Much has been made of the role that young voters of the so-called "Millennial" generation (born after 1982) played in electing President Barack Obama. But any analysis that stops at their current partisan preferences misses a great deal of the complexity underlying this cohort's attitudes towards a range of subjects. Confident and consensus-oriented, Millennials instinctively trust large institutions such as corporations and government bureaucracies. Traditionalists when it comes to family and country, they are nonetheless strongly pro-gay marriage and anti-war. Coddled by "helicopter parents" and coming of age amidst the senseless carnage of Columbine and 9/11, they are risk-adverse and yet drawn to promises of bold change and lofty challenges. The New America Foundation's Next Social Contract Initiative has worked with two of the leading chroniclers of American political generations and youth civic engagement to unravel the sometimes-contradictory values of the Millennials and predict how these will shape public policy and society in the decades to come.
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