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Background: FDR Memorial , Washington, D.C.: The Four Freedoms, derived from his State of the Union Address, January 6, 1941, 75 years ago. They became part of the United Nations charter. PHOTO ©DBKING


former and just 32% the latter while inside most millennial


there is likely to be a budding entre- preneur (55% say they want to start their own business one day). Millennials do support a govern-


ment-provided social safety net, but two-thirds agree that “government is usually ineffi cient and wasteful,” and they are highly skeptical of govern- ment policies in terms of privacy and nanny-state regulations about e-cig- arettes, soda sizes etc. They support the Occupy movement and hate the term capitalism on one hand, but retain positive ideas about free markets on the other. They believe that ‘economic fairness’ is less about income disparity and more about getting what one is ‘due’ – with little defi nition. Almost 6 in 10 believe you can get ahead with hard work, and a similar number want a society in which wealth is parceled out accord- ing to your achievement, not via the tax code or government redistribu- tion. Even though 70% favor guar- anteed health care, housing and income, millennials have no problem with unequal outcomes. Looking forward to 2016, this


defi nitional impasse may help the candidates understand the fact that millennials are far less partisan even than those in the next cohort of 30 and older. Only 22% of millennials identify as Republican or Republi- can-leaning, compared with 40% of older voters. Millennials voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 elections and 43 percent call themselves Democrats or have that tendency. Yet that’s still a smaller percentage than it is for older Ameri- cans, 49% of whom are Democrats or lean Democrat. Most strikingly, 34%


‘socialists’


of millennials call themselves true independents, meaning they don’t lean toward either party. For older Americans, it’s just 10%. Millennials are diff erent from boomers or Gen X-ers: culture comes fi rst and politics second. They are less partisan and want to know that you care before they care what you know. They are less hung up about things such as pot use, gay marriage and immigration, but somehow still want to agree with the older genera- tions about the value and legitimacy of work, the role of government in helping the poor and the inef- fi ciency of government to do that. They are entitled and confi dent, but at the same time fearful and tired of managing both their real world and their virtual lives. They have no insti- tutions or authority they can count on as our metanarrative of moder- nity has inexorably undermined pol- itics, police, the judiciary, education and even the media they use as sup- port, fi lter and lens of the world. They are unanchored in a sea that off ers no guarantees or even ballast as our boomer/Xer pride in our clever critical approaches has allowed us to hack away at should have been a frame they could trust. 2015 has been a long year in


many ways and at very diff erent lev- els. Yet, at the close of the year and as the United States, still arguably the most powerful country in the world, heads into the often pain- ful process of choosing the person who will guide that power, the way the largest generation frames their world is worth serious consideration, especially as it is this generation of young people who seem increas- ingly drawn to violent and cataclys- mic approaches.


The Generations Defi ned


The Millenial Generation Born: 1981 - 1997 Age of adults in 2015: 18 to 34*


Generation X Born 1965 to 1980 Age in 2015: 35 to 50


The Baby Boom Generation Born 1946 to 1964 Age in 2015: 51 to 69


The Silent Generation Born 1928 to 1945 Age in 2015: 70 to 87


The Greatest Generation Born Before 1928 Age in 2015: 88 to 100


* No chronological endpoint has been set for this group. For the purpose of following a cleanly defi ned group, Millenials are defi ned as those aged 18 to 35 in 2015.


SOURCE: PEW Research Center


Dr. Alison Holmes is Asst. Profes- sor of International Studies and Politics at Humboldt State University, CA. She lived in the UK for over 20 years and worked at the BBC, ran BritishAmerican Business in London and was speechwriter to the US Ambas- sador. A PhD in International Relations from the LSE, she has been an Associate Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford, a Churchill Memorial Trust History Fellow and the Transatlan- tic Studies Fellow at Yale.


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