Right before election day 2016, I was worried about whether Clinton had enough of the millennial vote to beat Trump . Looking back, this concern was well founded. Clinton didn't have enough support despite policies that would have favored millennials. Millennials are the nation's largest age group, with voting power that often goes unheeded by those who have it. The lack of millennial support helped spur Clinton's defeat.
Regardless of Clinton's shortcomings, if we could have expected an age group to vote against Trump, it would have been millennials. A Quinnipiac University poll found 64 percent favored Clinton before the election. Trump's campaign didn't look promising to the mainstream press, partly because 61 percent of millennials had an unfavorable opinion of him, and millennials make up 31 percent of the electorate, which rivals baby boomers. Looking back, polls now mean less than the press would like them to.
When it came down to it, about 55 percent of millennials who voted cast their ballot for Clinton. In 2012, 60 percent voted for Obama. That drop off of 5 percent hurt Clinton a lot, because a 60 percent millennial vote would've meant 1.2 million more votes for her. As it was, she only needed a little more than 50 thousand votes in three states to beat Trump.
The same percentage of millennials who voted for Mitt Romney voted for Trump--37 percent. It's a wonder even that many voted for him. Is it because of economic problems?
While Clinton campaigned partially on ideas she borrowed from Bernie Sanders--easing college debt and paying for college--Trump made it sound like he was going to stick it to big corporations, bring working class jobs back to America, and give companies incentive to raise wages.
Millennials are a big part of a workforce for which wages are stagnating. Wage stagnation has caused a lot of millennials to take side gigs, but side gigs aren't worth a lot: the average side gig nets about $299 a month, and only 15 percent of the people who work a side gig make over $500 a month. The millennial who works a side gig is left with less time on their hands and has to watch as the enormously wealthy and corporations catch huge tax breaks. Now, if Trump succeeds with his budget, millennials will have to watch this disparity grow even further.
Trump is promising $4,000 will go back in people's pockets if his budget passes. But this promise is a Trojan horse to sneak enormous tax breaks in for the wealthy. Taxpayers would see a 0.8 percent break on income taxes --thus the $4,000--but the top 1 percent would see far more than that, with a bonus of 10.2 to 16 percent more after-tax income.
As Bernie Sanders points out , the Koch brothers will get a tax break of $33 billion, the Walton family of Walmart will get $52 billion, the Trump family $4 billion. Trump's budget amounts to a massive money-grab for the wealthiest individuals. The top 1 percent will reap 80 percent of the benefits, the top one-tenth of the 1 percent will see 40 percent of the benefits.
The tax plan also calls for reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The idea here is if you lower taxes on businesses, they'll be able to pay workers more. But The Balance points out that most large corporations don't pay more than 15 percent anyhow, because of loopholes. Some don't even pay any taxes because they pass them onto shareholders (who, in turn, only pay 15 percent). If corporations are already paying minimal taxes now and it hasn't led them to raise wages, why would it be any different once the corporate tax rate is officially lower?
At the heart of it, Trump is promoting Republican ideology; he just makes it seem more extreme through his rhetoric. As the Republican plank goes, it's up to businesses and individuals to decide what to do with their money. But millennials are big on corporate social responsibility--70 percent say a company's social responsibility policies and commitments influence their choice of employer. Is it a corporation's social responsibility to raise wages for impoverished workers? You'd think so.
There's a veiled threat here. According to Ohio University,
"Millennials are particularly tech savvy, and they don't think twice about researching a company and looking into its ethical record and labor practices. Many feel like it is their duty to do their part in making the world a better place, and this burgeoning generation does not want to be associated with or support companies who do not take responsibility for the world and the people in it."
In other words, if a company doesn't act right, millennials will vote with their wallets and support companies that are socially responsible.
Donald Trump isn't just a person, he's a corporate brand, a brand that hasn't been socially responsible, to say the least. The ironies keep piling up. Millennials, who care so much about social responsibility, also granted a socially-irresponsible Trump enough votes to put him over the top against Clinton.
Maybe there's just something wrong with the education system that helped raise millennials. Correct me if I'm wrong. But as a psychopathic Trump parades destructively down Main St. waving guns, too many millennials are too busy working side gigs and staring at their smartphones to know what's going on.