Gen X, A.K.A. the MTV Generation, grew up in an era where Reaganomics flourished, gas prices were below a dollar per gallon, and MTV’s The Real World gave birth to reality TV shows. While Gen Xers were often seen as slackers during their youth, the now-middle-aged adults are moving from apathy to political involvement.
Gen X Is Choosing Not To Lose
A generation who was once dazed and confused is coming to terms with the current state of America’s economy. Although Gen X is largely defined by their youthful, “whatever” attitude, they’re now reaching middle age. Gen Xers are letting America know that they need to be taken seriously, especially when it comes to voting. A generation whose apathy toward politics was even described in its MTV voting campaign— “choose or lose”—is now choosing not to lose. Gen Xers no longer need to be told that politics matter. The state of the economy is pushing them to be political.
However, the way they’re choosing to vote may surprise you. A recent poll by The New York Times and Siena College found that Gen Xers are much more inclined to vote Republican than members of other generations. In fact, they’re the only generation that polled to vote primarily for Republicans in upcoming elections. Boomers are evenly split between Democratic and Republican candidates, while the younger generations favor Democrats.
Although Gen X primarily casted their first votes for Bill Clinton as president, they’re now voting for the GOP. As inflation continues to rise and the cost of living soars for their families, the slacker generation is trying to make the most of their peak earning years. Though many Gen Xers are in the prime of their careers, they’re concerned that another recession is going to cost them and their families.
‘It’s Cheaper For Me To Go To McDonald’s…Than It Is To Cook Dinner’
The economy is front and center for Gen X as they feel the cost of adulthood. They’re trying to save for retirement and pay college tuition for their kids while still paying off their own college debt. Plus, their parents are aging, which demands more of their time and money. From the ever-rising cost of groceries to college tuition both past and future, Gen Xers throughout America are feeling the pinch.
In a recent New York Times article, several Gen Xers shared why they are turning to the GOP. “It’s all about cost,” admitted Gerard Lamoureux. Lamoureux, 51, lives in Newtown, Connecticut, and is a Democratic retiree who plans to vote Republican this fall. “The price of gas and groceries are through the roof. And I want to eat healthy, but it’s cheaper for me to go to McDonald’s and get a little meal than it is to cook dinner.”
This sentiment is felt by Gen Xers across the country. “Everybody’s hurting right now,” remarked David Neiheisel, 48, a Republican who lives in Indianapolis. “Inflation, interest rates, the cost of gas, the cost of food, the cost of my property taxes, my utilities—I mean, everything’s gone up astronomically, and it’s going to collapse.”
It’s Like Watching Bad Reruns
As midterm elections approach, Gen Xers feel like they’re watching bad reruns. Although they witnessed a steady and flourishing economy during their childhood, Generation X was just coming into adulthood during the Great Recession. A rerun of 2008 isn’t one they’re interested in watching.
With no end to inflation in sight and the stock market continuing to decline, who can blame Gen Xers for their pessimistic outlook? Since economic concerns continue to outweigh any other issues for Gen X, it’s no wonder they’re voting for the GOP.
Gen X Is Getting Real
As inflation continues, the threat of a recession is top of mind for Gen Xers. The current state of the economy is bringing back memories of their young adult and childhood years—and they don’t want to return to these eras. As Megan McArdle, 49, wrote for the Washington Post: “We remember how inflation and rampant crime and the threat of nuclear war loomed over our childhood. We are displeased to find these threats looming over our own children, too.”
In the end, Gen X knows exactly what it’s like to go through a recession. They don’t want to go through another—and they certainly don’t want their children to bear the brunt of an economic downturn. Family is important to the MTV Generation. Apparently, that’s one reason they’ve moved from being apolitical to motivated voters.