Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore//Flickr
As millennials have become more involved in politics, they’ve also become disenchanted with bipartisanship and the 2016 presidential candidates — specifically Donald Trump. One of the more prominent millennial-supported Internet campaigns is IDK Not Trump Tho, the brainchild of 33-year-old comedian Dave Ross.
IDK Not Trump Tho went from a gag to a widely supported political campaign, symbolizing the political frustration of most millennials.
“See, I’m 33, so I’ve been able to vote in four elections,” Ross said. “(When) Obama won, and I literally partied in the … streets. I voted for him because he made a lot of promises. Don’t get me wrong, Obama’s a great president, but he didn’t even come close to making good on most of his promises, because the president just can’t.”
Ross said he felt “dejected” after realizing even the best candidate can’t “pull through” like he or she wants to.
“See, I think all of the Republican candidates are lunatics. And Bernie (Sanders) could never make good on his promises, no matter how much he wants to,” he said. “So even though (IDK Not Trump Tho) was a really dumb joke, if I think about it, it’s exactly how I feel.”
Though Ross admits to being an “extreme lefty,” his views are shared by millennials of different political backgrounds and other comedians as well.
On Sunday, comedian John Oliver tackled Trump on his satirical HBO news show “Last Week Tonight.” After delivering a rant about the power of Trump’s name, Oliver called on viewers to set Trump back to his ancestral name, Drumpf, because it sounded more fitting, like “the sound of a morbidly obese pigeon flying into a closed Old Navy.”
At the end of the segment, Oliver asked viewers to visit donaldjdrumpf.com and order a “Make Donald Drumpf Again” hat, install the “Drumpfinator” extension for Google Chrome (which will make all Internet results of “Donald Trump” read as “Donald Drumpf”) and tweet with the hashtag #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain, which on Sunday night was trending locally on Twitter above #Oscars, #LeapDay and #SuperTuesday.
In Tennessee, millennial advocates are taking aim at Trump from both sides of the aisle.
“Why is our generation so proud to be against Trump? Because he makes it easy,” says Middle Tennessee State University College Republicans president Jami Averwater, 21. “I think that millennials are more moderate than we realize. I would say that’s the No. 1 reason that the generation is speaking out against Trump: His ideals are so far radical and so far right-wing and so literally and metaphorically loud, that whether you agree with it or not, you are reluctant to listen.”
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 50 percent of millennials identify as independent, more than millennial Democrats and Republicans combined.
The same study also shows a significant increase in independents over the last four generations, the biggest leap being from Generation X to millennials.
Joey Kennedy, 20, president of the MTSU College Democrats, believes that a nonpartisan effort to get millennials involved is working, so he and Averwater are working together to reach their “common goal” of a more involved generation.
“College students and women vote less than almost anyone else, and we want to make sure people understand not just what our side thinks, but how important it is to vote,” Kennedy said. “I mean, we don’t agree on political issues, but we agree that it’s important for our generation to get involved and get along.”
“Millennials are getting involved, and I love that,” Averwater said. “Whether it be to support Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, the cycle has the attention of our generation. This is a great sign for the health of future elections.”
“I’m not a big fan (of Trump),” said Tyler Ittel, student government representative of the College Republicans at Volunteer State Community College. “I’d say it’s because of the way he hasn’t introduced any of his actual plans. … He’s been very vague in his ideas, and he doesn’t have any real political experience.”
He added, “I support working across the aisle.”
This piece is brought to you by Studio M, a project of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University, launched in January 2015. The Studio M project is made possible through generous grants and donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Tennessean and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.Follow Sarah Grace Taylor at @Sarah_GRACE_22