Why is it that millennials possess the passion and fervor of caring about the political direction this country is taking, yet do not take the time to vote?
Low turnout by millennials is not a new phenomenon. In 2012, Millennial voting turnout was a staggering 46 percent, dropping an entire 4 percent from the prior election in 2008.
This year, most millennials were set on Bernie Sanders winning in the primary election and moving on to compete against the Republican nominee, but because the voter turnout was only 11.7 percent, Hillary Clinton then became the democratic nominee. In a poll conducted by The Leader for this issue, 48.3 percent said that they do not plan to vote in the general election because they do not like either candidate. Had they gone out and voted in the primaries, however, they would have had a high- er chance of having a nominee they were proud to vote for.
The problem does not lie in lack of interest or neutrality by millennials as far as politics go. In fact, when UCLA surveyed freshmen students in 2015, the results found that interest in civic and political engagement has reached its peak since the beginning of the study 50 years ago.
Putting it plainly: voting matters. Regardless of whether or not you believe the system is rigged or that a candidate you do not support will “probably win anyway,” your vote matters. Showing up on election day does indeed make a difference. Considering that there are 74.4 million 18-34-year-olds in the U.S. If every single one were to vote, it is safe to say that elections would easily sway in millennials’ direction.
It is clear the younger population cares about this country, its policies and where it is headed, those of us with mounds of college debt can attest to that. It seems that when it comes to taking action, however, we run into problems. Disliking both nominees does not mean that it is okay not to vote at all. While it could easily be argued that both candidates have certain qualities about them that are less than appealing, to ignore voting as a whole is an act of pure laziness for those who claim to want change.
Negative attitudes and perceptions about what “might” or “could” happen is what messes us up. We hope and pray that things turn out a certain way but are not active in our pursuit for a better country and better leader, and this is hypocrisy at its finest. We cannot expect this or that candidate to win, nor can we complain about the results of the election if we do not go out and vote.
It is essential to be active — and not passive — in our pursuit for a better future with a leader we can say we voted for. Otherwise, to complain about the results is just downright hypocritical. Go out and vote, and do so with conviction you are proud of.