As politics continues its constant evolution, the focus is quickly shifting to the youngest generation of voters. The vast numbers in the youth vote have been sought for many generations now. This generation is unique however, just as every other generation was, and they experience their own issues that are important to them. Here we will look at what is needed to engage and secure the millennial vote. 

An Honest Message

Throughout history, a sad fact in politics has been the best liar will win. This is changing now, however, as millennials are deciding they have had enough. Millennials have developed an innate ability to detect when they are being lied to by a politician, and an entire lack of patience for it. Politicians are beginning to realize that if they want millennials to vote for them they need to earn their trust, and that will require substantial change. Politicians must show them that they can be honest for a start, and then prove they’ll continue that way. 

In an interview with Dave Ramsey, Andy Andrews put it this way: “America is a ship headed for an iceberg. People everywhere, regardless of their political views, can sense it. We may not have candidates in this election who can turn the ship around. But right now, we better vote for somebody who is going to shift our direction and avoid the iceberg.” Millennial voters care little for party affiliations. They’re not voting because they feel they don’t have any good options, that their vote doesn’t make a difference. But if they receive honesty and integrity from their leaders, and are willing to reward that integrity with their votes.

Clear Dedication to the Environment

This generation understands that, like it or not, they are going to be the ones dealing with the environment. Despite the fact that millennials are the current child-bearing generation, they are delaying child-bearing and rearing on a global scale. In the US, Conceivable Future is a group of millennials who have vowed not to have children until something is done about climate change and collapse. And it’s not just a fringe group, either — over 40 percent of millennials polled by believe it is unethical to have a child in this era of exponential climate change and habitat destruction.

Knowing about this, and caring about it, means that whether it is renewable energy, sustainable farming, or proper waste management, politicians need to start talking seriously about how they’ll help the environment. Millennials care more about the environment than generations before. More specifically, doTERRA reports that they are demanding transparency in both the products they buy as well as the actions of people and companies they support. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking this millennial mentality and putting it into action with her proposed stimulus program, the Green New Deal, to address climate change via government policy.

Gun Control

Two decades of increasingly frequent school shootings have united millennials and Gen Z toward pressing for stricter gun control laws. Being the first generation to grow up with school shooting drills, it is understandable that adult millennials have decided enough is enough. According to an Abodo poll, it was found that 78 percent of millennials believe it is too easy to purchase a gun and 59 percent believe that gun violence would decrease if gun regulations were strengthened. Surprisingly, most are still in favor of supporting the 2nd Amendment, but they demand stricter regulation

Millennials are quickly deciding this is the issue to not give up the fight on, and now that Gen Z is entering the voter pool, it’s becoming one of the first questions these groups have for politicians. So if they want the youth vote, they need to come up with an answer now. In 2017, Senate Democrats started pushing the NIH to renew gun violence research grants, but there are barriers in place like The Dickey Amendment which need to be dismantled first before real progress in this area can be made.

The new generation of voters is as important as ever, but they are unique in their determination to stick to their beliefs and principles rather than just choosing a party affiliation. For the first time, politicians are must adapt to the youth’s views, not the other way around. But although they will soon be the primary voting group, first millennials and Gen Z need to start actually voting and participating in politics rather than simply holding rallies and signing petitions.