Jim Geraghty at asks “What Kind of a Future Do the Millennials Have?” He writes, commenting on Kristen Soltis Anderson’s new book, “The Selfie Vote,” at National Review:
The Selfie Vote puts a tremendous amount of emphasis on the opportunities that exist for Republicans among millennials. But reading the book, I became less concerned with the electoral prospects for the GOP and more concerned with the fate of a generation, and the nation that will be entrusted to it. Beneath the polling is a sad story of a generation that is more indebted at a younger age, and is less invested in any of its nation’s civil, religious, and state institutions.
Millennials are just not participating as much in the institutions of public life. They are more likely to remain chronically unemployed, less likely to invest money, and less likely to marry, now or ever. Despite a culture that has come to romanticize the entrepreneurial spirit of young Silicon Valley kids, millennials as a whole are less likely to start businesses. Many of these trends are related: It is harder to start a business if family bonds and family support are weaker. It is harder to invest if you lack even a day job.
Sure, some of this reflects the economy. But what if it’s more?
Anderson has lots of great policy recommendations for Republicans, showing that they can win the future by fighting the outdated structures built by progressive victories in the last century. But millennials aren’t just one or two policy tweaks away from becoming Schwab-account-having, tassled-loafer-wearing Bush voters. This is a generation whose social capital has been drained away before it could even be invested. Chronically high youth unemployment, declining religious participation, lowering marriage rates, lowering birth rates, massive debt, a sense that the existing systems are corrupt — in European countries, these have been the signs of extinction for traditional center-right and center-left parties, not mere decline.
Maybe they need to hear that growing up, getting married, and having kids isn’t so bad after all.