ABSTRACT

Less than one week after Vanity Fair published a ringing endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president of the U.S., the magazine tweeted a follow-up article where they questioned her ability to win the election because of lackluster support from a critical group of voters: the Millennial generation (Nguyen, 2016). Since 2008, Millennials (those born between 1981 and 2001) have dramatically shaped the political landscape and been credited with two major presidential victories (CIRCLE, 2012). However, like other news publications at the time, Vanity Fair wondered if Clinton, or any 2016 candidate for that matter, could capitalize on the generation’s interests, power, and political engagement (Nguyen, 2016). Amongst their reasoning for this critique was the sudden disappearance of Millennials within political groups in traditional social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (Rucker, 2016). Vanity Fair and numerous other publications cited an August 2016 Pew study that revealed Millennials were exiting the platforms and participating in less political communication than in previous election cycles (Fry, 2016). The Guardian, Washington Post, and The Atlantic all suggested this was a sign of the political disengagement of the generation—a common narrative of youth political participation through history (Brownstein, 2016; Nguyen, 2016; Rucker, 2016).