If you were to ask young adult voters about their interest in the next presidential election, a few would say they’re interested in voting for Donald Trump. A few would say they’re interested in voting for Joe Biden. But you would probably find that the majority of young adults are not interested in either candidate, and do not have an interest in voting at all. 

So why is that? Although there was an 11% increase in young voter turnout in the 2020 election, up from 39% of young voters to 50% (according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement), there is a notable factor that is becoming more and more apparent the closer we get to the next election.

Young voters are not thrilled with the choice of Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

To reiterate, this is not to overgeneralize that all young voters dislike Trump. Or Biden. But according to a recent New York Times poll, only 17% percent of Democratic primary voters aged 18-29 think Joe Biden should be the party’s candidate for the upcoming presidential election. That number should terrify any Democratic party leader, but it should also be a warning of sorts. 

Young voters have decided elections in the past, and they will continue to define elections for years to come.

I’ll talk a little bit from my perspective. When I think of a presidential candidate, yes, I want them to have policies I agree with them on. But a factor that is being underestimated for the common voter is their charisma. When you turn on CNN or Fox to watch a Biden or Trump speech, the first thing you see won’t be a list of every Biden or Trump policy. If you don’t follow politics closely, you won’t be able to immediately connect everything they’re saying to a policy. What you will notice however, is their temperament. You’ll notice their tone, their attitude, how they come off as a person.

That’s what Trump and Biden are missing.

Again, Trump and Biden definitely have their own … personalities. But to many young voters, we’ve seen this movie before. We know who Trump is and we know who Biden is. Frankly, most of us see two old men that we feel don’t accurately represent who we want in the White House, as America’s image on the world stage.

So how do we, as college students, change who we get to vote for?

Well, to put it bluntly, we can’t. Not yet at least. It seems set in stone that in nine or so months, Joe Biden and Donald Trump will get up on their respective stages at their national political conventions. They’ll both talk about unifying the party and the nation. The reality is that there will probably be one group that won’t feel unified to either candidate.

Young voters.

So what’s my point? My point is that if we as young voters want a different candidate to vote for, if we want a different individual in the White House with the power to determine policies that will affect our daily lives, we need to become more involved in government and politics.

Barack Obama once said, “We are the change that we seek”. I couldn’t agree more. Find out who your representatives are and learn what they stand for. Attend a City Council meeting and see where your tax dollars are going. Educate yourself on the current issues going around in today’s political world. Have those tough conversations with friends who don’t have the same beliefs or even values as you. 

Some of the most important change in our country has happened through bipartisanship.

Trump and Biden aren’t going to be the leaders of the Republican and Democrat parties forever. It’s only a matter of time until the burden of selecting our leaders will fall onto our generation, and I think we ought to be more prepared when that time comes.

By Cleary Percy

Staff Writer

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