Young Voters Across The US All Agree On One Thing: They’re Terrified
People like to rag on Millennials, especially when it comes to this election.
Millennials comprise the largest share of the electorate next to Baby Boomers, with 69 million eligible voters.
How we vote matters.
So, when it became increasingly apparent a significant number of Millennials might vote for third-party candidates, people started calling us idiots.
Meanwhile, the countless valid reasons this generation is completely discontented with America’s political system are frequently ignored.
There’s a reason why we are skeptical of the establishment: we were raised in a world where it constantly let us down.
We grew up through 9/11 and came of age as our country illegally invaded Iraq under the false notion Saddam Hussein was hiding an active WMDs program.
Many of us graduated either during or in the aftermath of the Great Recession — no other generation was hit harder by this economic calamity.
We have paid the price for the mistakes of older generations, yet are consistently criticized for desiring an end to the status quo.
Older folks: "Be more interested in politics!"
Millennials: "Feel the Bern!"
Older folks: "Not what we meant!"#HowToConfuseAMillennial
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) September 4, 2016
There’s a reason so many young people supported Senator Bernie Sanders during the primary season — he tapped into how unhappy we are with the system.
Over the course of the year, Elite Daily traveled across the country to delve deeper into how Millennials feel about this election and American politics.
In general, we found this generation is very unsettled about the future, deeply frustrated with this election and extremely unhappy with the candidates for the two major parties.
Only 21 percent of likely Millennial voters support Donald Trump, while 73 percent view him unfavorably.
Young voters feel trapped by the two party system, and they want other options.
It’s not a coincidence 19 percent of Millennials support either Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson or Green party candidate Jill Stein.
Millennials have exhibited historic levels of distrust for major institutions — especially the government.
So, no one should be surprised they’re not particularly enthused about this election.
Yes, Clinton could be the first woman president, and that’s a huge deal for a country with a long history of oppressing women.
But that doesn’t change the fact many young voters have significant ideological differences with the former secretary of state.
We should be very concerned that nearly half of all young voters feel like their vote “doesn’t really matter.”
We should be very concerned that only around half of all young voters have said they “definitely” plan on voting this year.
This does not bode well for the future of America’s democracy.
With that said, young people need to realize this election is bigger than them.
Simply put, they need to recognize how important voting is, regardless of how dissatisfied they are with the candidates and the political system more generally.
When you go to a restaurant with friends and find you don’t like anything on the menu, you don’t force everyone to go somewhere else just because you’re unhappy.
You suck it up, and you order. After all, you gotta eat.
This is how we need to think about voting. Elections aren’t always ideal, but participating is absolutely vital.
If you’re unhappy with America’s political system, if you think money has too much influence in politics, if you think the two-party system is outdated and find both Clinton and Trump massively unappealing, that’s completely understandable.
But you can’t change the game by sitting on the sidelines.
When you don’t vote, you signify to politicians they don’t need to care about you or your values, because you’ve volunteered to give up your say in the direction of the country.
Regardless of who you support, don’t let other people speak for you. VOTE.
Watch Elite Daily’s video on Millennials and the 2016 presidential election above.
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