There is an assumption by pollsters and observers that Millennials are Liberal, Democrats or outright Leftists when in fact, the opposite is true. There are many assumptions about this 24-35 year age group, closely identified as the generation that lives in its parent’s basement. Of course this stereotype, like most assumptions, is not based upon reality, statistics or facts (OK partly). The next election will not be based upon old standards, or even standards from two years ago. We cannot make assumptions based upon perception, but upon data, trends and sociocultural shifts.
In my last article we explored how Latinos and Black Males overwhelmingly (66% and 70%) are against gay marriage and abortion. Yet tend to vote Democrat. We also explored the GOP’s ability to be more sensitive to perceptions that it is not culturally open minded. It is this shift in perception which can reflect at the polls, when latino voters see that conservatives are compassionate loving people that they are. Here we’ll explore some common ground that the Conservative Movement has with Millennials.
The first conservative value which millennials cherish is a close bond to family, and they communicate well with their parents. It’s rather ironic that we can trace this trend to the fact that younger people ARE living in their parents basements. Because millennials spend more time with their parents, they tend to develop a family bond which past generations don’t possess. Increased family bonding inadvertently traces it’s subcultural shift to the great recession.
Millennials are early adopters of technology, eager to be explorers, and take on the newest trends. Sociologists can hardly keep up with how “early adopters” influence the rest of society and civilization. This age group is comfortable with Texting, Sexting, FaceBook, SnapChat, Yelp, the lists of examples is literally endless.
It is the fact that millennials are early adopters, combined with the startling reality of the great recession which provide the most fertile ground for GOP and Conservative influence upon millennial voter trends. The Great Recession produced 100’s of thousands of “entrepreneurs” who faced with unemployment chose instead to build their own app, take a gamble on bootstrapping a start up, label themselves as CEO, and take on risk. These risk takers, those who did not find employment easily, create a vacuum, that Liberal and Democrat values do not necessarily align with. And the Democrat machine, once set in motion will go too far, and overshoot it’s goals, trample this groups rights, and create obstacles through regulation.
Conservatives tend to value less government regulation, and fewer attacks on lean start ups and barriers to doing business. As entrepreneurs mature, and their businesses flourish, they tend to vote the party that is pro business. Synergies abound which can appeal to millennial entrepreneurs, who themselves as early adopters, understand and readily accept that others are also trend setters. This dynamic cannot be underestimated. The Party that makes it easier for entrepreneurs to grow their business, comes up with creative incentives, and thinks out of the box to provide a light at the end of the tunnel will align itself with millennials. Strapped with enormous educational debt, millennials do not have many options, they have to succeed just like other generations.
More importantly, increased business stimulation creates jobs. Job creation by millennials hiring other millennials as employees is a viral effect that they can readily accept with no stigma or afterthought. More taxes never created jobs to begin with, and nor does “wealth redistribution”.
Wealth redistribution also provides more fertile ground to prevent millennial entrepreneurs from voting Democrat. It is already well known that this is a trend, started by Obama, that the Liberals want to use to appeal to voters in the next election cycles. We think this will backfire on not only fundamental grounds, but in rhetoric and hyperbole. As Margaret Thatcher once famously said: “We must first create wealth in order to redistribute it” ~ America climbing out of Recession needs to create tax incentives for small businesses, especially millennial business owners and start ups.
Align Thatcher’s economic theory in a millennial context: “We must first have new technologies to be early adopters of technology”. It makes little sense to impose regulations on the next generation of job creators, or put obstacles in their way. We wrote an early Petition upon behalf of Uber in Virginia. Our position was an easy one to stake out: Obstructionist Special Interest Group (Cab Unions) Old School Regulatory Anti Progress vs. New Start Up Cool Hip New Idea Why Should Government Do Away with Transportation Choices? The contrasts are startling. When Liberals start to look and examine what they are suggesting: that they would rather cave in to Cab Drivers than allow a job creating business to thrive? It’s almost dangerous what the implications mean to us a society. Once one start up loses the battle, a flood of competitors will try to use existing laws to thwart new technologies.
Do millennials want or need a government that stands in the way of it’s new toys? Do the hopes and dreams of their generation to promote change, and change for social good, do those ideals all mean nothing? Should the government impose unnecessary regulations on start ups which have only just lifted off the ground? These questions are paramount to the Conservative Cause. It is actually a Conservative value to see entrepreneurs thrive, and at the very core of Republican GOP values. The Press would love to craft this as a cynical ploy to get votes, but it has historically been a strength for generations for the GOP to be pro business. Instead of painting the GOP as “Big Business” each Candidate simply needs to shift the perception back toward Pro Start Up, and Pro Entrepreneur.
Millennials actually need a party that invents a new law making process. Instead of creating laws that manipulate workplace or social issues, like sexual orientation, smoking pot, or immigration entrepreneurs want government to stay out of their way. They cannot have much hope when companies which are their standard bearer like Uber get caught up in the massive regulatory machine which is the Democrat party. Moreover, our antiquated laws themselves are a barrier to start ups. Technology is rapidly advancing at a pace, that the way we create and craft laws is no longer a valid mechanism. The next generation of politicians will likely simply do away with the process of law writing, and find a faster way of reacting to these new technological changes.
Let’s examine peer acceptance in a millennial context. Ask any small business owner what their perception of Yelp is, and you’ll find that the negative outweighs the positive. Let’s face it, any device which allows for negative reviews will almost ALWAYS fall victim to mood, emotions, attitude or even just a bad hair day. Even a 51.01 to 49.99 percentage split, leans toward the negative. So we see that millennials, when surveyed, and raw data is examined tend to write more negative than positive reviews. It’s human nature. This same trend can work in the Conservative values and goals arena.
No. Not negative reviews. That’s not the sound byte you need as your takeaway. It is the propensity to place a value upon these reviews that millennials respect. In one example cited in a well known paper, a millennial car buyer will actually place more importance upon other reviews than they would on advertising, or sales pitches. So if Car A. has more reviews, it must by millennial thinking, have more appeal than Car B. which has few or none. This is a subcultural shift, facilitated by social media, and new technologies.
Conservatives, far from trying to be cool or hip, only need to allow their loving and generous natures to prevail upon social media. As the press attempts to demonize conservatives as racists, and uncultured cavemen (one bigot recently informed me that Liberals are more intelligent than Conservatives and therefore all Conservatives are Rednecks) instead of attacking Liberals and Democrats, more of the kindness and decency must show forth, especially from the electorate. With today’s polarizing networks, it’s especially important to shift the crafted narrative AWAY FROM ATTACKS to solutions and answers and real issues, like Job Creation, Family, and creating incentives for New Technologies. The ability to allow social media to deliver the message, and new apps to perform their functions of spreading the message will outflow as a natural occurrence.
Initiatives and the positive message should keep pace with the news cycle. As the media attacks one idea, or reacts to it, Conservatives only need to be waiting with the next initiative. Eventually, the news cycle will shift the dynamic. A one sided name calling machine, sounds pretty pathetic against a positive, modern innovation machine.
Let’s take a look at millennials as observers, participants or practitioner leaders. There are those of us who have lived a lifetime observing human behavior, or maybe we were in sales, or management. We can study these millennial trends, but we are not participants per se, we can make mature evaluations and draw conclusions ~ few millennials themselves make good observers. They can be trained to spot trends, and they are good online knowing what’s the “in” thing this week. Then there are the millennials themselves, who are “in trend” they don’t even realize it is a trend, they are just living it. Their input is valuable, and we want to hear from them. They want to be heard. One of the reasons they are millennials is that they have an unlimited choice of vocalizing their opinions. This group for instance will participate in the #offmenu hashtag and when it dies out, or goes mainstream, move onto the next trend. The practitioner leader is the millennial who creates, builds, sets the trend, sparks the revolution, sometimes planning it that way, sometimes by accident. This group has the entrepreneurial instinct, and builds a brand, or wants to build a brand, and wants to change the world with her/his brand. She is a leader, dreamer, doer.
It is the practitioner leader which the Conservative movement must finance, and help boost the economy. In order to take on a broader role in the shaping of lives, in order for conservatives to participate in the next generation of voters, family values, technology, and shaping the way the world evolves, the GOP must ramp up it’s efforts at creating more of these participant leaders. These groups of start up entrepreneurs are literally begging to be mentored, helped, financed and promoted. They are actually open to new ideas, input, leadership ~ they expect someone to show them the way. This is the ninja moment for conservatives to shape this group into long lasting relationships, lifelong bonds. This group is barely recognizable as leaders because they are underfunded, and finding their way in the world. The outsize impact upon civilization provides an ROI in the thousands of percentage points.
The beautiful part of this strategy is taking the fight right to the bastions of Liberal thought: San Francisco, Boston, DC, San Jose, Austin… these thought centers abound with tens of thousands of participant leaders who want to get their projects off the ground. Rather than just spew rhetoric at this group of millennials, Conservatives only need to put their money where their mouths are, and promote these young entrepreneurs and their seemingly far fetched ideas. In reality, many of these participant/leaders have a handle on technology and sociology and view the world in a way that is beneficial to the Conservative movement. Their goals and ideals are parallel with the GOPs. These thought leaders are easier to find than you might think. Just go to MeetUp.com and you’ll find more entrepreneur groups, and Co Founders Groups, and Co Work Space groups than you could ever count. Each of them with their hundreds of entrepreneurs are vessels to an entirely welcoming group of young minds with more in common with Conservatives than the Liberal media would ever be willing to admit…. or suggest.
Lon is Founder of Social N Worldwide, Inc, the largest privately owned group of social media connections on earth. He is also Founder of PronetworkBuild an online marketing firm which uses scientific techniques for burrowing into micro local or micro niche markets. 571~501~6129.