Op-Ed: The neglect of younger voters is a lost opportunity for political parties
The media narrative and political discussion in America tends to revolve around older, more established voters: those who pay for their food, shelter and healthcare with their dollars, the elderly and those of voting age. What is not talked about – and what one might say is forgotten – is the ever-growing number of citizens with very little money and no access to a quality education, or who are in danger of poverty. For many these are the first generation to live in a household with a generation that didn’t go to college. If the current trend of “youth votes” is more than just rhetoric, then young voters – especially from minority and immigrant families – are left out of the debates, with the assumption being that they are too busy running scams and getting in trouble at school to vote.
In other words, young voters are “underrepresented”, and thus not considered part of the “base”. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t exist at all, but they are never recognized. A recent post at The Huffington Post (here) gives an extensive example of why this matters. The article states:
Of the nearly 200 million young people eligible to vote, less than 10 percent were registered as of 2014—three percentage points below the median. Of those who had voted in the past, most were older, and most voted for Clinton. If we consider past elections in which the turnout of young voters was among the highest and those young voters had historically voted for third parties, the median age at the time of the vote was 30—as old as those with no registered voter identification (up to 55).
But the article doesn’t really go into how young people can’t vote, because it assumes that the reason is that they are too busy in school, working at fast food restaurants, drinking the way, etc. and not paying much, if any, attention to politics. While it is great that young voters are able to have discussions about important topics to effect change, many are still too busy to vote. This would be a problem if they weren’t only voting for someone when they reached voting age, but if they were voting out of some sense of civic duty and for good candidates