By CJ Guion/Staff Writer
Now that the election season is over, and the ballots have been cast and counted, it seems as though the youth voice didn’t matter as much this year. Maybe this was purposely done for some candidates to have a better chance at a shift in power. In 2008, the youth turned out in millions to the polls to have their voices heard, and made a definite impact. While many believed their impact did not give the world the decision they wanted, lessons may have been learned. The fact of the matter is that this election was almost equally as important as the 2008 election. So why is it that it that no one seemed to care about the issues and agendas facing the future leaders of America?
In 2008, there were many campaigns on college campuses and on television networks that catered to the college aged demographic. Celebrities told young people that it was their duty to vote, and it was either Vote! Or Die. There were many Democratic and Republican groups surrounding campus trying to sway undecided voters in their direction. Now, here we are two years later and it seems as if it doesn’t matter as much. The economy is suffering, many issues are still up for debate, but in the minds of the average person, the youth are not affected. The changes that will come upon us with this election will affect America dramatically for the next two years at least.
According to Census.gov, approximately 44.3 % of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2008 election. 66% of 18-29 year olds voted in the same direction when it came down to the presidential election. While the demographics for the voting numbers probably will not be out for a while, it will be interesting to see how many youth went to the polls to cast their vote. In the minds of the people who ran for election, we simply didn’t matter. In their minds we didn’t know the issues, and the big issues don’t have a direct impact on us. So why should they waste money from their campaigns to cater to people who will not participate? After all, we seem to only vote when it comes to the president. However, the president can’t make certain decisions without the help of a fair and balanced Senate and House of Representatives. Any issues that he has on the table to be voted upon must pass through the legislative branch to have the chance of making it to his desk to be signed. This year didn’t seem like a year that would make any person want to go vote. For the most part, it might be safe to say that even if certain people did go and vote, they likely wouldn’t know many of the names listed on the ballot, because the advertising just wasn’t there. The youth is affected by rising gas prices, decisions dealing with health care, abortion, and almost every other issue on the table.
Love him or hate him, President Obama knew how to connect with the youth. He still realizes that the youth are an important part of a successful campaign. Using the Internet and social networks was a key route in reaching the youth. However, is it due to the dissatisfaction that some older Americans have with the president that they try to disconnect themselves from everything that he stood for? The youth have the swing vote that can change the direction of any election. However, it doesn’t seem like many people cared too much for it. Does it have to do with the notion that if the youth did vote, the people who were trying to complete the shift in power might have failed? Is the world afraid of the power that the youth holds? Do issues such as health care not pertain to college students because they are healthy nor unemployment because college students are not considered in the calculation of it?
The answers to these questions remain to be unseen. The youth of America must realize that they have the real power to make real change in this country. Furthermore, it must be realized that decisions made today will create a blueprint which will affect the youth in the present and in the future. If campaign officials won’t advertise to the demographic, it is your duty to go out and educate yourself on who you are allowing to make decisions for you. Whether you voted or not, it does matter and you will be affected.