Aspiration & Struggle
How the Millennial Action Project Is Creating a Post-Partisan Future
Here are two facts that might surprise you: Many of the Founding Fathers were in their 20s and 30s when they created the United States of America; today, the average age of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives is 57.
Increasing younger adult involvement in politics is one of the core missions of the Millennial Action Project (MAP), a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the “audacious mission” of making “political cooperation a norm through Millennial leadership.”
“As polarization and gridlock paralyzes America’s political system, our generation must create a new politics and govern our nation into the future,” notes the group’s mission statement.
A Cooperative, “Post-Partisan” America
Based in Washington, D.C., the Millennial Action Project is working to make government function better by decreasing partisanship and focusing on cooperation. Steven Olikara, the group’s president and co-founder, notes that 50 percent of Millennials identify as independent and that party affiliation continues to decline.
As a result, MAP’s thinking isn’t just bipartisan; it’s “post-partisan,” focusing on activities such as public partnerships with the private sector to engage a broader cross-section of Millennial leaders. MAP supports four agendas along these lines:
1. The Social ImpactBonds Act. This would allow private investors to front the costs for social programs such as childhood education and workforce development. Investors would see a return only if their programs succeeded.
2. Immigration Amendment for Investors. This would remove per-country caps on immigration visas and extend the EB-5 visa program, which allows foreigners to obtain green cards and permanent residency by investing $500,000 in a targeted employment area or $1 million elsewhere. Investments must create at least 10 jobs for 2 years.
3. Veteran Employment. Acknowledging that many Millennials are Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in need of jobs, this non-legislative action brings together data collected by the Department of Labor and Department of Defense with major job-seeking engines, including LinkedIn and Monster.com, in an open-data collaborative.
4. #GivingTuesday. This non-legislative movement follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday and encourages donations and volunteerism around the holiday season.
MAP has also created the Congressional Future Caucus. This nonpartisan group of young Congress members focuses on collaboration to solve issues, such as entrepreneurship and technology, that currently impact Millennials and will impact subsequent generations.
The underrepresentation of Millennials in political office and political life is bad for the nation as a whole. As more Millennials get involved in public leadership, the country will benefit from expanded viewpoints, fresh ideas, an emphasis on 21st-century issues, greater technological adaptation, and ideally, a post-partisan future.