For years, pundits have fixated on what the influx of Millennial voters will mean for American democracy. But now they’re getting old. Not the takes—though those are getting old, too—but the Millennials themselves. As that cohort ages into maturity and becomes the nation’s largest voting bloc, the next generation of voters will become important to watch.
That could be especially true in November’s midterm elections.
“There’s some X factors in 2018 that are unique and may present a perfect storm,” Republican pollster Christine Matthews said Monday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. “I’m interested in the young generation: 18-year-olds, people turning 18 years old. Students at Parkland galvanized these kids.”
Matthews noted that since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, students have launched an activist movement. The most visible manifestation of that effort has been marches, walk-outs, and speeches, but the most tangible impact could come at the polls. Students have set a goal to register 4 million new voters this year—and given that total turnout in 2014 was roughly 83 million, that many new votes could be influential. And these students don’t necessarily have the same views as older young adults—either in terms of their partisan affiliation, or their faith in the system to change policy.