In just a few months, I will be able to vote for the first time in my life. Shortly after I become eligible to vote, the 2016 presidential election will take place.
Since I was a little kid, I always got excited at the thought of voting.
However, as time went on, I gradually lost interest in voting. I looked at our politicians and realized that, for the most part, my views were not being properly represented.
I think that most people around my age feel this way or have felt this way at some point. According to a 2014 study from census.gov, the group of voters with the lowest voting rates in America are 18- through 24-year-olds. This study covers voting rates in presidential elections by age group from 1964 to 2012.
In the 1964 election, the 18- through 24-year-old voting rate was 50.9 percent. In the 2012 election, the voting rate of the same age group was only 38 percent.
On the other end of the spectrum, the highest voting age group is that of 65 years and over. Older Americans had a voting rate of 69.7 percent in the 2012 election.
Younger generations have become more and more polarized, and pushed away from voting.
Many factors play into this polarization. Since most votes come from older Americans, many politicians cater to their needs. Therefore, fresh voters are being pushed away by political parties.
According to John Della Volpe, polling director at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, many younger millennials believe politicians are selfish, that they don’t share the same priorities, and that political involvement yields little tangible benefit.
As I got older, I began to notice this in myself. Until just a few weeks ago, I did not plan on voting in what would be my first presidential election. Then, on April 30, Bernie Sanders announced he is running for president.
Bernie Sanders is a self-described “democratic socialist” who is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
Sanders is a leading progressive voice on issues such as income inequality, climate change and campaign finance reform. Although he is 73-years-old, he is very focused on issues surrounding younger generations.
Almost all of my beliefs and ideas match up with those of Sanders. Looking at his past decisions and his future goals made me have faith in politics again.
I realized that voting is not always necessary, and sometimes, it is best to keep your vote stored away. However, people in my age group need to stay aware of the political situation in America because, although they may not like most politicians, sometimes, someone like Bernie Sanders might come along.
Regardless of your political affiliation, you should stay hopeful. Someone that represents your beliefs will eventually come along.
Hopefully, young voters will become more engaged in politics, as they once were. The biggest factor in stimulating this growth is the politicians themselves. It is up to people like Bernie Sanders to get voters interested again.
In short, to get young voters into the political world, politicians need to better align themselves with the priorities of said voters. If this change isn’t made soon, then nobody will make it at all.