Charlie Kirk: Trump, the partial shutdown and 2020 -- What will millennials do?

I’m a millennial – a member of a group that’s been studied and written about endlessly in the past decade. Everyone born before we were seems to be trying to understand us, acting as if we’ve landed from a distant planet.

Studies have labeled us lazy and hard-working; thrifty and wasteful; materialistic and not interested in possessions, and having all sorts of other contradictory attributes.

If you believe all the information out there about millennials you’d have to conclude we had multiple personalities.


Pew Research has defined millennials as people born between 1981 and 1996 – currently ranging in age from 22 to 38.

I started a college campus-based nonprofit in June 2012 called Turning Point USA to target millennials in college. Our mission was to create a powerful conservative grassroots activist network on campuses and identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government.

But we all grow older. Since I started Turning Point USA, almost all millennials are off the college campuses, where the organization and I continue to focus much of our efforts. It also means many millennials have been out in the workforce for quite some time.

Our organization is now focused on the post-millennial generation born after 1996. And I find myself, at age 25, being in the unfamiliar position of being part of the “older generation.”

But since I’ve worked for so long with members of my own millennial generation I’m frequently asked to explain my demographic to those in other generations.

The most frequent question of late has been: “Charlie, how is the government shutdown impacting millennials and how they might vote?”

My discussions with millennials across the country have revealed them to be not very different in addressing the partial government shutdown and the issue of border security than are the baby boomers. They don’t all agree on a single position on anything – including what to do about the shutdown and what to do about President Trump’s call for $5.7 billion to build a wall along part of the U.S.-Mexico border.

My belief is that the shutdown – which should end soon, after President Trump announced Friday that he would support a short-term bill to reopen the government until Feb. 15 – isn’t likely to impact the overall millennial vote one way or the other in 2020.

While the shutdown may affect the votes of some individuals, it won’t have the same impact on everyone – making some people more likely to vote Republican and some more likely to vote for Democrats.

And by the time Election Day rolls around in 2020, the shutdown will be long over and much less of an issue than it is today.

Our college campuses right now are filled primarily with post-millennials. They are being relentlessly indoctrinated in their classrooms by professors on the left and the farther left to believe that President Trump is withholding vital services and letting government workers and their children go hungry simply to promote a racist immigration policy.

This leftist mantra isn’t true, of course, but its supporters – aided by media organizations hostile to the president – are peddling it to the post-millennial, millennial, baby boom and older generations.

Young people in college – many living away from their parents for the first time in their lives – are particularly vulnerable to the leftist propaganda campaign designed to turn them away from supporting president Trump and turning them away from believing in American exceptionalism.

While naming a generation helps sociologists do their studies and categorize social movements, the truth is that people don’t age by labels – they age by time and events.

President Trump started running for office in 2015. Many people who were ages 16 to 22 at that time began almost immediately to be taught in school that then-candidate Trump and his “America First” ideas were imperial and extreme – even fascist.

Fortunately, there is a very strong libertarian undercurrent running along and gaining strength on college campuses today. Turning Point and other organizations have been responsible for finding it, feeding it and growing it.

Unfortunately, some young libertarians who are so vital to restoring the American Dream do not agree with some of the more nationalistic policies of President Trump. That’s why they are split.

It is the job of Turning Point and other groups to make sure that young people – millennials and post-millennials – understand that in order to restore America’s first principle going back to the creation of our nation and Constitution, we need an America First policy like the one being pursued by President Trump.

Borders matter and safeguarding them in a matter of national security. That’s why the partial government shutdown was necessary.

Now that President Trump has compromised and agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to give him time to negotiate border security funding with Congress, Democratic congressional leaders have a responsibility to stop playing politics and put their country ahead of their party. They have a responsibility to agree to fund a wall along a portion of our southern border as a matter of national security to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs across the border.

The president and the elected members of the House and Senate who support him need our support.


Going back to the original question as to how millennials will be impacted by the shutdown in their votes in 2020, the answer is: just like everybody else. It is a divisive time for the nation and millennials. They are working, paying bills, getting married, having kids, getting divorced.

Real life can get in the way of obsession and activism. The true impact will be felt with the post-millennials when college professors and campus organizations try to use the government shutdown and border security dispute to galvanize hatred of the president and disillusionment with America.