If Governor Romney had drawn half of the youth vote in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, he would have won their 80 electoral votes and would now be president.
Since young people voted at the same rate in 2012 despite showing less enthusiasm than four years ago, I think we can conclude that they weren’t moved by excitement or hope as much as by commitment and persistence.
As a highly politically active, activism-oriented seventeen-year-old amidst our current national divisions, I am thrust right into all of this.
These core facets of connection and understanding are harder to come by, because it is difficult to be compassionate when our political figureheads, our representatives, often engage in petty squabble.
Meaningful democracy requires the meaningful participation of youth.
Young people have much to offer societies – from innovation to creativity to new thinking.What made me reject this toxic way of being was a program called Youth and Government.Youth and Government is a national program run by the YMCA, with state chapters, and many smaller city-based delegations within states.And the sophisticated turnout operations of modern presidential campaigns focus on likely voters, meaning that college campuses get lots of attention but no one reaches young people who work in retail, service industries, and manufacturing.The hyper-efficient Obama campaign contacted just 5.8% of youth without college experience. They turn out in good years and bad and make the difference in close elections.One way to read the trend is to say that youth turnout is stuck at about half of eligible young citizens.Equally stubborn are disparities in voting by social class.Their participation in democracy promotes active citizenship, strengthens social responsibility and can enhance democratic processes and institutions.And today’s young citizens are tomorrow’s leaders and decision-makers.Do you support the participation of young people in politics? Feel free to express your opinion in the comment section.Most people expected youth turnout to decline in 2012. For instance, the Pew Research Center reported that just 28% of young people were following the election closely, down from 40% at the same point four years ago.