CA millennials play political bellwether


Donald Trump and millennialsWith Donald Trump riding high in statewide polls and Bernie Sanders committed to seeing through his youth-fueled campaign all the way to the convention, California has become a large and unlikely test case for how millennials might vote in the general election — both in terms of ideology and simple turnout.

Although anecdotal evidence has shaped a popular view of millennials as a dejected and politically disconnected generation, some data analysis has complicated that picture. 

“Millennials in 2016 are significantly less likely to vote or try to influence others vote than were the ’80s generation in the 1987 survey, or the first wave of postwar baby boomers in 1967,” according to the Washington Post. “But millennials display about the same level of political interest as the youngest generation did in 1987, and millennials contact local government and work with others in the community at essentially the same rates as did youth in the earlier surveys. And today’s youth are likely to get involved in protests or other political confrontations.”

The data and the anecdotes have been in closer accord when it comes to Trump. As the San Francisco Chronicle surmised, “having Trump at the top of the GOP ticket is political uranium, poisoning any hope that California Republicans had of seeming more palatable to women, millennials and Latinos[.]”

Interpreting Trump

But in the Golden State, where the state GOP has steadily lost registered party members to decline-to-state voters, some millennials appeared to be surprisingly willing to consider Trump anyway. The split could echo the kind of divide that has emerged among Republican-voting Latinos. According to polling cited by the Chronicle, “about 26 percent of Latino Republicans back Trump, 33 percent are for Cruz, 4 percent back Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 27 percent are for another candidate or undecided, 6 percent refuse to answer, and 3 percent will not vote.” Millennials interviewed by the Orange County Register “agreed on this: The political system is broken, and partisanship isn’t helping. If shared by others of their generation,” the paper concluded, “that last agreement might matter a lot.” Pro-Trump millennials compared the candidate favorably to “a stick of dynamite” and a way out of “the left-right divide.”

In Santa Clarita — “one of the few strongholds of conservatism in a state dominated by Democrats,” as KQED noted — the network found millennials at the College of the Canyons gravitating toward Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. “The sentiment that is driving students” on the left “to Sanders is turning others,” whom the state GOP might otherwise bank their future hopes on, “toward Donald Trump.”

“As of the end of February, active registrants who were 18 to 29 years old in California made up 17.5 percent of registered voters in the state, according to an analysis by CIRCLE. They are outnumbered by older voters, who tend to vote for more mainstream candidates.”

Republican risk

Influential GOP stalwarts in California have found it hard to surmount the Trump insurgency, with many supporting Ted Cruz. Although the mogul has attracted a significant slice of younger Republicans disillusioned by the party’s national old guard — and the more mainstream candidates that have competed for the GOP nomination — broader trends have painted a picture of a generation with sharply decreasing enthusiasm for Republicans of any stripe. “The GOP is poised to permanently lose a generation of voters, and not (only) because of its odious and uncommonly disliked presidential front-runner,” the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell suggested, referring to Trump. “New survey data suggest that young people have become increasingly averse to just about every plank in today’s creaky Republican Party platform.”

Heavyweight liberals, by contrast, have seized on the energy around Sanders as a way to leverage increased participation in the already Democrat-heavy state. “Young voters have a terrible record for actually going out to the polls, but billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer thinks spending $25 million will change that,” Southern California Public Radio observed. Steyer, one of the Democrats’ biggest spenders, underscored that the cash infusion would be spread across a number of battleground states — which inherently excludes California — but vowed that his organization will “be doing more in California than in any other state.”


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  1. RightinSanFrancisco
    RightinSanFrancisco 5 May, 2016, 09:23

    I am not sure that the Washington Post has read the Republican platform – or that anybody reads any party’s platform. What is important is themes – if the Democrats can paint Republicans in terms of social issues the millenials are lost to the party. If the Republicans can paint the party in terms of liberty and opportunity they are central to millenial thinking. In all of his offensive utterances, I do not remember Trump saying anything about social issues.

    Reply this comment
    • Standing Fast
      Standing Fast 5 May, 2016, 16:51

      You just raised some good points. I am amused what you say about Trump not being on record about social issues–closest I can think of is his “solution” to the illegal immigration problem. And that alone is enough to explain why I think he is not better than either Clinton or Sanders. They may be socialists, but Trump is an unprincipled demagogue.

      Reply this comment
  2. Queeg
    Queeg 5 May, 2016, 10:41


    It is jobs


    You can’t eat whacko’s interpretation of social justice and pseudo, contrived feel good diversity.

    Reply this comment
  3. Standing Fast
    Standing Fast 5 May, 2016, 11:37

    For many years now the GOP has been abandoning its original principles. To see how far the Republican party has strayed since its glory days back in 1860, all you have to do is go back and read Abraham Lincoln’s speeches. That was a time when it stood for American Liberty.

    If everyone is right that Trump has the GOP nomination sewn up, it is a sad day for our country. Trump does not stand for either American Liberty or traditional Republican principles. He doesn’t even know what they are. And neither, apparently, do the people who support him, including the party leadership.

    Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

    Reply this comment
  4. afrequentreader
    afrequentreader 5 May, 2016, 14:42

    Not as sad as it would be if Hillary made it to the White House. Perhaps, the republican voters at large are simply tired of being told the many campaign “promises” and then only to elect those people and then not living up to such promises aka many establishment republicans.

    So, Trump ran on the republican ticket and it couldn’t have been a more clever tactic? We will see how he manners himself in the WH if he gets there.

    If Trump fails to live up to his campaign “promises” then the voters should throw him out of office at the end of his first term.

    He’s not a career politician and many are using, perhaps, this as the alternative to any politician that was running. A record number of voters can’t all be as you seem to classify them as? Hardly.

    Reply this comment
    • Standing Fast
      Standing Fast 5 May, 2016, 17:01

      If Trump gets elected to office I don’t think America’s worst problem will be whether he is keeping his campaign promises. Or even what his followers are doing.

      Reply this comment
  5. Ted. Mentor to the doomed....
    Ted. Mentor to the doomed.... 5 May, 2016, 20:12

    Trump is a maniac
    he looks like the clown he is in that stupid hat—–

    Reply this comment
  6. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 5 May, 2016, 22:35

    Its surprising to know that Trumps doing so well in California especialy after the behavior of those bolshivek iidots but maybe thats the reason since many californians are turned off by the behavior of these uncivilized brutes

    Reply this comment
  7. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 5 May, 2016, 22:37

    Brain Dead Ted stop babbling

    Reply this comment
  8. T or Ted-- you Tea Bag Slayer!
    T or Ted-- you Tea Bag Slayer! 6 May, 2016, 17:23

    Spurling— sorry i am under your skin….but….honestly….little buddy……the hat? I mean if you heard a bum in the park talking to himself in that hat and spouting the stream of consciousness crap 24/7 that Trump does…..I mean doood???? You realize he’s a loon right?

    Reply this comment
  9. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 6 May, 2016, 22:40

    Spurwing Plover angry shorebird Please don’t make me mad

    Reply this comment
  10. Ted. Mentor to the doomed....
    Ted. Mentor to the doomed.... 7 May, 2016, 20:46

    Well Plover– you may be mad, yes.

    Reply this comment
  11. Standing Fast
    Standing Fast 9 May, 2016, 16:30

    Did anybody notice in today’s news that Trump is now threatening Paul Ryan and dictating to the GOP how he wants them to run the convention.
    Um, is this an indication of what we can expect if and when he assumes the mantel of office?

    Reply this comment
  12. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 9 May, 2016, 16:55

    Mr. Ryan is a career money sucking government worker that lexpects to be led by a bonafide proven leader.

    Reply this comment
  13. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 9 May, 2016, 16:57

    That leader is Romney or Trump?

    Reply this comment
  14. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 12 May, 2016, 21:49

    Millennials don’t vote.

    Reply this comment
  15. Standing Fast
    Standing Fast 12 May, 2016, 22:17

    Well, now.
    It looks to me like the great eternal laws of cause and effect will be at work in the future as they have in the past. Which, depending upon how you look at it, may be either a source of comfort or dismay.
    Personally, I think America is being called on the carpet by the Judge of the Universe. I can’t think of any other reason for Trump’s popularity, or the fact that the Democrats cannot be sure their nominee is actually going to win the White House.
    Time for another Reality Check, followed by an Attitude Adjustment.

    Reply this comment
  16. RightinSanFrancisco
    RightinSanFrancisco 13 May, 2016, 08:47

    If you are interested in understanding Trump’s popularity, you might see this week’s posting at

    Reply this comment

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