The Millennial Quandary
Many news reporters and analysts are down in the dumps worried that millennials will either vote for a third party candidate or not vote at all this November. Of course these articles and pundits are not concerned about the direct impact upon Donald Trump. This progressive concern is that Hillary Clinton could receive too few votes to beat Trump. Is that freedom of the press?
In any case, the millennial quandary raises some interesting questions.
- What does one say to someone who does not like either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, someone who feels that both are seriously flawed?
- How does someone send a clear message to the Democrat or Republican party that their candidates are unacceptable (and probably the overall party platforms too)?
- And what is so special about a “two party” system, why not multiple parties as in Europe and vote for a third party?
Beginning with the third question, our two party system works well within a fixed election term. In theory with two parties, one or the other will achieve a majority and is in charge until the next election. In Europe, most countries have numerous political parties and a parliamentary system. So a third party candidate could win as a coalition candidate, say becoming even the Prime Minister, and this person will probably represent less than 50% of the vote. The minority party will lead until there is a vote of no confidence which will brings the government down. In the US there is a vanishingly small chance for a third party candidate to win, so the best place to fix the candidate or platform issues is in the primaries.
That brings us to the question how does one communicate with a large, faceless party? To be sure, voting for another party, especially a third party, gets a party’s attention. The flip side to this messaging method is to ask what other policies does the opposition party bring? Is sending the message worth the price if one does not like the other policies? More effective might be to work locally to elect candidates who best reflect ones views.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have elicited the comments, “I can’t stand either candidate”, and “I don’t trust either one”. Without a completely new Democrat controlled Congress, there is no Hillary Clinton-millennial appealing proposal that has a chance to pass into law. Donald Trump, on the other hand, as well as the Republican Party Platform have few if any “millennial friendly” promises in the first place… except the dubious promise of good paying jobs. (Hmmm, what’s is the issue here? Does Trump have a track record supporting good paying jobs where one actually gets paid?)
The “millennial challenge”, then, is to rise above the realization “I can’t get everything I want” and consider the larger game. What can I lose if I pick the wrong person?
Real change in any stable society requires time. Things don’t happen quickly. Read American history (time of our founders) and look at change in the rest of the world. This perspective will reveal how fragile society can be. And most surprisingly, change which lead to authoritarian regimes almost always began with an appeal to disaffected groups and government control was hijacked along the way.
There is no free lunch. Millennials would profit from considering what they risk with a Trump, third party, or no vote. In a two party system, one party must lead (with our Constitutional checks and balances), at least for 4 years. There is a huge difference between the Democrat and Republican platforms. Individual freedoms which do not infringe other people’s rights (like women’s and gay’s rights) are much better protected under Democrats than Republicans. Do millennials really want to return to the restrictions of their parents era?
Millennials do indeed have a quandary. There is much about Hillary Clinton that is “not likable enough”, but you must be kidding if one thinks Donald Trump wins in a likability comparison.
And it is also troublesome to consider all the money Hillary Clinton received for post Secretary of State speaking engagements, but the business practices Donald Trump is purported to have used in his real estate developments runs between immoral to unethical. Hmmm.
In the final analysis, Hillary Clinton may not be the most inspirational candidate but she is a woman, she is grown up, and she is better prepared for all the unknown things that will happen in the next 4 years.
I think the millennials will see this and make the correct choice.