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Youths Choosing Independent


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Photo credit: reynermedia / Flickr

As young people reach adulthood they start to form opinions on things like marriage, religion, and politics. However, a recent survey by the Pew Research Center suggests that many millennials (people around the ages of 18 to 33) aren’t religious, aren’t thinking about marriage, and have backed away from choosing a political party.

Research suggests that around 32% of the silent generation (the generation preceding the baby boomers) chose a politically independent stance. Millennials, on the other hand, were surveyed at a rather significant 50%.

Millennials were more likely to side with the Democrats, if they chose any political party at all, and surveys seem to show that millennials aren’t usually interested in identifying with a political side.

Millennials Aren’t Entirely Independent

Interestingly, despite declaring status as an independent voter, many millennials still tend to agree with major platform planks of the Democratic and Republican Parties. Many of the strongest views held by millennials align with the Democratic Party, such as views on same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana.

In addition to a declaration of independence on the subject of politics, millennials have also been vocal on subjects of marriage and religion. Millennials often don’t align with any religion, and marriage isn’t even on the horizon for most millennials.

The Pew study found that only 26% of millennials thought about marriage, and 36% found religion an attractive option.

Millennials Don’t Reject Government

Although millennials often suggest they don’t vote with a specific party, their acceptance of vital issues like same-sex marriage acts as a tacit approval of the government’s ability to regulate social issues.

Allowing the government to intervene in important issues tends to align with the Democratic Party. The Republican Party often leans toward handling such issues at the state level, or not at all.

With many millennials leaning to the left despite being unaffiliated with a political party, the Democrats might have an edge on courting the vote of the “independent” voter. Refusing to choose a political party and register as a member reflect the generation’s need to differentiate their opinions from the generations who came before them.

This subtle act of rebellion isn’t out of line with how earlier generations sought distance from their parents. Most millennials haven’t offered any indication of how they might decide to act in the future or whether they’ll eventually choose a side, get married, and start going to church.

Democrats Have Work Ahead of Them

The shared ideology between the Democratic Party and unaffiliated millennials isn’t a reason good enough for Democrats to rejoice and feel their work is done.

The refusal of millennials and many members of Generation X to declare their loyalty to a party might be a clear representative of the widespread discontent over the current state of the political parties in the United States.
The impact of the recession upon members of the millennial generation has changed lives and meant that young adults face a very different future than their parents.

Uncertain retirement, lack of savings, high unemployment, and huge student loans greet many millennials. The worst thing that could happen to the Democratic Party would be if millennials decided to stay home from the polls because of a rebellion cloaked under guise of independence.

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