Professor James Thurber discussed the lack of involvement in politics by the millennial generation in a speech at the Roosevelt Institute’s event, “Millennial Generation’s Impact on Elections” on Oct. 12.
“People lie,” he said. “Look at the percentage of people in this room who said they’d vote. Only 25% of you actually will.”
Despite the apathy of the millennial generation it is more optimistic, LGBT-friendly and open to change than past generations, Thurber said.
However, he also believes conflicting views, such as believing in Catholicism and pro-life, will force voters to pick a stance.
“People don’t like cognitive dissonance — it drives them crazy,” Thurber said.
Thurber began with a statistical presentation comparing the voting aptitude of different age groups. Voters in the age group of 18-26 vote significantly less than those who are 50 and older due to political apathy. Thurber says many young voters claim they will vote, but don’t.
Thurber expressed his views about voters becoming moderate during his discussion with students, which was after his presentation.
“The base is getting smaller for Democrats and Republicans, so we’re seeing a trend of de-alignment as more and more people move out of parties,” Thurber said.
Aaron Goldstein, the president of Roosevelt Institute at AU, said the purpose of this event was to inform students of current political issues for upcoming elections.
“We want to make sure our students are aware of these issues and that elected officials and different policy experts understand that we are going to have a big say, and they should come listen to us,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein asked Thurber to speak due to his position as Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Elections in the School of Public Affairs as well as the University’s Distinguished Professor of Government.
This was the second event of the “Millennial Generations Series” hosted by the Roosevelt Institute. The third event, “Youth Movement’s Role in Politics” with Simon Rosenberg, will be held on Oct. 14 at 7 pm in McDowell Formal Lounge.