The University of Massachusetts Lowell and The Odyssey Online recently threw a bone to media outlets hungry for a narrative. The northeastern university and the hybridized social media/news platform jointly conducted a poll which surveyed the sentiments of 1,247 random millennials towards this year’s presidential election and asked the participants which scenario they preferred: that Hillary Clinton win the presidency, that Donald Trump win the presidency, or that a meteor strike the earth and annihilate mankind.
Twenty-three percent listed the meteor as their preference.
Naturally, this statistic has been picked up and echoed by news sources who cite it as an indication of young people’s dissatisfaction with this election’s candidates. What these news sources fail to get to the bottom of is why. Why would millennials prefer the end of life on planet earth to having either Trump or Clinton as commander-in-chief? What has these millennial voters in a tizzy?
To answer that question, we need to travel backward in time to 2008. Whether you were an old millennial who had just graduated from college or a young millennial who had just started high school or barely a millennial like myself and were still a child, a state of economic downturn forever cast a shadow on your youth.
The Recession, as we now know it and have clawed our way out of, created a disposition of distrust towards the economic system. We had risen to such prosperous heights just before the fall. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics informs us, the years 2006 and 2007 saw the national unemployment rate hover comfortably around a modest five percent. The years 2008, 2009, and 2010, however, saw it ascend toward the heavens, grazing its fingers along 10 percent at its highest.
Then a nine-year-old, I remember asking my mother if from then on out everyone around us was just going to be poor. My father himself earned in 2010 half of what he had earned in 2007 or the years preceding it. And although I experienced this indirectly through my parents, old millennials experienced it firsthand in their post-college job searches. The financial instability caused them to take low-paying jobs and not let go of them because, as Bloomberg’s Nina Glinski writes, they doubted they could find employment if they did quit. Financial insecurity does not go without emotional consequences, and being in such a compromising position can cause
Now to the election. Why do so many young Americans want a meteor to strike the earth? The answer is simple. They don’t. They are simply insecure about the future and expressing their desire for an external factor to extinguish the problem for them. I cannot imagine a more millennial response.
But what then can redeem this election in their youthful eyes? The answer again does not elude us: the election of Clinton. Suggesting to cast a ballot for her is met with apprehension on the part of other leftists, but I can posit that we can all agree the shady centrist who’s prone to shift with opinion polls has better intentions than the alt-righter grafting fear-monger composed entirely of shade. Though some may question the authenticity of her “changes of heart” on issues like same-sex marriage and the war in Iraq, we can glean that she is making an effort to accommodate newer viewpoints.
At the very least, we know there won’t be another recession under a Clinton administration since markets subsist on stability, and Clinton’s stability is a paragon of excellency contrasted against the human temper tantrum that is Donald Trump. No market could sustain the multiple blows from funds for the war on ISIS being thrown around like dollar bills at a gentlemen’s club, or the dissolution of all our major military and economic alliances.
Decide as you will on Nov. 8, but I know that on that day I will first cast my ballot and then prostrate myself in prayer that Clinton wins. Despite her hawkishness, her marriage with Wall Street, and her coercion into her nomination, she doesn’t have the hubris to publish a list of draconian Supreme Court nominees six months before the election and confirm that she will furnish our government with the most vile of American lawmakers — that is why I will pray that she keeps Trump out of office. I hope you will join me.
Or maybe my inquiries to the gods won’t be necessary since the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Fivethirtyeight, and a host of others are predicting with roughly 80 percent certainty that Clinton will win. On Jan. 20, 2017 let us celebrate the first day of our woman president, instead of the last day on earth ever thanks to our friend the meteor.