When it comes to millennials, a new term has been coined – political dropouts. When considering this term, it forces one to ask his or herself a couple of questions. 1) “Is it true?” and 2) “If it is true, why?”
If we assume that it is true, we must ask ourselves what has led to this disconnect. One reason may be that millennials do not have an extraordinary amount of trust in the government. According to the 2016 Millennial Impact Report, “more than half of millennials trust the government only a little or not at all, compared to 44 percent of millennials who trust the government some or a lot.” Some believe that, as a result, millennials participate less in political activism and more in civic activism.
To simplify, this means that even if the phrase “political dropout” is accurate, millennials still care about our sovereign state. However, there is a difference in ideology. The average Millennial believes that our issues are better resolved by the individual than the government. This theory is further supported by a 2014 Pew Research study in which 50 percent of millennials identified as politically independent as opposed to Republican or Democrat.
Still, while there appear to be reasons that explain the so-called political indifference of Generation Y, does this indifference actually exist? The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) says no.
In a report titled “A Study of College Student Political Engagement,” CIRCLE found that “millennials are more involved in both civic and political life than their predecessors.”
This is because in 1993, the Charles F. Kettering Foundation published a study that revealed that college students at that time considered politics irrelevant to their lives. In comparison, CIRCLE says that students now say that politics are relevant to the issues that concern them.
But at the end of the day it is not about who is the most politically aware but who is taking the most political action. In this regard, I would like to see my fellow millennials doing a bit more.