This was not a banner year for youth voter participation. To be fair, off-year elections never are, but this year’s mere 12 percent participation rate of voters under 30 is about more than midterm ennui. Rather, it’s part of a larger trend of millennial disenchantment with the Washington establishment in both major parties — a trend that is primed to kick into high gear if we have a Bush vs. Clinton contest in 2016.
Bush vs. Clinton really is the perfect way to make us hate politics even more. At a gut level it feels aristocratic and distinctly un-American. At a policy level, picking between the previous decade’s leftovers isn’t much of a choice. And at a practical level I can’t help but think that my time will be better spent outside the voting booth than in it, pulling a lever for more of the same. Like much of my generation, I’d rather “take problems on in real time and fix them” — which isn’t exactly the government’s forte.
Or I suppose I could take the long view and start studying up for 2032. I’m sure George P. Bush and Chelsea Clinton will run a very competitive race.
I have been a diligent voter since 1968. I don’t think I have ever missed even a mid-term election. I used to stay up late into the evening watching the political conventions. I wasn’t sure if I was a Republican or a Democrat so I watched both versions. But the last fifteen years or so, and especially the last decade, has almost completely soured me on anything political. So, I can see where my millennial friends have never shown much interest in voting.
But is this trend of the next generation of voters shunning the political process deadly to our democratic process? Only one in eight of them voted this past election and probably a similar number of African-Americans did the same. When a majority of citizens don’t think enough of the process to even vote they are leaving their fate to a small minority who do. Unfortunately that small minority is often those who thing government has no function in our society especially in the social realm. They, for the most part just want to keep their wealth to themselves. They are often the “I’ve got mine so screw you” block of electorate.
Getting to the specifics of the article above, even I suffer from “Bush vs Clinton” fatigue and since those are the two families that have dominated our politics for their entire lives I can see where millennials are too. But since the political process has become so putrid it does take a certain type of person to even consider the possibility of getting into politics. Not many even have the stomach to vote let alone run for office.
I fear for our country when I see the trend of so many giving up any connection to our political processes. Someone has to do the people’s business. I am just not a big believer in aristocracy or anarchy…..