In recent U.S. presidential elections, there has been a bipartisan effort to engage youth voters. The effort has been seen in candidates’ web/social media efforts, the recent upsurge of multi-party activism on campus, and the growth of youth organizations promoting youth political involvement.
It’s quite a change, given that we college students were more likely to be shooed away from the speaking platform in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
It seems that Democrats and Republicans have reacted quite differently to this paradigm shift. The youth vote comprises of a larger percentage of racial minorities than any older demographic. Sure, younger generations tend to lean left, but (as with most young people) there is room to change. As I said in my last column, the effort could have been increased, but Republicans gave up our voters before the race even began. Democrats are also appealing to our diverse generation by having women and racial minorities make up a collective majority of their party in Congress.
Thanks to the internet and organizations like Rock the Vote, youth activism has reached a new day. In the digital age, our rallies are resonated by re-tweets, our voices don’t need to be screaming in picket lines, but rather, logically tearing politicians a new one on our blogs. Perhaps my embrace of the passive take on youth involvement is hard to swallow, but today social media activists are often more effective than someone who has no digital reach for their cause.
For our 19% piece of the demographic pie, the fight was won by the group of young people involved in the Young Americans for Obama campaign (circa 2008). Meanwhile, the Romney campaign tried to relate to youth voters by refusing to have anyone under 30 lead the team. It’s amazing how a solid marketing plan really does appeal and engage my commercial generation of instant gratification.
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Yes—American politics are currently dominated by old, mostly white, men. But before we nominate Kid President for the 2016 presidential election, let’s see how both parties react to this years race. In 2016, I predict the strongest push by both parties for the youth, minority, and women’s vote. The portrait of the United States as seen by American politicians needs to be drastically altered.
Maegan Vazquez, a Texas born sophomore at New York University, brings her young woman’s lens on all things political to Heartfeldt Blog every Monday. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org