Millennials Haven't Just Rejected the GOP — We've Embraced Big Government

On Thursday The American Conservative posted an article on Business Insider asserting that millennials support big government solely because there is no other choice. The author fails to point out the fact that the reason there is no other choice is because the “other choice” (i.e. the Republican Party) is so far out of touch that millennials recognize conservative ideals will not move the country forward. 

The author, Jordan Bloom, cites the College Republicans’ results from a forum of millennial voters that revealed a “scathing” assessment of the GOP. He then goes on to characterize this focus group as uninformed and “humorously anthropological.” Bloom couples the group’s conclusions with those of “libertarian populists” critical of the GOP’s tendency toward big business and slashing spending rather than fixing problems. 

Bloom invokes Pascal Emmanuel-Gobry’s conservative manifesto which reasons that Americans turn to “big government” (i.e. the Democratic Party) when they feel socially and economically insecure and believe big government is the last resort. Bloom uses Obamacare as an example of this. What he fails to realize is that big government is favored because the GOP’s counter-proposals either do not exist or are not acceptable, as they are more methods to derail the Obama presidency than move forward. Republicans have tried to repeal this legislation more than 30 times. During this time they could have been pursuing other valuable legislation. The debt limit is another example. The GOP wants to slash programs that millennials have enjoyed throughout their lives or hope to enjoy in their future, such as Medicare and Social Security. To young Americans, the GOP is seen as a jaded, self-serving party that disrespects the president many young Americans voted for. 

Bloom asserts one more reason millennials are turning to big government is that they believe it is the only way they have a hope of being as economically successful as their parents. That implies millennials, a group Bloom is a member of, are a group of competitive, entitled brats. We’re more than that. Perhaps this generation realizes the ways in which the Bush administration set us back to times prior to the Clinton years when we had a budget surplus. We see how Congress has fallen apart on both sides, the distrust and incivility that prevails. We consider history, looking for times when the country enjoyed prosperity and coincidentally those years were big-government years. 

Millennials aren’t stupid or selfish. They’re hopeful. Of course we want to be as successful as our parents — it’s the American Dream! Millennials are in charge of their generation, and maybe, regardless of what gray-haired Republicans say, big government is the way we need to go for a while. We shouldn’t be pigeon-holed as defaulting to a less-than-desired choice because that’s not the case. We’re making our own choices for our future, and we’re not settling.  

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Stephanie Northwood

Pursuing BA in Political Science at Allegheny College, to graduate in May 2013, most interested in health and foreign policy, Progressive.

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