“Why should I vote for a party that doesn’t really do anything for me as a voter?”
The youth vote may determine the Democrat Party’s destiny, which may not be as majestic as the party hopes. New York Magazine published interviews with 12 young people explaining why they probably won’t vote in these midterms.
I’ve seen articles spouting youth enthusiasm for Democrats, but the magazine claimed that “only a third of people ages 18 to 29 say” they plan on casting ballots for the midterms.
A few reasons? The big blow failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took in November 2016. Another feels “like the Democratic Party doesn’t really stand for the things” he believes in. One person gets anxious when he has to mail anything.
Why They Won’t Vote
Tim, 27, in Austin has never voted, but if he did, he’d only consider it symbolic because Texas is a red state. He tried to register to vote for the 2016 election, but he missed the deadline because he hates “mailing stuff” since it gives him anxiety.
Then he brought up his ADHD:
I have ADHD, and it makes it hard for me to do certain tasks where the payoff is far off in the future or abstract. I don’t find it intrinsically motivational. The amount of work logically isn’t that much: Fill out a form, mail it, go to a specific place on a specific day. But those kind of tasks can be hard for me to do if I’m not enthusiastic about it. That’s kind of a problem with social attitudes around, you know, “It’s your civic duty to vote.” I once told a co-worker I didn’t vote, and she said, “That’s really irresponsible,” in this judgmental voice. You can’t build a policy around calling people irresponsible. You need to make people enthusiastic and engaged.
Tim then said he has registered to vote and is “leaning toward probably voting in the midterms.”
A few mentioned THE POST OFFICE. Stamps. Lisa Connors of the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs discovered earlier this month during a focus group made up of college interns that these kids did not know where to buy stamps:
“One thing that came up – which I had heard from my own kids but I thought they were just nerdy – was that the students will go through the process of applying for a mail-in absentee ballot, they will fill out the ballot, and then, they don’t know where to get stamps,” Connors told WTOP. “That seems to be like a hump that they can’t get across.”
“Across the board, they were all nodding and had a very spirited conversation about ‘Oh yeah, I know so many people who didn’t send theirs in because they didn’t have a stamp,'” she said.
Anna, 21, explained to the magazine that she has tried to register in her hometown of Austin, TX, but hates the “tedious process:”
When I was at the post office to register, this poor girl, clearly also a college student like me, didn’t know what “postmarked” meant and had no idea how to send an important document by mail. Most people my age have zero need to go to the post office and may have never stepped into one before. Honestly, if someone had the forms printed for me and was willing to deal with the post office, I’d be much more inclined to vote.
(Wait until you get in the corporate world, Anna! You’ll have a blast with mortgage forms, health insurance forms, retirement forms, etc.)
Megan, 29, last voted in 2014, but insisted that since she moves and rent a lot causes confusion:
I rent and move around quite a bit, and when I try to get absentee ballots, they need me to print out a form and mail it to them no more than 30 days before the election but also no less than seven days before the election. Typically, I check way before that time, then forget to check again, or just
say “Fuck it” because I don’t own a printer or stamps anyway. It’s incredibly difficult for hourly workers or young people who are in rotational programs or travel frequently for their careers to vote.
(You can go to a UPS or FedEx store where you can print out the forms AND purchase stamps. I’m pretty sure those exist in San Francisco, CA.)
Political science student Reese, 23, doesn’t seem to consider voting as important and has “never felt certain enough to vote” and doesn’t “want to help something that might end up being wrong.”
Drew, 21, had a reasonable explanation:
I feel like the Democratic Party doesn’t really stand for the things I believe in anymore. Why should I vote for a party that doesn’t really do anything for me as a voter? Millennials don’t vote because a lot of politicians are appealing to older voters. We deserve politicians that are willing to do stuff for our future instead of catering to people who will not be here for our future. I’m a poli-sci major, so talking about politics is a daily thing for me. Half of the people I talk to seem very into voting. The other half are people who, like me, don’t really feel represented. The only thing they choose to vote in is local elections.
Drew has a point. I refuse to vote for someone just to say I voted. I wanted Ralph Nader in 2000 (yes, I used to be a major leftist) and Oklahoma didn’t have write in ballots. I could only choose between Gore and Bush. I wrote Nader’s name in the margin.
A Sign of Things to Come?
A few publications hyped up a Harvard poll that found “Democrats maintaining heightened levels of interest as Republican engagement grows.” Holy cow, 40% of the respondents said they will “definitely vote” and out of that number, 54% are Democrats, 43% Republicans, and 24% Independents.
Again, words mean nothing, but actions do as Bloomberg splashed cold water on the Democrats:
Expectations of a great surge in voting by America’s youth have been dashed in the past. Turnout in presidential election years is always higher, and even former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — candidates with strong appeal to younger voters — were only able to draw just more than half of this age group to vote in their first elections. In years when the White House is in play, seven in 10 senior citizens typically cast ballots.
LOOK AT 2016. The supposed enthusiasm around Hillary and the Democrats led us all to believe she would demolish Trump at the polls…when the opposite came true.
Let’s look at Florida. The Orlando Sentinel reported that early voting totals in the central part of the state has topped the totals in 2014. In this portion, the Republicans have the lead over the Democrats. Plus independents may decide the winners (emphasis mine):
For Democrats, “It’s a double-edged sword,” said Daniel Smith, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida. “There’s been higher turnout across the board in a midterm election and African Americans and Hispanics are voting at a higher rate. But that’s offset by an increase in turnout by white voters, older voters and Republican voters.”
African American voters usually have big turnout numbers on the second Sunday of early voting, known as “Souls to the Polls,” Smith said, so Democrats could see bigger gains next weekend. Election Day is Nov. 6.
But young voters ages 18 to 29, which make up 27 percent of the electorate, are only 5 percent of early and mail-in voters so far, he said.
The report in the Orlando Sentinel said that overall in the state, Democrats outperformed the Republicans by 1%. It took one day for that lead to disappear, according to the Associated Press (emphasis mine):
With a week to go before Election Day more than 3 million voters have already cast ballots in the battleground state of Florida.
New statistics released Tuesday by the state Division of Elections show that more than 1.26 million people have voted early. Additionally, more than 1.8 million people have voted by mail.
Nearly 1.29 million GOP voters have cast ballots, compared to nearly 1.23 million Democrats. Nearly 526,000 voters with no party affiliation have also cast ballots.
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