A new survey released by GenForward shows a majority [57%] of young Americans view Donald Trump’s presidency as illegitimate, including about three-quarters of African Americans and nearly half of whites.

Among those who have declared Trump’s presidency as illegitimate is Democratic Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis of Georgia, who said the Russians helped Trump win, a charge Mr. Trump and his fans deny. A majority of young African Americans and large majorities of Latinos and Asian-Americans say they consider Trump’s presidency illegitimate, as do 47 percent of young whites.

GenForward is a survey of adults age 18 to 30 by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research

Key findings:

  • Majorities of young adults in each racial and ethnic group disapprove of President Trump’s performance in office.
  • Majorities of young adults in each racial and ethnic group also think that the country today is off on the wrong track, not headed in the right direction.
  • Young adults express considerable concern about Donald Trump’s relations with Russia. Young people of color are especially worried. For example, 54% of Asian Americans, 53% of Latino/as, and 49% of African Americans believe that the 2016 election was hampered by the Russians. Only 39% of whites share this view.
  • Young people differ across race and ethnicity in whether they believe Donald Trump is a legitimate president. While a majority of whites (53%) views Donald Trump as a legitimate president, considerably smaller proportions of African Americans (25%), Asian Americans (36%), and Latino/as (28%) share this belief— instead, most say Trump is not a legitimate president.
  • Large numbers of Millennials report having been politically active during the first 50 days of the Trump administrations. Political engagement has taken place largely online and in opposition to—rather than in support of—President Trump.
  • For example, most contacts with public officials (61% among African Americans, 65% of Asian Americans, 59% of Latino/as, and 62% of whites) have been to express opposition to President Trump and his policies.
  • There continue to be large differences across race and ethnicity in perceptions about the most important problem in America. For example, young people of color list racism as one of the three most important problems in the country, but this issue is not one of the top three issues for young whites.
  • Health care and immigration are among the other top issues listed by Millennials, suggesting a response to Trump’s current policy agenda.


“Overall, we find that young people have negative views about Donald Trump and are pessimistic about the state of country, but there are crucial differences across race and ethnicity in current political evaluations,” the report concluded. “In spite of the general negativity, we also find that young people are today highly active politically and they are prioritizing those issues—health care and immigration in particular—that are at the top of the Trump administration’s current agenda.”

The survey asks one very important question: “can this level of attentiveness and activism be sustained?”

As Democrats, independents and progressives soul-search for what went wrong last fall, Democratic leaders like Tom Perez and Keith Ellison, the new chairs of the Democratic National Committee, should be looking to turn this survey straw into election gold in 2018 and beyond.