Millennials (ranging from 18 to 29 years old) have been accused of killing off different industries that are viewed as integral parts of the American way of life, from the casual dining industry to the institution of marriage.
Generation Xer’s and Baby Boomers seemed to be baffled about how to motivate Millennials to participate in “anything” and with the 2020 election coming up, people are beginning to get a little scared about whether or not Millennials will use their numbers to tip America back over to the Democratic party. So now the question that presents itself is “How do we get the Millennial to vote as a collective?” Below are a few ideas on how to get Millennials excited to get out and vote.
- Make candidates’ information easier and quicker to find. “A lot of Millennials are just not engaged in the process. There is a lot of information about each candidate for us to research, but I personally don’t think the information is easily accessible,” says 27-year-old, Elaysha Wright, a Miami University doctoral candidate from Cincinnati, OH. Millennials like things short, concise and to the point–easy for them to digest and use to make an educated decision. Who are the candidates? How do they line up with my beliefs, and can they actually make happen the things I want? “We know that credible information on each candidate exists, but we don’t seem to know where to get the right information,” says Wright.
- Go to where they are. Millennials aren’t receiving their news from television or newspapers anymore. They are getting A LOT of information via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Present information in ways that don’t impede on their everyday life, but instead embeds itself into the daily activities that Millennials already partake in.
- Focus on the voting process, not just getting people registered. It’s not hard to get registered to vote because voter registration comes to Millennials. The same can’t be said for the step by step process of what to do on voting day. Getting the information to Millennials about what is expected of them would cut down on much of the anxiety association with voting, and would make way for Millennials to make confident voting decisions instead of being overwhelmed with the difficulty of the process.
- Try listening! Millennials, along with the rest of the country, were left a little shell shocked from the 2016 presidential election where Donald Trump bested Hilary Clinton. And while left shocked, I wouldn’t say Millennials were surprised at all. This is America, an America that has left Flint, Michigan without clean water for five years. An America, where black men are being hunted down like animals by the very people that are supposed to protect and serve them. And for the Millennials that did in fact vote in 2016, who wants to experience that kind of heartbreak and disappointment again? Millennials are already in a massive amount of DEBT, along with being overworked and underpaid while the older generations are seemingly saying “get over it,” but who wants to have their time wasted? Millennials for the most part are feeling disillusioned and unheard.
- How about having an actual conversation? Being a Millennial in America is like having someone constantly ask for your opinion about what WE think needs to happen for America to be changed for the better and then having absolutely no one listen to you.Millennials felt heard when they voted for and ultimately elected President Obama. And while they got to see some awesome things happen while he was in office, many of these things didn’t make the everyday struggle of life any easier. So the question that needs to be asked isn’t “why aren’t Millennials voting?” or “how do we motivate Millennials to cast a cohesive vote” but “what will Millennials get out of this?” What are the things they value and how can you as a voter align with their interests in order to select the best candidate that would stand a chance against Trump supporters at the ballot box? The dialogue needs to be different so that all parties involved are being heard and considered when choosing a candidate.
Ultimately, Millennials will have to take some accountability when it comes to exercising their right to vote. There can be no expectation of change if they choose not to participate at all. “If you don’t make a decision, it’ll be made for you,” says 25-year-old Hough resident, Chinemerem Onyeukwu. With another four years of a Trump-led democracy looming over America’s heads, Millennials have to see voting as not only an individual act, but a collective effort that works to serve the greater population.