According to a new poll conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics, millennials and social minorities are increasingly rejecting Donald Trump in favor of libertarian alternative Gary Johnson.
The poll, which surveyed groups of individuals aged 18-29 who are likely to vote, found that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump has diminished by more than 10 percentage points in the past few months. In addition, the poll revealed that Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson is neck-and-neck with Donald Trump among millennials, which is either a testament to the increasing desire for a third-party alternative or a sign of Trump’s overwhelming weaknesses as a major party candidate.
According to the polls, Johnson trails Trump by merely two percentage points with all millennial voters, and just three points with women. The poll also suggests that Johnson holds a significant advantage over Trump with blacks and Hispanics. “Johnson is only two points behind Trump among both all millennial voters and men (15 percent), and just three points behind among women (11 percent). He’s out-polling Trump among blacks (9 percent to 2 percent) and Hispanics (14 percent to 5 percent).”
Libertarian-leaning millennials are likely wary of Trump due to his 1999 proposal for the largest tax increase in American history. The proposal, which was made by a then 53-year-old Donald Trump, consisted of a one-time tax of 14.25 percent on already-taxed wealth which aimed to raise $5.7 trillion and wipe out the debt. Although politicians often evolve in their positions, libertarians, always skeptical of politicians and candidates, are likely to feel uneasy about a tenured businessman who has supported both the largest tax increase in American history, and the vastly different tax cuts he’s proposed during this campaign.
Because Trump is not politically or philosophically opposed to expanding the size of government, he naturally isolates those interested in taking power away from the state and returning it to the individual. Most of his behaviors and statements, such as his continued endorsement of universal health care, suggest he shares his view on the role of government primarily with the authoritarian left. To young libertarians, Donald Trump appears to be the type of leader who would expand state power if it also means increasing his own. And according to Trump’s ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz, they are not wrong. In a recent piecefrom The New Yorker, Trump’s ghostwriter Tony Schwartz expressed his belief that, if he could, Trump would run for “emperor of the world.”
Progressive and libertarian-minded individuals alike are likely to be weary of Trump’s lack of commitment to the protection of civil liberties. To many millennials, Trump’s decision to revoke The Washington Post‘s press credentials was an assault on the First Amendment right to Freedom of the Press. Because existing libel laws protect against the publication of knowingly false information, this effort was likely an attack on less than flattering editorials about him, his businesses or his campaign.
More importantly, when asked about measures he would take to prevent the threat of terrorism, Trump refused to rule out the legislation that would require all American Muslims to wear an identification badge. According to isidewith.com, Gary Johnson believes that any form of Muslim surveillance is “unconstitutional, racist, and incendiary.” Polls conducted by the Pew Research center concluded that millennials agree with Johnson over Trump and are twice as likely as senior citizens “to be bothered by their belief that Muslims are singled out for increased government surveillance and monitoring,” and “are less supportive of extra airport checks on people who appear to be of Middle Eastern descent.”