Millennials Under Trump
Donald Trump was elected President of the United States with the borrowed slogan of “make America great again”. This slogan, abbreviated to MAGA by his fervent supporters, is meant to echo… what, exactly?
The answer to this is usually a reference to the “American dream”. The American dream is an idea, almost an ideology, that is pleasing in its simplicity: the idea that every generation will be better off than the one before it. Trump uses the phrase “American dream” frequently, despite the fact that his Presidency will end this dream for thousands of millennials.
In fact, Trump’s policies could push young people -- millennials and those of Generation Z -- into a whole new experience: the American nightmare. His policies will amplify the issues of a generation that is already suffering. To truly understand how this nightmare has replaced the American dream that is promised by Trump, you have to break the impact of these policies and behavior down into different categories. In an attempt to truly understand the damage Trump’s presidency might do to the upcoming generations, let’s examine the nightmares that will replace the American dream of yesteryear.
Nightmare: The Housing Crisis
Property developers like Trump have to take responsibility for the lack of affordable homes in American society. For decades, developers have bought and sold property not as somewhere to live, but as commodities, a real-world representation of power and wealth. As a result, housing prices are so falsely elevated that homeownership will be nothing but a distant dream for the Trump generation.
We already know that rental rates are skyrocketing, and many cities now have house prices so high that they price out all but the extremely wealthy. It’s fair to say the Trump administration don’t see this as a bad thing. Remember, to them, property is about wealth rather than having somewhere to live. Trump will do little to ease the housing crisis for the generation who will come to maturity under his presidency.
There are solutions to this, of course-- the most obvious being to move overseas. It is fair easier to buy properties in emerging markets like Malaysia, where there is a always a new property launch around the corner. If you can work flexibly, then moving out of the US might be the only way for many Americans to enjoy the homeownership dream.
Whatever your feelings on universal healthcare, Obamacare, or an insurance-only system, the reality is that healthcare as it is cannot continue. The system is a mess. In fact, the only thing that both parties can agree on is that the current system isn’t working-- though, of course, they have very different ideas about how this problem should be resolved.
Unable to repeal Obamacare in full due to vote rebellions from Republicans, Trump and his party have now resorted to trying to undermine the existing system. They can then point to the issues the system suffers, say it isn’t working, and scrap it-- even when the issues have been primarily of their causing.
What happens in the meantime? Everyone without full insurance through their employer suffers. For many millennials and members of Generation Z, healthcare is going to be a loaded question, and something that might well be out of their financial reach. Trump’s American dream means a future where falling ill is enough to seriously destabilize your entire financial future.
Nightmare: A Changing Climate
If there is one area of Trump’s presidency that most people can agree to be damaging, it’s climate change. Trump is a proponent of climate change skepticism, and as you’d expect, has packed his administration with those who deny climate change. Trump has also withdrawn the US from the Paris Accord, a measure designed specifically to try and combat the global threat of climate change. It’s clear that Trump and his administration have no intention of tackling what is perhaps the biggest threat to the future of the world.
As a result of this, the world for the next generations is going to be vastly different to the one that our parents knew. A warmer global climate means more storms, more hurricanes, more catastrophic flooding. We are now seeing a world where “once in a lifetime” storms occur on a regular basis. This is the inheritance that Trump’s climate change scepticism offers to millennials and Generation Z.
Nightmare: Global Opinion
The US has been considered a huge global player since, at least, the end of the second World War. Many people described the President of the United States as the “leader of the free world”. The US has always been a dominant force in global politics and economics, often leading the way and changing the world for the better. Global opinion of the US has always been fairly good-- but all that is set to change.
It’s fair to say that Trump is damaging the US reputation abroad. From the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, having to explain refugee rights to Trump, to the Australian Prime Minister suffering through what sounds like the worst political phone call he’s ever had… there’s no doubt that the US reputation is being damaged by Trump.
This could have a huge impact on the future the next generations live in. They will occupy a world that views the US as suspicious; as a country that reneges on its global commitments; a country with disturbingly close ties to the worrisome Russia; a country headed by a man who is absolutely unqualified for the job. With any luck, this reputation will recover in time-- but for as long as Trump is at the helm, global opinions of the US will be severely damaged.
It is clear that the American dream, the thing that Trump believes will “make America great again”, is going to be much-changed for the next generation. Rather than being better off than our parents, all signs suggest that millennials and generation Z will be far worse off. How exactly this will make America great again is a question only Trump, and his so-vocal supporters, will be able to answer.