Why millennials may be conservatives at heart
WASHINGTON -- Several current trends among millennials do not bode well for Democrats. Indeed, they suggest a greater affinity for (many) Republican policies, notwithstanding a, perhaps, contiguous dislike for the GOP's leadership.
Dare I say it: These trends may suggest a gradual migration toward traditional values and conservatism.
Hear me out.
My reading of various recent studies, stories and reports about young Americans (18-34) reveals a decline in the following: motherhood, marriage (down from 59% in 1972 to 28% in 2018), sex, birthrates, faith, happiness (especially among young men), and longevity.
In the good-news column, abortion rates are also in decline -- and friendship is up. In the "surprising" column, a new GLAAD study shows that non-LGBTQ millennials' comfort with the LGBTQ community has dipped, while that of their parents' generation remains steady.
At the same time, student and credit-card debt is staggering; affordable housing and jobs are out of reach for many; wages are low; and the future is dim in light of the growing gerontocracy and the entitlements (Medicare and Social Security) they expect, deserve and, for which, I hasten to add, they have paid.
So, what about this suggests that millennials would be inclined toward conservatism? To understand, one must look at the reasons for those trends.
Let's start with sex. Not surprisingly, research shows that people are happier when they have sex at least once a week. But married people have sex more often than unmarried people. From this, one could deduce that marriage is good. There's a reason traditional values are, well, traditional. They've stood the test of time and have demonstrated that what is best for people and society, while not always your first choice, is, like rutabaga, good for you.
W. Bradford Cox and Lyman Stone of the Institute for Family Studies speculate in The Atlantic that the decline in sex may be partly attributable to the #MeToo movement, which has thankfully eliminated some of the unwanted sex that was occurring in previous decades. I suspect too that some men are hesitant to engage in new sexual relationships for fear that their advances could be misinterpreted as harassment.
The decline of motherhood can be attributed to many factors. For one, women are waiting longer to have children as they pursue careers. Legalized abortion and increased access to birth control also play a role.