I’m a Millennial and I don’t like Donald Trump. And I’m by no means unusual.
According to an April poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has a 36 percent lead over Trump among Millennials. And while the likely GOP standard-bearer might bridge that gap in the coming months, the scale of his deficit is telling. Here are five reasons why Millennials don’t like Trump.
Whether it’s the mentally and physically disabled, or black Americans, or Hispanic Americans, or women, or Muslim Americans or certain reporters (such as Michelle Fields), Trump has proved his sociopathic affection for insults. Excluding those supplicants to his divine majesty, Trump’s reflex is hostility. But as members of a generation that has grown up in a more diverse America, Millennials take special offense at Trump’s boorishness. By cultivating division in our society, Millennials see Trump waging war on the better future we wish to build.
With each casual insult, Trump alienates Millennials affected by that insult. Bobby Lindsey, a black Millennial student, put it to me this way: “I’m a Republican because I believe in lower taxes, a strong national defense and maintaining an environment in which businesses can create jobs. Ideals that can appeal to everyone regardless of race, religion or income… Trump’s equivocation [over] whether he’d rebuff David Duke’s endorsement is what really turned me against him for good. Trump is a caricature of everything that people believe is wrong with the GOP.’’
Lindsey’s point is well made. Millennials have good reason to vote conservative — the national debt crisis and Obamacare premiums are two examples. But Trump is an alienating force.
Apart from those far-left college students who believe free speech must bend to their tender sensitivities, most Millennials oppose authoritarianism. And Trump is the authoritarian kingpin. Trump asserts he will sue his critics. He is personally hostile toward his critics. He has threatened to ban certain websites. In short, Trump is not a friend of free debate or dissent. Instead, the business magnate believes that the only ideas worth considering are those that pop into his head in any one moment. For a generation that revels in open dialogue online and in everyday interactions, as well as in challenging norms of social expectation, Trump’s ideas are repugnant.
Trump claims he’ll turn the United States into an economic powerhouse that will rival the nation’s post-World War II boom years. But whatever one thinks of his economic proposals — and I would suggest they are weak fiction — Trump openly admits he has no interest in resolving the greatest challenge facing young Americans: the national debt crisis. By pledging he won’t reform entitlements, Trump is willing to bury Millennials in debt and risk bankrupting the country. Every serious economist — liberal and conservative — admits entitlements must be reformed to keep America strong and prosperous. Trump’s rejection of that obvious fact encapsulates his puerile nature and his unwillingness to govern seriously. And Millennials know it.
This is a basic but important point. For in Trump’s disregard for civility, we see a man unworthy of respect. And while some Americans find Trump’s approach amusing and refreshing, most Millennials see it as pathetic. Indeed, consider the juxtaposition between Trump and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). While Sanders proposes policies far to the left of the political center, he inspires Millennials by his honest engagement with their fears and aspirations. He is seen to listen while being caring and honorable.
For the majority of Millennials who follow politics but prioritize other interests, Trump is not easy to support or defend. That’s because more activist Millennial politicos — Right and Left — tend to oppose Trump’s candidacy. In turn, many Millennials are unwilling to risk the social stigma that they fear will come with openly supporting Trump. This is not a good thing. No American should feel pressure to chill their political views.
Trump thinks he’s very clever. But his slash-and-burn politics have cut deep into Millennial minds. Thankfully, very few Millennials are masochists.
Cross-posted from Opportunity Lives.