NICD hosted the session, Political Dysfunction - A Generational Perspective, at the 7th annual Tucson Festival of Books. The session was moderated by Jim Nintzel, a University of Arizona adjunct Instructor and host of the Political Roundtable on KUAT-TV and featured NICD Executive Director Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Millennial Act Project's President and Co-Founder Steven Olikara, Founder and Principal of KDS Strategies Kari Saratovsky, and former Oklahoma Congressman Mickey Edwards, author of How to Turn Republican and Democrats into Americans.
Discussion on the current political situation lead to such topics as bipartisanship, voter turnout trends, and the impact of millennials in changing the future.
Edwards pointed out that typical campaign rhetoric prevents any display of bipartisanship and there is a fear of being knocked off the primary if they do, but when elected officials are taken out of the spotlight, many are more open to compromise.
Olikara gives us hope by stating that party affiliation is declining among voters and more than 50% of millennials are independent and more willing to cross party lines. However, only 13% of millennials voted in the 2014 election and Olikara compares this passive number to the passion of those who risked their lives at the Selma to Montgomery Marches. The Founding Fathers, who were of millennial age, warned us of the violence of factions. Thomas Jefferson was 33 when he wrote the declaration of independence and James Maddison was 29. It is essential to our future that millennial aged citizens become more engaged in policy making and changing the system with their innovation and entrepreneurship.