Millennials Can Break The American Two Party System Lock

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Brenda Krueger Huffman is CEO of Women's Voices Media, LLC and Executive Editor of Women's Voices Magazine, Columnist, Journalist, Political Analyst, Talk Radio Co-Host, SM Strategist

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The Great Recession has changed life in America, and it is also revising views of establishment politics.  A recent Pew Research Center social trends paper details the resulting fall out of financial losses, unemployment pain, and general uncertainty of the future for most Americans. 

Congressional gridlock and missing leadership in general in Washington D.C. has changed the political views of the majority of Americans on politicians in both of the two controlling major parties having any real answers or the political will to work together to enact non-partisan solutions if they did.

America’s exploding debt which topped $15 Trillion on November 16, it’s jobless economic recovery which may take a decade, and the overall financial meltdown that saw Wall Street and banks bailed out by taxpayers has left the people of the U.S. angry and blaming the past and current political class and their championing of crony capitalism for the mess.  

There is no doubt these realities are changing the political affiliation landscape as more Americans are tired of party over solutions with the hard reality that equates in real terms as party over people, especially the suffering middle class.

A January, 2011 Gallop poll headline reflected, “Democratic Party ID Drops in 2010, Tying 22-Year Low” with a sub-title of “Democrats still outnumber Republicans, while independent identification increases.”

A May, 2011 Pew poll detailed “Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology.”  Pew provided, “Today, there are two core Republican groups, compared with three in 2005, to some extent reflecting a decline in GOP party affiliation. However, Democrats have not made gains in party identification. Rather, there has been a sharp rise in the percentage of independents – from 30% in 2005 to 37% currently. Today, there are three disparate groups of independents, compared with two in 2005.”

Pew summarized, “While Republicans trail the Democrats in party affiliation, they enjoy advantages in other areas: The two core GOP groups are more homogeneous – demographically and ideologically – than are the three core Democratic groups. And socioeconomic differences are more apparent on the left: Nearly half of Solid Liberals (49%) are college graduates, compared with 27% of New Coalition Democrats and just 13% of Hard-Pressed Democrats."

The Millenniums may end up being the most impacted generation by the effects of the Great Recession while private and public sector solutions are found and implemented. 

Wikipedia explains, “Generation Y, also know as the Millennial Generation (or Millennials), Generation Next, Net Generation, Echo Boomers, or Worst Generation describes the demographic cohort following Generation X.  There is no precise dates for when the Millennial generation starts and ends, and commentators have used birth dates ranging somewhere from the mid-70s to the early 2000s.”

One thing is for sure, Millennials when at full voting age will be as significant as the Baby Boomers are now in elections.  Millenniums are already showing signs of being cynical about politics and distrustful of the establishment political parties.  Many see the political establishment as having caused the problems they face today and not being effective at resolving them.

They are more likely to vote by issue than party lines, and are showing signs they will support third party candidates that support their position on issues more readily than past generations.  As a whole they are becoming politically engaged for their economic survival and national vision. 

Millenniums are also a fully immersed technology generation which leads them to engage politically significantly online.  Through the technology capabilities started by social media, Americans, and especially Millennials, expect a more direct conversation with politicians, participation in the political process, and voice in their future. 

America’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in this arena with political sites like TheVoterEffect.com, TellMyGov.com, FinalDebate.com, and Ruck.us, to name a few, coming of age in 2011.

Ruck.us Founder Nathan Daschle explains his new online political engagement community, “Ruck.us is taking on a broken political system by letting you organize around issues, not party labels.  Here’s how it works:  You begin by answering a dynamic set of questions about your positions and issues.  This allows Ruck.us to capture and analyze your political DNA.” 

“Ruck.us then uses a proprietary algorithm to automatically match you to politically like-minded people, giving you an instant, personal and actionable political network.  Then, Ruck.us recommends political actions you can take on or off site to promote your interests.”

He notes, “One Ruck.us member tweeted, “Ruck.us is like a combination of Hunch, Quora, Current TV, and HackerNews.” 

Will Millenniums break the American two-party system lock?  Nathan Daschle shares his thoughts. 

BKH:  What led you to start Ruck.us

ND:  In 2008 we witnessed the biggest change election in my lifetime with President Obama’s victory, but just one year later, the pendulum was swinging back hard in the opposite direction.  After the 2009 gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, I knew there was a powerful undercurrent in politics.  The 2010 mid-term elections reflected this also.

Pundits were saying it was a big win for the Republicans, but I thought the volatility was the product of a much deeper disconnect with American politics.

BKH:  Are you affiliated with or funded by any political party, PAC, or political think tank, or specificmedia group?

ND:  No.

BKH:  How are you funded?

ND:  We raised money from angel investors, including myself.

BKH:  Does having a politically connected last name hurt or help?

ND:  Probably both.  It opens a few more doors than would not be open otherwise, but it also puts a bigger target on your back.  Two of the three co-founders have had fathers in politics, but we try to make it as much of a non-issue as we can.

BKH:  What are the security and privacy standards with Ruck.us?

ND:  We do not do anything with anyone's personally identifiable information except make better recommendations for members of their “ruck” on the site.  While it would be tempting to follow the lead of other companies that profit off individual's personal data, we think it would be counter to our brand and message.  

BKH:  Currently, who are the users on Ruck.us – your demographics? 

ND:  We have people from every demographic and philosophical grouping.  Nevertheless, probably the largest cluster is among the socially liberal, fiscally conservative users.  

BKH:  What needs does Ruck.us satisfy that are not being satisfied with our current political system?

ND:  The current system is far too restrictive, especially when you consider how much our lives have changed in the last ten years.  When we can get music, clothing, information and everything else tailored to our unique needs, asking us to conform to one of two 19th century creations is too much.  

With Ruck.us, not only do you not have to subscribe wholesale to an agenda set by party elites, but you also do not have to maintain the fiction that our country is divided into a red and blue team.  Instead, you simply let us know what issues and positions are most important to you, and we match you with people who share your views.

BKH:  What do you believe is the best definition for independent voters or those that declare they are Independent politically?   

ND:  Washington is lazy in its political thinking and too often equates Independents with moderates.  There is no correlation.  Independents are people of any stripe who choose not to be a member of a political party.  Three-quarters of Occupy Wall Street protestors are politically independent.

BKH:  Which party do you believe most voters under 30 identify with and why?

Read the original article on AXcess News. Copyright 2011.

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