Friday, March 11, 2016

What’s up with the “youth vote?” An astrological look at the Millennial generation

Clearly, not all young voters will vote for Sanders—nor will they even vote Democratic. However they vote, their perspectives matter greatly in 2016!

So, the key points I’d like to explore in the next two posts are: 
1) where do today's young voters come from, astrologically, and 
2) why are they so important in this election?

Full disclosure here…this article was inspired by a raucous good time at the Bernie Sanders rally hosted by our local community college on March 5th. Not that waiting in line in the cold for over an hour to get in was a good time; not that sitting on hard, unforgiving bleachers for hours while the crowd settled in was a good time—the good time was in the spectacle of long lines of mostly young voters (60% at least to my eye) wrapping around campus buildings as though they were attending a rock concert. Above all, the good time was in witnessing their enthusiasm for this plain-spoken, white-haired, 70-something candidate whom they flat-out love.
Sanders’ speech had an almost a “call-and-response” rhythm to it—the kids filled in his policy punch lines on several occasions as the arena erupted in wild cheering. They chanted “Yuuuuggge....” to echo a Sanders point, and again with the cheers. The roar of approval especially swelled when Sanders pointed out the injustices that Michigan’s manufacturing-based working class and minorities have suffered in the recent past.
Sanders’ votes against the Iraq invasion, against NAFTA and TPP, and against Wall Street’s outsized influence in the election (his opposition to Clinton duly noted) brought the house down. Sanders’ embrace of the science behind global warming (his opposition to the entire Republican field noted) was the icing on the cake.
Importantly, these Michigan kids seem to hate Wall Street and what it did to their middle- and working-class families in the recession. They’re old enough to have opinions on what transpired and the wounds are quite fresh. Sanders’ emphasis on education, his plans for tuition-free college and universal health care are seen—if I’m reading their enthusiasm correctly—as critical parts of the healing.  

Clearly, not all young voters will vote for Sanders—nor will they all vote Democratic. One way or another, however, their perspectives on the election really seem to matter this time around.

So, as stated above: 1) where do young voters in general come from, astrologically, and 2) why are they so important in this election? We'll spend the next two posts digging into this--too much to handle in one!

Mundane astrology studies the generations a bit differently than mainstream demographers do—dividing them according to their respective Pluto signs. “Boomers,” for instance, are those born while Pluto transited Leo (1939-1956); the so-called “Generation X” correlates roughly with Pluto’s time in Libra (1971-83), and so on. Due to its angled orbit, Pluto transits the signs for a variable number of years—for details, please see the Table below, where I’ve mapped out the most recent Pluto generations whose members have reached or exceeded voting age.

Pluto sign
Age range in 2016
October 6, 1937
October 19, 1956
October 4, 1971
November 5, 1983
January 17, 1995
*Please note that I will refer to the generations simply by their sign
name, to avoid repeating “Pluto in Libra, Pluto in Scorpio, etc…”.

First, a disclaimer: a generational chart sets the “tone,” so to speak, for the broad, collective trends a society is likely to see during that time period. This does not speak to individual behaviors or potentials within that generation. Collective trends may well impact individuals, they are not the primary factors to consider when analyzing a natal chart.

If we accept the mainstream timetable that says the so-called Millennial generation was born between 1977 and 1994, we can see that this huge (or “yuuuuggggge”) 71 million strong generation encompasses the “youth vote,” and that it straddles the final six years of the Libra generation and the first eleven years of the Scorpio generation.

With that in mind, let’s first examine the ingress chart for the Libra generation, and consider a few key points relevant to today’s election issues. This will not be an exhaustive demographic profile—space simply doesn’t allow for that here. For the record, I have written at length about both these generations, and will be revisiting many key ideas in those articles for the discussion below. Please see past issues of The Mountain Astrologer for the full articles: June/July 2005 for “Children of Fire & Air: The Coming of Age of the Pluto in Libra generation,” and October/November 2008 for“Pluto’s Children at the Polls: Election 2008 and the Pluto in Scorpio Generation.”

Pluto enters Libra – October 4, 1971, 9:52 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C.

A few general observations: As my 2005 article title pointed out, this generation’s chart is a true study in Fire and Air signs, definitely setting the tone for the children of those times. Set for Washington, D.C., the chart balances out the elements somewhat (it is a Libra generation, after all) through house placements, with important 4th and 6th house groupings. Chiron’s presence in their 10th house may say a lot about their political concerns today—more to come on that.

5-Planet Stellium in Libra: Pluto, Mercury, Sun, Uranus, Venus. In his Book of Pluto, Astrologer Steven Forrest described this Pluto group as a “generation of potential peacemakers…cleverly disguised as little babies so Nixon wouldn’t know.” This amazing stellium certainly reflects that Libran preference for peace and harmony, and the intense balancing act required of them by Pluto to achieve that preference. These are the young adults who have been fighting our wars since the 9/11 terrorist attacks—a major coming of age crisis (and Saturn return issue)—for the oldest among them. The 6th house placement of their idealistic Jupiter-Neptune in Sagittarius reflect this military involvement. 

Pluto’s 4th house placement here reflects how intensely this generation has felt this assault on the “homeland.” This placement also reflects how the quest for Libran ideals (not to mention a Sun in “fall”) can rip a soldier's soul to shreds—disenchantment levels with the conflicts have grown right along with PTSD levels. Thankfully, those levels among this group have inspired an improved approach to the syndrome in the U.S. military; mental health issues in general in this generation have inspired progress in that field as well.

Their stunning Libra stellium (disposed by a powerful Libra Venus) also reflects this generation’s intense need for relatedness—especially high-tech-powered relatedness! Steve Jobs and his “iPhone” have a lasting place in their hearts; "texting" is their preferred means of communication and social media platforms Twitter and Facebook are both inventions of this generation. Mercury and Uranus here also suggest a thirst for information, and not surprisingly, Google itself is a PL invention! Internet- and media-related fields in general abound with PLs.

Air-Fire oppositions: Chiron-Moon (Aries) opposite Libra Sun-Uranus-Venus. Like the PL, mythological Chiron was a dual, mortal/divine creature: man and beast. Aries Chiron counters the driven, instinctual “beast” with the cerebral, balance-seeking Libra Sun. Chiron wounds cut deep in Aries, threatening Libra’s fragile self-confidence. Reinforced by retrograde Saturn, this aspect is, at its core, an “absent Father” wound—PLs were raised as the “family” was being reinvented: high divorce rates and a high incidence of blended families resulted. The corollary of a wounded parent is, of course, the wounded child (Mercury/Chiron). War itself is a Chiron in Aries wound (many PL soldiers experienced Chiron square Chiron from Capricorn). All of this has contributed to the PL’s intense self-focus—they need to focus inward, to regain their emotional balance (Libra Venus-Aries Moon) and heal their self-doubts (Sun opposite Chiron).

Saturn Rx (Gemini) opposite Jupiter-Neptune (Sagittarius). Interestingly, the PL generational Saturn will not go direct by progression in their lifetimes (unless they figure out how to live into their 120s!)—Saturn in each individual chart is another matter. PL men seem to have taken on parenting with an enthusiasm they missed out on with many of their fathers. Many have actually reinvented traditional gender roles by staying at home with their young children and seeing their wives off in the morning, coffee in hand. As we’ve seen, Saturn in Gemini also drove many in this generation into media-based careers. “Information = Power” is a double-edged sword PLs have gradually learned to wield.

As for Saturn’s stunning opposition with Jupiter-Neptune, Pluto entered Libra just weeks after this pair’s new cycle began at 0°+Sagittarius, setting the stage for a wave of fiscally conservative, religiously-influenced idealism—aka “neoconservatism”—in the U.S. This dissolution point of the old Keynesian economic order and the beginnings of the new Milton Friedman-inspired order (the next two Jupiter-Neptune cycles began in conservative Capricorn) was monumental. Most importantly for today’s burning election issues, 1971 was marked by Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell’s famous “memorandum” encouraging greater conservative judicial activism and welcoming unregulated funding of conservative causes.

Mirroring our ideologically-polarized times, PLs are the children of both the Watergate/Reagan-Thatcher era and the children of Jimmy Carter’s outspoken humanitarian career in public service. They are the children of Star Wars and they’ve been charged with defining for themselves which forces in U.S. politics are light and which are dark. Bill Clinton—a politician who embodied both left- and right- leaning ideologies—was the first president they voted for, and when Al Gore was denied the presidency by the Supreme Court, they were the disappointed “youth voters.”
They are not, however, monolithically Democratic. Mainstream demographic studies segment the generations differently, so firm numbers for this particular cohort are hard to find, but the Gallup organization summarizes voting tendencies by the 18-40 group this way:

Americans aged 18 to 40 are least likely to identify with a party or even lean toward one, with almost one out of five falling into that category. At the same time, among those who do identify with or lean toward one of the two major parties, there is a double-digit Democratic advantage among those at each age point from 18 to 35. These are in fact the only ages -- across the entire age spectrum -- at which Democrats hold a 10-point or higher advantage.
Jupiter and Neptune in Sagittarius stimulated this generation’s concern for social justice and environmental issues, but this duo has also inspired more libertarian and at times radical leanings. Individual rights vs. government rights are hotly debated among PL natives—witness Edward Snowden’s (born in June, 1983) crusade against the government’s use of private information, and today’s conflict between Apple (incorporated with Pluto in Libra in 1977) and the FBI over iPhone encryption. Co-founder of the Occupy Wall Street movement and founder of the “Boutique Activist Consultancy,” Micah White  was born in 1982. From outside the U.S., comic actor-turned-activist Russell Brand (born 1975) has written an influential book titled Revolution. Radicalism in the service of restoring balance may be the bottom line for this generation: income inequality (Librans abhor such imbalance) and the resulting social injustices (as seen in the Flint, Michigan water crisis) are issues that resonate deeply.

Air Grand Trine: Node-Mars (Aquarius) trine Saturn (Gemini) and Sun-Uranus-Venus (Aquarius). This dynamic configuration is wired, circulating dynamic energy throughout the chart like an over-eager electric circuit. Venus in Libra serves as final dispositor for the entire configuration, doubling down on the importance of relatedness and “networking” for this generation.  Is it any wonder that election campaigns take place on social media these days?

Aquarius Mars’ conjunction with the PL Node suggests a vigorous, free-spirited generation that feels driven to push its limits in every field of endeavor. This is not a “fence-walking” kind of energy, although Venus may moderate their behavior and attitudes somewhat. This vigorous energy underlies their willingness to be “on call” with their jobs 24/7—but being on call for a job that doesn’t deliver for them is getting old.

In fact, factoring their generation’s Aquarius MC and 10th house Chiron into the picture, this Air configuration probably explains why being caught up in today’s middle class struggles is not sitting well with them. They’ve been fighting our wars, with little to show for it. They wanted change with Obama, but apart from more accessible health care, they didn’t get it; they really want their working lives to start paying solid returns as they approach their 40s. 

Many have seen their Boomer parents lose big chunks of their retirement investments over the past decade, inspiring major wariness about Wall Street and their own retirements looming ahead. Many are, amazingly, still paying off student debt.  Bottom line, they’ve got children to educate, a planet to preserve for their descendants, and they’re waking up to their role as change-makers (Aquarius node).

More to come on the Pluto-in-Scorpio generation and how these two generations are likely to impact Election 2016 in the next post!

 Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved.