Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has been an outspoken critic of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, taking to Facebook and Twitter with detailed critiques before and after Trump secured enough delegates for the his party’s nomination. Sasse recently spoke about how Millennials should think about this historic election, which pits two candidates with unprecedented negative ratings against each other.
“I think the most important thing Millennials should do is they should be taking a long, long-term perspective, and they shouldn’t think about this cycle as just this cycle,” Sasse told Opportunity Lives.
“Who we elect in November of 2016 isn’t just about who has administrative responsibility for one-third of the federal government from 2017 through 2021,” Sasse explained. “It’s a question of what kind of America we’re passing on to the next generation, and what kind of candidates we’re sending the signal to that we want more of in the future. It’s a question of what kind of face we’re putting on America for the world.”
Sasse touched on research showing that political identity is heavily formed in early years. Researchers from Columbia University working with political strategists found that the ages of 14 to 24 are the most formative years in a person’s voting affinity. Many GOP strategists have worried that Trump’s statements offending women, racial minorities and veterans would create lasting damage to the Republican brand.
Source: Columbia University, via NYT
“There’s a lot of data that shows when you’re 18, 19, 20, 21 years old, the example you’re given, if your first election is to vote against somebody, instead of to vote forsomebody, it takes 20 years — five election cycles — before you consider the party again that you were voting against,” Sasse said. “And so, what I want to see is a conversation that’s much bigger than just ‘What do we do about the crisis of this moment for the next four years?’”
“I care about what America’s going to look like in 10 and 20 years in the future, and that requires a much longer-term perspective than these two political parties are offering,” he added.
Polling data showed the Millennials preferred candidates who dropped out of the race, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Young people have been much less enthusiastic about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton than her former rival Sanders.
“Right now I think we’re headed toward a world where the next four months are going to be spent with each party screaming that the other party’s nominee is even more dishonest than their own,” Sasse said. “Neither party is telling you what they’re for, they’re just telling you what they’re against. And that’s not interesting enough.”
As various Republicans have publicly withdrawn their support for Trump, Sasse said he still hasn’t decided for whom he’ll pull the lever in November.
“My wife and I have said that we would look in October what options are left, and we’ll pray about and deliberate based on the field that exists in October,” he said.
See the conversation below!
Cross-posted from Opportunity Lives.
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for American Enterprise Institute scholar Edward Conard. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.