Louisiana’s Millennials will soon transform the state

By Robert Mann

When I wrote last week about the exodus of young people from Louisiana, encouraging them to stay, I omitted an important point: Those who leave and return after a decade or more may not recognize this place.

Sure, Cafe Du Monde will still be serving coffee and beignets. Every spring, we’ll boil crawfish. Mardi Gras parades will continue to roll. The Saints and the LSU Tigers will still be playing football.

Politically and socially, however, Louisiana will be a radically different state.

We’ll almost certainly have same-sex marriage (perhaps as soon as a year or two by virtue of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling). Marijuana possession will likely be legal. Almost every individual will have health insurance. The wealthy will be paying something closer to their fair share of taxes. Public schools will be better funded and teachers required to instruct students about evolution and climate change.

Within 10 to 15 years, I’m confident that those still waging a cultural war against marriage equality will generally be known as “former elected officials.” Oh, there will still be conservatives among us, but their fights with liberals will be over new matters. Many of the social issues we now debate so fiercely will largely be settled in less than a generation.

Demography, even in Louisiana, is destiny.

Before too long, our politics will be dominated by a diverse generation of individuals born between 1980 and 2000. If you have teenage children, or ones in their 20s, you know that they have a very different view of the world and politics than their elders.

Louisiana’s young people, for example, are twice as likely to support gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana as those over age 65. Nationally, 68 percent of individuals age 18-29 believe in human evolution, as compared to 49 percent of those 65 and older.

This is not to say that the millennial generation will adopt traditionally liberal positions on every issue. That’s especially true in Louisiana, which will likely remain more conservative than the rest of the nation. (Belief in evolution, by the way, is not a liberal position; it’s science, which many conservatives have rejected.)

A national poll of Millennials, conducted last year by Harvard’s Institute of Politics,found that 41 percent of them claim no party affiliation (only 24 percent are Republican; 33 percent Democrat). While liberal on most social issues, they tend toward fiscal conservatism, although they strongly support some traditional government programs.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

4 thoughts on “Louisiana’s Millennials will soon transform the state

  1. Let’s hope and pray that you are wrong. States should have the ability to decide the marriage question for themselves, without the meddling of the Federal Government. Why should marijuana be legalized? Because lots of people use it? Because other states have legalized it? There is no speed limit in Montana, but that hasn’t kept the Washington City PD off I-49! The punishment should actually be much more harsh. Criminal penalties should be actual penalties, and should be bad enough to discourage any criminal behavior. Hopefully a “dollars follow the student” model will have been adopted as the MFP evolves. I agree that the concepts of evolution and climate change should be discussed, just not indoctrinated. The main point with which I disagree has already been pointed out on the NOLA comment page, it is that liberal thought decreases as age and income increase. At least some of those “millennials” will doubtless find success, and will, like the rest of us, tire of supporting causes that the government believes in, as opposed to causes we believe in. The last time I brought this up you called me a bigot, but I still believe that a person should have the right to choose to whom they are chairitable. We disagreed because I believe that it is my Christianity that obligates me to charity, and not my Citizenship. The Bible charges us all to care for the needy, but I have yet to find a passage that obligates me to care for the lazy.

    I sincerely hope you are right about Louisiana remaining more Conservative than the rest of the nation.

    By the way, congratulations on your induction to the Hall of Fame, I look forward to seeing you at the ceremony.


  2. Matthew, I have always been much like the millenniels of which Bob speaks; considered myself staunchly moderate, considered conservative by my liberal friends and liberal by my conservative friends, surprising both occasionally by my stance on issues. But a few years back, Louisiana was swept by a right-wing tsunami whose ebb left me on the small island of liberalism.

    Most of my friends, even many of my closest friends, are conservatives, as has been the case, but I found the state I love infested with new, vile, vicious, overbearing, mean, even evil, conservatives with whom I have one thing in common: a mutual dislike. They are closed minded and incapable of civil discourse, and yes, most of them are bigots of the first order. They proudly eschew science and the public education that is so largely responsible for keeping our economy viable and competitive. They call me unpatriotic when I disagree with them, when it is they who want to weaken our competitiveness and create an underclass that would rival the people of Haiti.
    Trying to reason with them is akin to trying to teach a pig to sing; it frustrates you and annoys the pig.
    While I don’t agree with all Bob says, it is refreshing to think the avoed know-nothings may be loosening ttheir grip on this state.
    I applaud your civility and respect your right to disagree and have your own opinions. But in the spirit of civility, I respecfully suggest you are worng on your stance against legalizing marijuana. I have never rolled, lit nor smoked a joint in my life, even in the 1960s, but I find the effects considerably less onerous than that of alcohol.
    Furthermore, the war on drugs has so clearly followed the same path as the war on alcohol. Creiminal cartels exist and thrive because this weed that grew naturally at onetime is illegalLives have been lost and billions spent on a substance that is no less pervasive than it ever was.Prisons are needlessly overcrowded.
    Enough is enough.
    Disclaimer: I have no desire to smoke or bake with the stuff.


    1. Disclaimer number two: I apologize for the poor spelling and grammar of the last third of the comment. Thanks to my computersaurus, I typed that part without being able to see it on my screen.


    2. Excellent points, Milford. With regard to attempts at civil discourse as it relates to pigs, remember George Bernard Shaw’s admonition against wrestling with a pig – You just get dirty and the pig likes it [paraphrased]. Extremists at either end of the political spectrum are steadfast in their beliefs. Forums that cater to them seem to reflect a mix of annoyance/anger in the face of facts not supporting their views and an odd joy in baseless and mean attacks on dissenters.


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