According to Pew Research, the number of voting-age millennials has reached the number of eligible Baby Boomer voters. However, we also have the lowest turnout of any other generation. A measly 46 percent of eligible millennials voted in the last election.
No, this isn’t because we are lazy or we lack the motivation. Every generation has lazy people that won’t go to the polls because they don’t want to leave their house. No, this is the product of a generation that does not feel connected to their parents’ political system.
And if the 2012 election wasn’t disenfranchising enough, this year will be a doozy.
From the peers that I talk to, it seems like 1 in 3 millennials aren’t going to vote this year. They can’t seem to identify with either major candidate and can’t commit themselves to (at least) four years of Trump or Clinton.
I fall in the same category. I can’t honestly tell you what political party I most identify with. A few months ago I took a quiz that showed me my political alignment and matched me up with presidential candidates that shared my beliefs. I received an 80 percent match with two different candidates. A Democratic Socialist and a Libertarian. Explain that one.
Millennials don’t follow party lines like generations before them. Which wouldn’t be a problem if they could just turnout to the polls. But this election has pushed millennials away from the polls as well as the candidates.
When Bernie Sanders was given less delegates than Clinton in Wyoming, regardless of his 12 percent victory, many people were shown that their vote truly doesn’t matter. All that matters is how the electorates/delegates/super delegates vote.
The massive millennial support for Sanders showed that young adults are ready for a political “Revolution.” The next generation does not want to follow how things have been done for hundreds of years. Which is not a bad thing. Growth, adaptability and change are part of American history. But Millennials must be politically active to achieve those changes.
Sure, your vote won’t change how the Electoral College selects a president. Maybe your electoral votes will go to a candidate you did not vote for. No one said change would be quick and easy. But if you want political change, you have to play the game.
This is article is not calling for millennials to vote for one candidate or another. Nor is it calling you to get out to the polls in November. Its calling you to get out to the polls for the rest of your life, vote in local elections, write political blogs, form protest groups and write to your representatives.
Millennials can be the generation that changes everything, but why put off the change? Don’t let it be because you can’t decide between two bad candidates. This won’t be the last Trump or the last Hillary that you face in your political journey. So start now. Let this election be the first step in a new direction.
Peter Houston-Hencken is a recent graduate of Whitworth University with a degree in journalism. Peter currently works for a background investigation firm but is passionate about freelancing on the weekends. Peter grew up as the son of a Presbyterian pastor. He feels strong in his faith and his commitment to Jesus Christ. He aspires to have a career in journalism and help people get more informed about the events in their communities.