Currently reaching their 18th birthday at a rate of 13,000 a day, the 80 million-strong Generation Y (those born 1982 – 1995) will be the majority of the US workforce and a full third of the voting population by 2015.
This surging tide is poised to become the replacements for the currently-in-charge Baby Boom Generation (today, the median age in Congress is 57, and is 60 among current US governors), leap frogging over Generation X (who kinda sat political life out) to dominate the America governing class.
Less cynical and more civically engaged than Gen X, and far more technology-oriented than Boomers (who are still getting political information from television news and newspapers), Gen Y is poised to be the biggest, most diverse and highly educated generation in American history.
Their enthusiasm about making history was a major factor for Obama in the 2008 presidential race, but hard economic reality cooled that a little in 2012.
So does either party have a lock on Gen Y going forward? It’s hard to say.
I suspect if ‘old’ leaders of the Democrats and Republicans can’t get past partisan sniping and ideological extremism, this group of spunky youngsters is likely to declare a pox on both the political party houses.
In all likelihood, Gen Y-ers are going to be America’s first ‘Imagecrats’ – attracted more to charismatic, bigger-than-life, social media savvy candidates they ‘like’ (every Facebook pun intended) irrespective of party.