Journal - January 2010 - Boys
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IJP2 - Volume 4, Issue 1 - January 2010

Special Symposium Issue "Obama Administration and Public Participation"

The Millennials Refuse to be Ignored! An Analysis of How the Obama Administration Furthers the Political Engagement of a New Generation.

Stephanie Boys


 Abstract. Barack Obama was elected President of the United States by a landslide in November of 2008. However, this margin of victory would not have existed if a single generation of American citizens had not “gotten off their futons” to vote. The millennial generation, the youngest of Americans eligible to vote, created the wide election results gap. Even many millennials not yet old enough to vote were engaged in “get out the vote” activities. Historically, this demographic age group has been politically apathetic. What caused the youth of America to become politically engaged in unprecedented numbers during the 2008 election? Has the Obama Administration found the key to encouraging citizen participation or were the millennials destined to be a politically active generation with or without Barack Obama? The seven common traits of the millennials that define their generation are being sheltered, special, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured, and achieving. These traits result in an innate tendency toward political involvement. However, this article, the author explores the Obama campaign and early Administration communications with supporters via email. Analysis indicates that although the millennials are innately politically engaged, the Obama Administration may have unknowingly catered to these traits and fostered the political involvement of American youth. Furthermore, evidence indicates the political engagement of millennials is likely to increase as they age. Implications for political strategists are discussed.

Keywords: Obama, millennials, generations, political engagement

Citation: Boys, S. (2010). The millennials refuse to be ignored! An analysis of how the obama administration furthers the political engagement of a new generation. International Journal of Public Participation, 4(1), 31-42.