You’ve seen the debates. You’ve heard about his taxes. You know all about her emails. Everyone is remembering his scandals. We never forgot about Benghazi. In less than a week, America is left to decide which candidate will be best suited for the White House. After perhaps the strangest Presidential Election process, many will be glad for the political banter to end. However, it is not over yet. Especially for college students.
For many on the Mount St. Mary’s campus, this will be the first time voting in a Presidential Election. It doesn’t really matter whether you vote from an absentee ballot, in the booth on Election Day or even if you vote early — just as long as your voice is heard.
“In a democracy, we need to get everyone’s votes” says Political Science Department Chair Dr. Michael Towle. He added that young voters have tipped the scale in recent elections, emphasizing the importance that students vote in this election.
The New York Times supports this claim. In the 2008 election, Obama influenced many within young minorities to get out and vote. For the 2016 election, young voters “make up the same proportion of the electorate as baby boomers,” according to “Young Voters Motivated Again” in the New York Times. The current age demographic is equal to the age demographic that your parents fall into. The Times did the math for you – one third of the eligible voting population is between the ages of 18-29.
Which end of the spectrum do young voters fall? The same article says that “people born after 1980 are more racially and socially diverse and socially liberal than any other group.” This was most evident with Bernie Sanders’ “political revolution,” when he advocated for free college and other things on a Social Democratic platform. Sanders has pledged his support for Secretary Clinton, and has encouraged his supporters to support her on Nov. 8. While she is gaining support, Trump is losing a lot of typically Republican voters.
It has been obvious that Trump’s policy proposals do not appeal to most women, racial minorities, or religious minorities. However, he is also losing momentum in another demographic — the Catholic vote.
In an article in The Washington Post, Aaron Blake writes that “the reasons for Trump’s struggles among this group are open to interpretation. Perhaps Pope Francis’s criticism of Trump and Trump’s surprisingly confrontational response have turned off Catholics to Trump’s candidacy.”
Regardless of the reasoning, the political climate around the Mount campus seems to be following. When asked to predict how the young college student will vote, Towle laughs and says “with a check mark.”
The political season is winding down, but this is the time for young voters to start getting excited for their first election. It is time to re-watch the debates and check out the websites for each candidate. Still not sure who to vote for? Take some quizzes or read some articles on the views of each candidate
Remember, this is your vote. You don’t have to agree with your Mom or your mailman. Your vote is your own. It should not be wasted on a candidate who only supports one of one hundred issues you are concerned about. Not sure what you are concerned about? Think about it as a young voter.
We are all going to graduate from the Mount someday and will have piles of debt. We all need health care and health insurance. We all pay taxes. Which candidate supports your views on any of those things? Take this last week of the campaign to think about which face is best fit to represent us on an international level. Think about their personal views and mannerisms. Which candidate holds themselves in a Presidential manner? These are your options. This is your country. Get out and vote on Nov. 8.
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