Young Voters, the Bigfoot of the Political Realm

Kyle Evers | Columnist

*This article was published in Issue 1 on Sept. 19 with an inaccurate graphic; the corrected graphic is at the bottom.

Welcome to presidential election season.

We are just over a year from Election Day 2020, when some of the American populace will wait in lines around the block to let their voices be heard.

So far, we have seen a field of Democratic candidates quarrel amongst themselves, all wanting to promise voters the next best thing since sliced bread. In this case, the progressive sandwich is served up between two slices of free college, a hodgepodge of climate change, universal healthcare and a dash of anti-Trump rhetoric for some flavor. 

On the other side, we have an ego so large, it has its own gravitational force.

And as we march toward the next election, I’m rather amused and frustrated at what I hear people my age, say. All this griping about how we could have possibly let Trump into office and how his reign of racism and terror will never end. Well it’s time to face the facts: A big reason nothing changes in the Capitol is ultimately our lack of caring.

Those of us who are 18 to 24 years old have played a key part in allowing everyone who is in office to get there — and it’s not because we voted for them.  According to the United States Census Bureau in the 2016 national election, 55% of all 18-24 year-old citizens reported as registered voters. Of that 55%, only 43% actually reported voting. 

The big picture takeaway is that of a population of over 26 million young citizens only 24% actually voted. For context, the next age bracket is a full 10 percentage points higher. This is ridiculous and frankly embarrassing and yet we somehow have the audacity to cry foul at a multitude of politicians when we should have stopped these people from ever becoming elected.

Now, there may be those of you who say that this is just a fluke. The young generation, with all of its knowledge and capacity to change the world, just missed the ball on this one.

Really? Just missed the ball on a presidential election? I don’t think so. According to the Washington Post, we had a record turnout in the 2018 midterms: a whopping 36%! This is up 16 points since 2014. Amazing right? Not when the next age bracket is still 13% points higher than us. And the fact that this is considered a record for our age bracket should frighten many of us in and of itself.

There is hope on the horizon. According to The Atlantic, experts are predicting a massive turnout for the upcoming election. The real question is whether or not my generation is going to get up off the couch and actually start caring about the future. Nothing is ever free, and griping about the failed system while you are in fact responsible in part for its failure is as detrimental to the system as failed policies are. 

Stop blaming everyone else and shoulder your responsibility as a voter.

Go out and vote.