Bryant 'Corky' Messner: Millennials are far more conservative than Democrats realize -- Here's why

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As I watch all the progressive, socialist candidates running for president here in New Hampshire, I can’t help but notice how much millennials have been underestimated and wrongfully maligned.

Progressives suggest that millennials can’t or won’t pay their student loans, that they believe they should be provided free health care, that they believe they should be paid even if they don’t want to work, that they are socialists, that they desire to be taken care of by a nanny state government, and that they are not motivated to excel and achieve.

That has not been my experience — not even close. As the founder and managing partner of a large law firm, I have the privilege of working with millennials daily in various professional capacities — attorneys, clients, business people, entrepreneurs, and staff.

As a West Point graduate and veteran who now serves as chairman of the Army West Point Athletic Association, I also have the honor of meeting and working regularly with West Point cadets, graduates, and staff.  Millennials have demonstrated to me, in all aspects of business and daily life that they are a special group: they are honest, ambitious, hardworking, dedicated, entrepreneurial, bright, responsible, caring, patriotic, respectful, and compassionate.


They have character, integrity, and care about making America a better place for all and endeavor to do so through a belief in a free economy. The millennials I know embrace the fundamental decency of America and reject the left’s dark propaganda.

The media would have you believe that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is the leader of the millennial demographic. She is not.

Ocasio-Cortez argues that millennials need an all-powerful, constantly regulating big government to build and sustain their lives. While she panders to millennials for political gain, true next generation leaders will show their friends and colleagues a way of life that is much better than one spent relying on government and socialism.

Millennials are the next great generation. They are just getting started. Every day I witness their amazing achievements as professionals, business leaders, soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen, caretakers, entrepreneurs, blue collar workers, and volunteers.

This generation embraces the challenges facing America and, through ingenuity and hard work, is able to solve many of the problems we now face. From their point of view, the problems we face do not define us, but are challenges to overcome in order to make America even better.

The media and progressives believe they understand millennials and claim them as their own. I know differently.

Millennials were coming of age when our nation was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and for the following 18 years, they volunteered to fight the longest war in American history. They joined our armed forces to become leaders of high character, and to courageously lead our country into battle against the terrorists who murdered their fellow Americans. They sacrificed, and some made the ultimate sacrifice, while many more suffered physically and psychologically.

The millennial generation is populated with leaders who are far better than Ocasio-Cortez — you just don’t hear about them because they do not fit a preconceived notion of what millennials should be. They have the judgment to follow those who believe in the American dream, who lead by example with high character, and who believe in the dignity of hard work.

This next generation is experiencing the benefits of President Trump’s tax reform. They have more money than generations before them and they are spending and investing that money.

They fuel the economic boom and start businesses because it is now easier to do so with the rollback of government interference. They understand that helping, or creating, American businesses results in more jobs and creates opportunities for many. Unlike progressives like Ocasio-Cortez who rejected Amazon, they are working today to make Amazon the remarkable job creator and innovator it is.

Millennials know the importance of the sovereignty of America, which is provided in part by secure borders. They will, through competition, improve the health-care system through private initiative to ensure care that is affordable, accessible, and high quality.

Millennials see the failures of the health system administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and recognize that it stems from the government using a broken model to provide health care. This generation is ready to lead and will fix it.


I’m writing this today because in my career and through my service to our country, I’ve seen the good, conservative instincts in our next generation. I’m confident that despite the best efforts of the media and liberal Democrats, millennials will not be seduced by the siren song of progressives.

As we Republicans look ahead to 2020, it’s up to us to welcome these patriots to our party, grow our team and harness their energy to help roll back tired, left-wing politicians and their exhausted big-government ideas.