For the third time in as many cycles, minority voters are poised to exercise an outsized influence on a presidential election. However, as the major parties wrestle with the changing ethnic landscape of the electorate, new data from the Pew Research Center suggests that another demographic is rising alongside it.
According to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as America’s largest living generation. Because the Pew Center defines as those who were 18 to 34 years old in 2015, American’s new largest generation is also its new largest generational voting bloc. And with only days left to decide, early voting polls indicate that millennials haven’t cast their vote…yet.
As young people of color prepare to cast their ballots, many for the first time, a new documentary aims to shed light on the issues that will shape the votes of this ascending demographic. In The Minority Vote, Native American, Black, Arab American and Latinx youth discuss the influence of issues like the North Dakota access pipeline, immigration, racism, sexism, and the rising educational cost on their political ideologies.
While the candidates make their final pitch, it would be a mistake to think minorities and millennials aren’t listening, intently. They are interested in much more than Secretary Clinton’s emails and Donald Trump’s failed business deals.
According to participants in The Minority Vote, Caro, an activist said, “Native American voices are not prioritized. You don’t talk about the native American vote…that’s not a national statistic. Because in general, we’re erased from every narrative.” Adryianna, a senior at Howard University is registered as a Democrat but questioning her loyalty. She remarked, “We forget about the immigrants from Nigeria, the immigrants from Haiti. We forget about the Diaspora and their stories aren’t told as much.”
As a journalist, I’ve spent years talking to minority and first-time voting populations from Oregon to Texas to North Carolina. Despite the geographic and ethnic differences among them, they undoubtedly share one thing. Together, they will decide what politics in America looks like for a rising generation of Americans, and they know it.