Normally, I wouldn’t want to give Republicans advice on how to win elections.

But I feel bad for the Maine Republican Party – I know they were expecting to win, and I’ve had many expectations dashed in my life before too. Plus, I take my role as the spokesperson for Maine’s millennials very seriously. And my sister is a member of Gen Z, so I have a hotline to that generation as well.

Republicans in Maine have a bit of an advantage compared to the Republican Party in other states in that they don’t have to worry as much about appealing to young people – a side benefit of being the oldest state in the union, I guess. But the laws of time and physics dictate that they’re probably going to have to start worrying about the youths eventually.

Through the course of my column writing, I’ve heard from lots of people who think I (and, by extension, others in my generation) will naturally get more conservative as I get older. This is certainly possible, but I think it’s unlikely.

I think that because millennials and Gen Z have grown up enmeshed with the internet, we are more connected to each other and to people around the world than any other generation in history. When you’re exposed to lots of different types of people and ideas, most people tend to naturally become more liberal. This is why college is thought of as a liberal bastion, not that the professors are secret communists.

It’s hard to accept, for example, that a private, for-profit health care system is the only workable option when I can go on Facebook or Twitter and chat with an internet friend who lives in a European country with an entirely different system.


First of all, socially conservative backlash is not going to be a big hit among the youths of today. I get that it’s very important to a lot of people, and that’s cool, but from a political standpoint you’re just not going to be able to scare the majority of millennials and Gen Zers with gay people, trans people, immigrants or abortion.

This doesn’t apply only to younger Mainers, since this is a state with a proud tradition of “everybody minding their own business,” but younger people are, on average, more likely to personally know someone who is gay/trans/immigrant/had an abortion/whatever category Fox News is scared of this week.

Young people are also big fans of birth control for reasons that I hope are obvious.

In other states, conservative groups have had success with the strategy of “making the school board appear to be a terrifying haven of Stalinists,” but Maine is too small for that. It’s hard to portray school board members as being Critical Race Terrorists or whatever when you run into them in the grocery store all the time.

I know Republicans are obsessed with taxes. For most younger people, tax rates are not a priority. Taxes aren’t a top-10 problem for me, and if I listed 20 of my biggest issues right now, I’m not sure tax rates would even crack it. Remember the big federal tax cuts in 2017? I got an extra 10 bucks a week in my paycheck from that. Which was fine and all, but it’s not very convincing when you’re asking for my vote.

If you’re going to do something about taxes that young people will like, make them easier to file. If the government knows when I do my taxes wrong and can come after me for it, why am I doing the math in the first place? Just send me a bill. I’m a patriotic American, I don’t mind paying taxes when they’re put to good use, but I am sure I speak for my generation when I say the act of preparing the taxes sucks.


Gen Zers and millennials are far more likely to earn a living through a patchwork of freelancing and gig work than other generations are. We could really use a focus on reforming the way that freelance, gig and self-employment is taxed. For example, I pay a 15% tax on what I make from my columns, and it’s way more complicated to file than it should be.

The nature of work is changing for the younger generations. It’s becoming much less stable and predictable. Tax plans that recognize and support people in that economic box might actually win some votes. Tax cuts for people who already have plenty of money? Not so much.

If any public servants have questions about how they can further appeal to millennials and Gen Zers, please feel free to contact me.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
Twitter: @mainemillennial

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