Kellogg column: Youth vote reflects dependency on big government
A recent poll found that youth in America don’t feel represented by the two major political parties. Despite this, over 60 percent of Millennials voted for the Democrat candidate in the last three presidential elections. This trend is not due to appeal of the Democrat candidates or platform to the younger generation. Most youth follow in the political footsteps of their parents. Unfortunately, minority groups have long been influenced by proponents of big-government dependency.
The Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago funded the poll, conducted by GenForward this past July, to highlight how race and ethnicity are shaping the younger generations of America. Less than 30 percent of those surveyed said the two major parties represent the American people well. Yet the poll reveals that nearly two-thirds of young people of color think the Democrat Party cares about them more.
In presidential elections from 1952 through 2000, the cumulative average of the youth vote was evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. The trend toward Democrats is relatively new, at a time when the Republican and Democrat parties have dug their ideological heels deeper. It’s no surprise that most youth expressed dissatisfaction for both parties’ candidates for president.
But the demographics of America have changed over the past 20 years. From a racial standpoint, the percentage of whites, blacks and Asians has remained relatively consistent. With regard to ethnicity, the number of Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, regardless of race, has increased by 20 million. About 20 percent of whites claim Hispanic ethnicity. That number will likely increase to about 30 percent over the next 40 years, according to Pew Research Center.
About 60 percent of Hispanics are Millennials (currently age 18-33 years) or younger. Gallup studies show that at least 70 percent of youth identify and affiliate with the same political parties as their parents. From 1992 to 2014, Pew data reveal that Democrats where favored over Republicans by African-Americans at 80 percent to 10 percent, by Asian-Americans at 65 percent to 23 percent, and Hispanic-Americans (regardless of race) at 56 percent to 26 percent.
The GenForward poll shows American youth are not voting Democrat because they are enamored by the party. The parents of Millennials aren’t particularly inspired by Democrats either. Unfortunately, the older generations among minorities have often been swayed by the politics of race and ethnicity. For decades, so-called people of color have been encouraged to believe that they need help from big government to succeed.
In the last two decades, the welfare state has exploded, providing entitlement programs that cost over $2 trillion a year. For instance, more than 45 million people are on food stamps. During President Obama’s tenure, 5 million people have been added to the program. As another example, Medicaid recipients have increased by 10 million under the current administration. And House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, D-California, famously said that unemployment insurance is one of the “best ways to grow the economy.”
Data from Pew indicate that people of all races, ethnicities and political persuasions have benefited from the plethora of welfare programs. Minorities are more likely to receive assistance than non-Hispanic whites, but that’s not the real story. Those who receive assistance from programs such as food stamps are twice as likely to vote Democrat over Republican because they are seen as benefactors.
The political attitudes of parents and kids in the U.S. are too often effectually shaped by government programs and policies that promote dependency based on racial and ethnic criteria. Conservatives are faced with a significant challenge as the future of the nation passes into the hands of Millennials and younger generations. Republicans should not adopt progressive platforms or liberal-minded candidates. Instead, conservatives must convince all Americans that no color or cultural background is a barrier to citizens pursuing dreams based on their own merit, without government assistance.
In the United States, all people have the opportunity to simply identify as Americans. The principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility and free markets work for all of us. The welfare state bestows nothing beyond dependence and mediocrity. As today’s youth move through life, they will realize goals and hard work matter most for independent success … and their votes will swing to the right. The kids of Millennials will feel unloved by the political parties too, but they’ll move toward Republicans … just like Mom and Dad.
James D. Kellogg is an engineering consultant and the author of “Radical Action: A Colt Kelley Thriller”. Look for the novel on amazon.com and visit JamesDKellogg.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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