Michelle Adams, Managing Editor
On March 1, affectionately known as, “Super Tuesday,” Virginia held its presidential primary elections, along with 16 other states and territories. About half of the nation’s primaries and caucuses have been completed, and according to Bloomberg, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and Republican candidate Donald Trump are reigning victorious.
This holds true in the Virginia primaries, as well, with Clinton receiving a whopping 65 percent of Democratic votes, and Trump holding a slim lead over rival Marco Rubio, who has since suspended his campaign.
Millennials, the youngest voters, between the ages of 17 and 29, do not agree with the majority, however. In this demographic in Virginia, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders won with flying colors with nearly three-quarters of voters. In the GOP, Rubio won the youth vote.
The disagreement between millennials and the majority can be attributed to this generation’s varied values compared to their elders.
It is unsurprising that this age group, containing college-aged voters, voted more for candidates with college affordability plans. Rubio was the only GOP candidate with a solid plan of this nature; the other Republican candidates have focused their campaigns on other issues.
Moreover, Sanders has dominated the youth vote by promising, “free college,” and redefining socialism in an enticing way. Millennials as a whole tend to have a more group-motivated attitude, making them susceptible to this policy. Many feel that Sanders can make more political change than the other candidates, particularly Clinton, who has been involved in the executive branch for decades.
His competitor has also deemed herself untrustworthy to young voters by changing her views on many topics since her husband’s presidency. Millennials were largely not involved in the Clinton presidency, most being born during or shortly before his time in office, so they do not remember the prosperity that swept the nation during the eight years Clinton was in office, unlike their parents and grandparents.
On the GOP side, millennials are hesitant to support Trump’s rash opinions. As a generation, they are more accepting of others than Trump appears to be. Furthermore, Trump has done little to appeal to youth voters during his campaign, spending most of his time simply talking down on President Obama and arguing with his fellow candidates. While he did visit Radford University the day before Virginia’s primary elections, his controversial actions there did not impress the state’s college students.
Conservative millennials in Virginia preferred Rubio over the other GOP candidates, but with the young Republican now out of the race, they will need to rally behind a different candidate. Some expect Ted Cruz to earn the youth vote on the GOP side, but others worry that conservative millennials will follow their liberal classmates and join the movement for Sanders.
There will continue to be primaries and caucuses across the United States until early summer, when the District of Columbia holds the final vote, with their Democratic caucus on Tuesday, June 14.
Feature graphic created by Michelle Adams.