We millennials have strength when it comes to inciting change in our peers. This needs to be put to use when electing the next leader of our country. It only makes sense that we should be heavily involved considering we are the ones that have to live with the effects of a new president’s policies for the longest time.
In an interview on Jan. 22 with Glenn Thrush of Politico, President Obama attributed the success of his campaign, especially in Iowa, to the involvement of members of his team under the age of 30.
Despite our generation’s proven impact, millennials have historically had the least amount of representation at the polls. According to the United States Elections Project’s website, in 2008, voter turnout among the 18- to 29-year-old age group was the highest it has been since 1984, with almost half of the millennial population participating, while the turnout for voters aged 30 to 44 and 45 to 60 were 60 and 70 percent of their populations, respectively.
Why do we, a generation known for perpetuating progressive ideas, have such a poor political presence? We, much more than our parents, live in an age of quickly accessed, widely available information.
Our generation has been indulged with easily digestible nuggets of material in the form of Buzzfeed lists, GIF sets and tweets — so much of the news you see comes from scrolling through your Facebook feed. The problem with these tiny bits of information is that they usually aren’t substantial enough to motivate us to go out and act on them before we watch the next cat video on the page and forget what we were thinking about.
We happen to be living during a presidential race between some extremely sensationalized candidates. In a study conducted in December by the Harvard Institute of Politics, 41 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 who expect to vote in the primary elections and caucuses favor Bernie Sanders for the next president of the United States. Thirty-five percent prefer Hillary Clinton and 22 percent support Donald Trump.
Sanders appears to have been effective in appealing to millennials. If he or any candidate manages to bring out more than 50 percent of the 18- to 29-year-old population, that person will essentially be accessing an untapped resource, which is unprecedented.
I cannot stress enough how much even a slight increase in millennial voter participation could sway the election.
This is why it is so important for every young American to be as aware as possible of the political processes involved in selecting a new president.
So millennials, let this be a call to action.
We have authority when we know decisively what we want, and we can elect a president who will take care of the United States for generations to come.
It doesn’t matter who you vote for, as long as you are educated and you get out and cast your vote.
Anna Johnson is a contributing columnist for the Central Florida Future.