Why the Millennial Vote Matters

Recently, there has been some concern over whether millennials will go to the polls come Election Day. In 2012, only 50 percent of millennials who were eligible to vote went to the polls. When asked if they would vote in the 2016 election, only 47 percent of millennials said they would definitely vote. Thirteen percent of millennials said they definitely would not vote, with a number of responses falling within some of the more middle ground answers such as “will probably vote,”, “fifty-fifty” or “will probably not vote.” This begs the question, why aren’t millennials voting?

It generally comes from a dislike for the “political machine”. Many millennials don’t believe in picking a candidate they don’t like in order to keep the other major candidate out of office.  Many who dislike both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are voting third party, but they are getting flack for making a “statement vote” rather than one for the person they hope to see as president. So what’s the other option? For some, it’s not voting. While many of us would agree that picking what some view as the “lesser of two evils” is not ideal, it’s still crucial that millennials get out there are vote.

Candidates are trying hard to utilize social media as a tool to reach millennials. Debates and campaigns can be monitored on Snapchat, and on a perhaps less polished note, Twitter seems to be the new mode of debating when the candidates aren’t behind the podium.

But despite candidates’ efforts to appeal to millennials through social media, millennials are still skeptical. This shouldn’t be surprising when we look a little deeper at some studies done about the mentality of millennials today. For one, many millennials are not trusting. According to a Pew survey, 19% of people ages 18 to 34 believe that people can’t be trusted. People in this age group tend to care about ethical and social issues more than previous generations. They believe that too much power is given to a few big companies. It is not surprising that with these values, millennials largely supported Bernie Sanders in the primary election.

But at this point, the election is between Clinton and Trump, with some votes potentially going toward Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. Given the large size of the millennial generation, it is important that millennials go to the polls and decide who will run their country for the next four years.

We have come to a point in where millennials outnumber baby boomers. In fact, millennials will make up nearly 36 percent of the eligible voting pool this year. If every millennial who is eligible to vote went to the polls, the age group would have enormous pull in the election. Some would even argue that if you do not vote, you will have little ground to stand on if you dislike the government policies that emerge in our country over the course of the next four years.