Many thought that when we were able to vote, it’d be more exciting than this. I was too young to vote for Barack Obama, but I had this dream of studying politics and campaigning for my favorite candidate. Unfortunately, I have been disappointed with the reality of politics.
The more I pay attention, the less I care. Although we are the future, politicians have little to no interest in attracting young voters. Few candidates have adapted to modern social media and have no relatability factors. Politicians aren’t marketing their campaigns to students and prioritizing the young vote. Voting among 18 to 29-year-olds increased 20% during the 2018 midterms, but sustained overall interest has not.
Every opportunity I have had to cast a vote, I have taken advantage of it and voted. I truly believe it is a form of expression. My ancestors were jailed, assaulted and killed for the right to vote, so I will continue to vote. But that doesn’t mean I have any interest in paying close attention to politics beyond that point.
Both of the major elections in which I participated ended in controversy due either to external involvement or outright cheating. The blatant corruption drained the last bit of interest I had in politics, not to mention the fact that the vast majority of candidates aren’t relatable or interesting, considering they are some combination of racist, sexist and classist.
Chastity Johnson is a 19-year-old political science major. She admits to not caring about politics prior to college. Although she pays attention now, her peers aren’t that interested.
“I was not into politics before. I had to take an American government class as one of my required classes, and I really liked it, so I started paying more attention to politics.” Johnson said. “Most of my friends don’t really pay attention to politics. They just know what they see on social media or if everyone is talking about [it].”
Jorge Granados is a part-time student at Perimeter College and was recently elected as the treasurer for the Gwinnett County Young Democrats. Granados acknowledges the lack of interest in politics among students and the candidate’s inability to attract young voters.
“There is a lot of focus on older folks since they tend to have a higher voter turnout,” Granados said. “We want to make sure that political campaigns know that college students like ourselves know that we are starting to pay attention to what is going on around us. We know some of the issues that concern us, but the campaigns tend to not address it to our liking.”
Granados thinks there is a solution to this problem.
“I believe the best method to attract young voters is to inform and include them in … the decision making [process],” he said. “Reach out to them by going to their schools. Make fundraising events more affordable so many more can attend. And most of all, having someone like ourselves run for office and making sure that we have a seat at the table in the decision making.”
Sure, I should take time and learn on my own, but that can be difficult. To blame the ignorant for not knowing while dismissing the wise is counterproductive. It should be the politician’s job to reach out and gain the attention of young people. Maybe I am just a dreamer, but if we are the future, then we deserve more attention from our politicians.