There appears to exist today a generational tug-of-war between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers tend to see Millennials as lazy kids who do not appreciate the value of hard work, spend all day glued to their cell phones, and expect successes to be handed to them on a silver platter. Millennials seem to think that Boomers have harbored all the wealth and success in America without thinking about future generations; they cannot wait for Boomers to retire and create vacancies for key positions in companies. While the accusations generations make against each other rely on stereotypes and may not be entirely truthful, the reality is that the age gap between the Millennial generation and the Baby Boomer generation is one of the largest generational gaps in American history.

Generational differences play an important role in American politics. The defining characteristics of each generation and the emerging age gap have the power to shape politics, elections, and voting trends both now and in the years to come. In a nutshell, Millennials are becoming increasingly liberal in their views and the older generations, like the Baby Boomers, tend to hold more conservative views. Young citizens are less religious, more concerned about social and public policy issues, and favor an activist government. They stray from traditional values and are more accepting of different social groups. Several factors go in to determining how a generation of voters will identify politically and how they vote. Some of the factors that influence political behavior include parent-instilled values, inherent political background, education, political environment, and the media (Fisher, 2014). There also exists a newer and much different explanation for how young voters vote the way that they do: the emergence and usage of social media. Understanding the social media explanation could be significant for the future of campaigning and elections. This paper will analyze the evolution of social media usage in the 2008 and 2016 presidential elections and the ways in which social media influences youth political behavior.