters (going so far as to give high-fives and appear on SNL). But her efforts have failed miserably. Bernie’s grabbed the millennial vote, despite being a thousand years older than millennials.
And look at Rand Paul, he inherited a lot of his father’s support among the youth.
However, the Republican Party has had a hard time winning over millennials. According to a Pew Research Center study, millennials tilt democrat. Because of this, the issue of millennials always comes up, as it did at CPAC this year.
A whole panel was dedicated to it titled, “How Conservative Principles Meet Millennials’ Goals.”
The panel consisted of Katie Pavlich, from Townhall; Benny Johnson, from IJReview; Rob Bluey, from The Daily Signal; and moderator Dana Perino, from Fox News. And they had an interesting conversation on millennials; their fears, unpredictability, and views of the world.
Here’s the main points from panel, along with some commentary from yours truly. Also, I encourage you to go watch the recording of the panel. It’s worth it.
Katie Pavlich: The Millennials & Foreign Policy
Katie did a nice job of pointing out the differences between Millennials and older generations on foreign policy.
Millennials for the most part, think older generations are stuck in the past when it comes to foreign policy. They see older generations as fixed in a Cold War mindset, especially when it comes to Russia and China.
When it comes to terrorism, Katie pointed out that millennials have a detached outlook on it. Terrorism is still an issue, but it’s not one that they have to worry about at home. The issue is an overseas one. 9/11 is a historic event that they see as an anomaly, not the rule.
However, millennials are worried about how the US deals with terrorism and its effect on their own lives. The NSA and privacy are big issues, as well as civil liberties.
Unnecessarily intervening in world issues isn’t attractive to them, especially military interventions.
My Two Cents: the foreign policy divide between millennials and older generations is a byproduct of the times millennials have grown up in. We grew up in the decades after the Cold War. I never had to worry about Russia invading us, much less nuclear warfare.
Cuba, China, Russia; these are all nations that aren’t what they used to be. More importantly, how the US treated them in the past is no longer applicable to today. Russia isn’t the USSR, China has calmed down (for the most part), and is slowly becoming more capitalistic. And Cuba, well, we have an opportunity to influence the next decade of Cuba-US relations (one we should take advantage of).
Thanks to millennials’ emotional separation from past decades of foreign policy, they come at today’s foreign policy differently than older generations who do have that emotional baggage.
Benny Johnson: Millennials are Unpredictable
Would you have ever guessed that “grumpy cat” would rake in millions of dollars? Probably not, and neither did corporate leaders.
Benny used this as an example of the unpredictability of the millennial generation.
As they say in the online content world; you can’t make viral content, it just happens.
Millennials appreciate authenticity, and they know when you’re faking it. This has made it hard to reach out to millennials effectively. And in Hillary’s case, it’s made it hard to figure out exactly what millennials respond to.
My Two Cents: this unpredictability in millennials is one aspect what makes them an interesting group. It’s also funny to watch politicians trip over themselves trying to reach them. Kind of pathetic actually.
This unpredictability forces the media and politicians to get honest with their younger constituents. Political fakeness will continue to get more and more flak, ultimately forcing political figures to be authentic.
Who wants to bet that this millennial stereotype has hurt efforts to reach out to millennials?
Rob Bluey: Millennials Don’t Trust Institutions
Millennials are the first generation that’s grown up hearing that they won’t be better off than their parents. This has attributed to millennials’ low view of the American dream (and their potential to reach that dream).
Rob Bluey says this has attributed to millennial’s loss of faith in institutions. They don’t trust institutions like the media, churches, family, governments, etc.
My Two Cents: Honestly, I’m a fan of this lack of trust in institutions, especially when it comes to the government and media. Millennials need to become more independent news-wise, and aware of the effect news has on them.
A healthy cynicism of the government is always nice to see.
Conclusion: This is a Big Tent
Dana Perino, the moderator for the panel, made note of something important toward the end of the discussion.
“All of the people that you are here with today, you are of like mind. There is a big tent.”
It was a reminder of the diversity but also unity that is the conservative movement.
And it’s something that separates the millennial generation from older generations. They’re more open, and diverse.
Yes, you might be a libertarian, conservative, or republican, but under each label is thousands of different views.
The diversity of thought and belief is inspiring. And it needs to be recognized. But more importantly, it needs to be accepted.
The Republican Party can’t survive without accepting more diverse views under its tent. I believe millennials are the key to this, and will lead it to fruition.
What do you think about millennials’ role in conservatism? Do you think they bring in new outlooks and a fresh perspective? Leave your answers and thoughts in the comments below.