Correction of an earlier version of this commentary:
Huge journalistic and math error by me about Millennial voter turnout! While remarking about the low voter turnout by Millennials that is widely believed to have given Trump the edge, I said only an estimated 19 percent of Millennials voted.
The votes are still being totaled and analyzed, but it looks like 24 million voted out of the 75 million in the Millennial population, although it’s not clear how many of that total are eligible. That’s roughly 32 percent, down significantly from 2012 and a key factor in Clinton’s defeat.
Of those who voted, an estimated 37 percent (!) chose Trump, indicating about 20 percent of the total number of Millennials in this country voted for Hillary Clinton.
These numbers are preliminary.
While my premise – that Millennial voting or lack there of changed the color of the predicted Electoral College map for blue to red – is valid, my initial numbers were wrong and I apologize for the inaccuracy, especially to the protestors and the much-maligned Millennials in general, who I have championed in the past.
“There are moments in American history where you have to stand up and be counted,” said one of Wednesday night’s anti-Trump protestors who streamed through the city, clogging streets and, at one point, blocking an interstate.
How many of the protestors stood up and were counted by voting in the election that made Donald Trump our president?
Mostly, the protestors were Virginia Commonwealth University students and other young people exercising their free speech rights in the finest American tradition.
There were arrests during the interstate incident, and one or two idiots spray painted “your vote was a hate crime” on the Jefferson Davis and Maury monuments.
But mostly it was healthy venting, a pointed demonstration of disgust -“F-Trump” was one of their favorite chants – in this, the latest a series of street-snarling protests over concerns about inequality, such as police shootings.
During Thursday’s follow-up protest, I briefly walked with the throng of 75 or so as they left Monroe Park and headed for Broad Street, asking them if they had voted.
Most said yes, others didn’t answer and one young man said he hadn’t.
“There was nobody to f-ing vote for,” he replied.
Blocking I-95 – thereby blocking or complicating access to the area’s only level-one trauma center – really frosts my pumpkin.
Another concern for me is whether every single one of these young protestors voted.
Nationally, it appears far fewer Millennials – the largest generation in US history – voted in the presidential election. And a surprising number – as much as 37 percent! – voted for Trump.
Their projected impact prior to the election was to safely light the electoral map blue for Hillary Clinton.
Instead, they essentially handed Trump the Oval Office.
And the fact that young people (among others) had been shouting loudly for a year about the so-called racist, sexist demagogue who stood against Islamic and Hispanic immigrants, LGBT rights and other social justice issues, makes this outcome-reversing voter lethargy absolutely stunning.
Those protestors who could’ve voted and didn’t, maybe you should drop your signs and go do your homework. Perhaps ask your professors to explain to you that without the Electoral College, every president would be picked by residents in huge population centers like New York, L.A. and Chicago.
If you did vote – and I’m believing most of you did because you’re cool Richmonders – shout on! And maybe give a tongue-lashing to your fellow Millennials who helped Trump fuel your protests.
But whatever sized idiot you consider me to be, please consider the precarious situation this deeply divided nation finds itself.
A protest gone wrong, a roadblock shooting or even an accident could trigger a wave of violence and disruption that could wash across the land.
It is primed and ready to go.
Anarchy might sound good when you’ve got food, craft beer and a warm place to sleep. You might find it less attractive in practice.
Much better is practicing the most highly-regarded form of protest in this land:
If you don’t, some may think you protest too much.