Stirring up millennials to vote


If issues aren’t stirred up in society, society tends to stagnate, which isn’t necessarily a good thing for a country that is far from perfect.

“Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top,” author Edward Abbey once said.

For example, there would have never been a Civil Rights Movement, Americans with Disabilities Movement or an LGBT Rights Movement without someone stirring things up. Without people constantly stirring the pot, wrongs would never be righted.

People often get stuck in the “if it was good enough for my parents, it’s good enough for me” mentality, but people, especially the younger generation, shouldn’t be hesitant to shake up the current foundation with new ideas, especially with a presidential election right around the corner.

Millennials finally match baby boomers in terms of population, according to Derek Thompson’s The Atlantic article “The liberal millennial revolution.”

This puts millennials in an extremely powerful position regarding this year’s election, but only if they actually make it out to the polls.

Voting gives the younger generation the ability to take control of their future. Millennials have risen in areas of technology, business and the arts, but for some reason, not politics.

In the 2012 presidential election, only 19 percent of voters were under the age of 30 while 25 percent of the voters were 60 and older, leaving the younger generation with a substantially quieter voice, according to NBC News article “Where are the millennials? Midterm voters skew old.”

Although the proportion of the baby boomers and the millennials will be the same this election, it seems there is little hope in the voter turnout for the younger generation.

On average, less than half of eligible, young voters will actually make it to the polls for the presidential election while more than 70 percent of voters 65 years and older will vote, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s voting data.

The younger generation cannot count on the older crowd to vote the same as them either. While millennials appear to be on the same page with the rest of the country on gun rights, abortion and the economy, they tend to significantly lean more left on LGBT rights, immigration and marijuana, according to Thompson’s The Atlantic article.

While the younger generation historically tends to lean more left than those older than them, this year’s young voters are an incredibly more diverse and accepting group. This year’s under-30 voting population is actually the most diverse adult demographic in American history, Thompson said.

So if the younger generation has the opportunity to have such a powerful voice, why do they tend to skip the polls on election day? Millennials are often criticized for being self-absorbed and indifferent about the future of the country, but rather, they may just be frustrated and confused.

It needs to be taken into consideration that the younger generation has grown up in an era where people are continuously smothered by college debt, there has continuously been a cynical view toward the government and they can barely remember a time when jobs were plentiful.

I believe many millennials choose not to vote because they believe their vote doesn’t matter or that current politics don’t serve their interests, but in order for their interests to be served, they need to vote.

Millennials are more concerned about college affordability, equality and climate change in comparison to Social Security and Medicare, which seem like issues far off in the future for them, thus disconnecting them from the older generation.

However, politicians respond to voters; therefore, if the younger generation wants their concerns addressed, they need to vote. Otherwise, their issues will continue to be pushed aside.

Change can be a good thing. People often get stuck in a rut of traditionalism. Over the years, the country has seen people stir the pot, creating many successful movements that caused positive change throughout history. But as a whole, millennials need to be stirred up and become more involved in the political process this year.

Millennials are now old enough to vote and numerous enough to make an impact on the political agenda, but will they use their power to make a change or continue to allow the older generation to speak for them?