Conventional wisdom states that a candidate leads his or her people to the water and makes them drink. With millennial and late birthed Generation X’ers, this is not the case. There are some nuances that must be taken into account before their vote is somehow handed over to another candidate or political party. I believe there are at least three powerful points that need to not only be considered but understood.
- There is no trust in the establishment
As we have seen in this election cycle the two truly outsider or outliers candidates have truly grasped the frustration that the country is feeling. And while they are trying to pull it in different ideological directions there are some consistencies within their groups. They are tired of the government not working on their behalf and they are tired of lawmakers, who claim they work for them, but when you take a critical look you are further behind than you were before. The disappearing middle class has only exasperated the problem for formerly upwardly mobile Gen X’ers and those millennials who desire to find that comfortable life situation.
2. They are not scared to sit this one out
There was a time when people were afraid of things that went bump in the night. They hated the idea of uncertainty and would prefer to simply go along to get along. Not so with this group of Americans. Plato tells us that “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” They believe in standing or in this case sitting for what’s right in their eyes. And because the world is not as big of a place anymore, with the prolific use of the interweb, they can attach to like minded people. Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, points out, “Yes, I think it’s okay to abandon the big, established, stuck tribe. It’s okay to say to them, ‘You’re not going where I need to go, and there’s no way I’m going to persuade all of you to follow me. So, rather than standing here watching the opportunities fade away, I’m heading off. I’m betting some of you, the best of you will follow me.’” Many of them will take a seat on the bench. But let’s be clear: they are not done with the political struggle, they are just through with the candidates who are left. President Trump does not scare them more that President Hillary does, some believe he may be the catalyst to usher in ‘The Revolution.’ So you can’t use fear and guilt them into your plans.
3. You can’t make them do anything
I was always wondering how you herd cats. This video from 2006 lets me know that it has been done with short haired cats. But this generation is a different breed. They are not beholden to anyone, but something. Many for the first time participated in the political process. They saw the inequality of how money gains you access. They saw the inequity of a broken criminal justice system. They saw the inhumanity of this country turning its back on the poor and the marginalized. They simply said no more. SO, they stood up only to find superdelegates, closed primaries, and elections that smell of corruption. And now, because they believe in a cause which has a candidate, the establishment believes that that person can simply turn them over, like producing your license at a traffic stop? I’m sorry, this group really doesn’t work like that. They supported Sanders for more than a free lunch, or free insurance, or free tuition. They supported the cause because in the words of Steven Pinker, “Morality is not just any old topic in psychology but close to our conception of the meaning of life. Moral goodness is what gives each of us the sense that we are worthy human beings.” They believe in what’s right and wrong. More than we give them credit. They do their research, they talk among themselves, they arrive at a decision and they stick to it. So, to those who think Sen. Elizabeth Warren can somehow come to this group and say, “We know the system is rigged, but join us cause it ain’t rigged as bad”, or that Senator Bernie Sanders can say, “Hillary is a progressive and will champion our cause”, they are not buying that. They are not drinking the Kool-Aid. Some will support Hillary, others will vote Green Party, write in Bernie Sanders, or vote Trump. But know this: They will tell you in a New York minute that if you believe that somehow, someway, you’re going make them vote for Hillary, with the emphasis on make, they will reply, “You can kiss my……..” I’ll let you fill in the blank.