If I’m Conservative, Can I Still Be a Millennial?

By Carl Braun

In a recent conversation with our editor Nikki, I was shocked to learn that she thought of herself as a millennial. I thought Millennials were, you know, Bernie Sanders voting, tree hugging, expecting a trophy for nothing,  spoiled little brats like the media has described them. After doing some research, I found that the cohort (I think that means group) described as “Millennials”, began in the early 1980’s.

Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe are generally credited with coining the term, and they have defined a Millennial as "anyone born after 1982 and before 2000". Pew Research sets the start date as 1981 with no defined ending date. Often referred to as Generation Y, or Echo Boomers because their birth demographics mimicked that of their Baby Boomer parents, Millennials apparently sounded cooler, and the moniker stuck. They were preceded by the Gen X’rs 1964-1982, the Boomers 1946-1964, and the so-called Silent Generation born prior to 1946. Gen Z has followed the Millennials into the early 21st century.

So, if you were born in those 18 years between 1982 and let’s say 2000, you’re a millennial. Congratulations. Demographers consider your generation to have the following traits. On the plus side you’re civic minded and see the glass as half full. You’re generally tolerant unless someone disagrees with you, especially on politics.  On the down side, you’re viewed as narcissistic and self centered, prefer a flat work environment (no bosses), and believe you should have total freedom to do what you want without consequences (see previous mention of narcissistic and self centered behavior). It seems, consequences are for other people. You know, those crazy, money hungry Gen Xr’s. 

The recent Presidential election put a spotlight on our millennial brothers and sisters. Protesting the result of the election because it wasn’t fair, even though seventy percent of the protesters didn’t bother to put down the gaming console and go vote. Did they protest the Democratic party’s purposeful destruction of the Bernie Sanders campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton? Uhh…no. So, we at least can conclude they don’t eat their own. 

I asked my kids, all in their thirties if they thought they were a millennial. The oldest son didn’t much care, but his younger brother by two years and an Afghanistan War Veteran and wounded warrior had choice words for the Hillary loving Millennials, which we cannot print here.  He considers himself a Gen X’r. You go Dan. My sons in law both favor Gen X in their traits, and are right on the cusp. Hard working and focused on family and their careers, though big proponents of work-life balance, unlike their parents who were career maniacs (present company included.) My daughters were split. One is clearly a millennial and really couldn’t care less one way or the other. The other is a hard core Gen X’r like her husband,  even though she is a liberal and he is not.

So If I’m a conservative, can I still be a millennial? Sure! There are 49 million of you Millennial types out there and overall represent 21% of the registered voters. 55% of you voted for Hillary while 37% went for Trump according to Bloomberg. The vote was clearly along racial lines. Diverse voters went solidly for the left while the white Millennials largely headed right.

One thing is clear. Like every generation that has followed another, the traits change and adapt to the times. The prior generation just doesn’t get the new one, even though they created them. Such is life. As for me, I’ll stick with my rock and roll and drink a cold one as I watch my grandchildren drive their parents nuts. Maybe throw a little sugar in the mix to make things interesting and ponder, for a nano second, what they’ll call the next generation. OR not.