5 revelations about the politics of being a millennial.

Elections are getting weirder and weirder, and 2016 is no different. It's a doozy.

You probably already know why. You’ve seen it yourself. From Donald Trump's ... everything to the intense focus on Hillary's emails to Bernie Sanders' eternal sore throat and electro-shock hair, the 14 years this election's seemingly been dragging on for has been full of twists, turns, surprises and off-putting Jim Webb smiles (remember him?).

And like the radiator in an apartment owned by a stingy landlord, it's only barely started heating up.



The ska-band-sized republican field this year. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Just like in 2008, this race will be largely decided by young voters. Young voters who, as a new poll reveals, are pretty much done with the status quo.

A new poll conducted by Rock the Vote and USA Today reveals young voters (the millennial electorate if you will) as concerned, deeply unsatisfied, and detached.

"Millennials, like the general population, are not as enthusiastic about participating in 2016 as this country needs them to be," Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote says, speaking of the poll results showing that about 6 in 10 young people plan to vote in November.

"We as a country have work to do to restore this generation’s faith that not only is voting a way to make a difference, it is THE way and it really does matter."

What or who millennials want to vote for, however, is becoming uncertain and a lot less traditional and predictable.

1. The millennial voter is counterculture and looking to shake things up.

"Millennials, as has historically been the case, lean toward the candidates who have portrayed themselves as counterculture and outside the system," Spillane says.

This is certainly evident in the millennial support for both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Both candidates represent a strong pivot away from politics as usual ... in their own ways of course.

Bernie's support among young voters is huge. Rock the Vote's poll shows him leading Clinton 46% to 35%, and a Quinnipiac University poll shows him beating Trump by 13 points.

Not pictured: That third person. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

For millennial Republicans though, Trump is their guy. Rock the Vote's poll has him leading the Republican field at 26%, which is an easy lead but much lower than his support in the general electorate.

However, "Republican" and "Democrat" might be outdated terms when talking about the largest voting demographic in America.

Because...

2. Millennials do not reliably lean towards one party or the other.

Millennials are largely issues-based voters. They care about the things that directly affect them, and they're willing to cross supposed party lines to address their concerns.

"A huge portion of the millennial generation is not affiliated with either political party, and their attitudes about issues give candidates from all political parties the opportunity to create solutions that address the things millennials care about," Spillane explains.

One of the angry young voters you may see at the polls this November. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The issues in question are the same ones being discussed nationwide — things like gun control, refugees, and the economy.

But despite these issues being presented as hotly contentious to the general public, for millennials, their minds are pretty much made up:

Photo via Rock the Vote/USA Today. Used with permission.

Other issues that millennials are overwhelmingly concerned about include the legalization of marijuana, which Time reports has 71% support among millennials, and student loan debt, which was their second-ranked concern according to Rock the Vote's poll.

3. The #1 thing millennials are worried about is the economy.

While the presidential candidates and news outlets would have us believe that terrorism is the scariest thing Americans face daily, millennials are far more afraid that they'll be un- or underemployed for extended periods of time.

"The oldest millennials were only 27 years old when the recession began," Spillane explains.

"This means that they have experienced struggles in employment very early on in their careers and that they had to make important decisions about jobs and education during a time of economic uncertainty where opportunities seemed scarce."


Job seekers at a New York City career fair in 2012. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Indeed, a millennial facing the current job market doesn't have it easy.

Despite being the most educated and qualified generation in American history, and despite unemployment being at its lowest since the recession, most young adults struggle to make a paycheck that reflects that, if they have a job at all. That struggle is also multiplied by the most student loan debt in history.

So yeah. You can mark millennials down as "concerned."

4. Despite that economic concern, millennials actually remain pretty optimistic.

57% of the millennials who responded to the poll said they're optimistic about the future of the United States while 34% are not. The other 9% were probably too busy texting or Snapchatting or something.

Millennials recognize that they have the opportunity and responsibility to be the difference they want to see in the world. Despite their attitudes about voting, young people know they have more opportunities than ever to get involved in the issues they care about.

At least do it for the sticker. Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images.

"Young people volunteer at record levels, care deeply about issues, and take actions online and on social media," says Spillane. "Even though young people are frustrated with the state of politics today, we have tools at our disposal to make things better, and that is reason for optimism."

5. Even better — millennials' optimism is well-founded because there are a LOT of them.

As America's largest generation, their numbers alone mean that the issues they care about will be in the conversation. If every millennial voted for the same candidate, that candidate would win in a landslide.

Photo from Rock the Vote, used with permission.

That's why you see Hillary Clinton struggle to "dab" on Ellen. Or Marco Rubio call for a "new generation of leadership" in order to gain young pander-points.

Millennials are the party that will definitively decide the future of this country. So it's important that they, that we, get involved and stay involved.

"Our research shows that when a person votes, they begin to identify themselves as a voter — and that this is habit forming," says Spillane.

It's a good habit to have.

That and — you know — flossing.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.