Millennials are now officially the largest and most politically powerful generation in American history. Population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that in 2015, millennials—those born between 1981 and 1997—overtook baby boomers as the most populous generational segment in the country’s history.
And, because they make up more than 30 percent of all eligible voters, this generation will have the majority say in who wins this year’s presidential election.
There’s only one problem, though, for politicians attempting to use Between Two Ferns appearances and BuzzFeed interviews to woo younger voters: Most millennials simply aren’t politically active.
The Tufts University civic engagement center, CIRCLE, reports that in the 2014 midterm elections, turnout among millennial voters was the lowest ever recorded. Less than 20 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds voted, compared with 26.6 percent in past midterm elections.
One reason for this may be millennials’ negative views of government. In a poll from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, only 36 percent of respondents said they trusted the president to do the right thing all or most of the time.
But elections are about more than individual leaders. For Hunter Baker, a professor of political science at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, Christian millennials’ passion for cultural change should drive them to vote. For Christians, Baker says, political participation can be especially important as a way to promote thoughtful, godly viewpoints on things like life issues, religious liberty and human dignity.
“[Evangelicals] have to engage fully with the broader society, including with regard to politics,” Baker says. “Our politics should reflect godly priorities.”
With the U.S. presidential elections coming up, millennials should be the demographic that decides the next leader of the free world—that is, if they actually show up to the polls.