Millennials (adults ages 18-35) have already passed up Baby Boomers (adults ages 52-70) in population with shocking population numbers of 75.4 million versus 74.9 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This year, however, this young generation has reached another important milestone.
In the upcoming 2016 presidential election, millennials will nearly tie Baby Boomers for the amount of eligible voters. About 92 percent of millennials will be eligible to vote in this year’s election. So the youngest, most progressive generation in history is going to decide the election, right?
Unfortunately, there is a great difference between can and will. While millennials certainly have the capacity to change the course of history in the direction of their opinions, many will fail to show up to the voting booths in November.
In reality, less than half of millennials typically turn out to vote in presidential elections. According to an article written on NPR “Millennials now rival boomers as a political force, but will they actually vote?” about 46 percent of millennials voted in the last presidential election. This compared to 69 percent of Baby Boomers and 72 percent of the silent generation.
The sad fact is that many young Americans will not vote because they have taken a defeatist approach to this latest election. Our generation grew up viewing recessions, overseas wars and foreign terrorism as a normal part of the 5 o’clock news. After watching the occurrence of mass shootings, gasoline prices and police brutality soar, this election may seem like a cruel joke to those of both parties.
Our government and political system has failed us again and again, making it seemingly impossible to adopt a harsh brand of cynicism. Students can work and study full time and are still berated for not “picking themselves up by their bootstraps” when they vocalize their desire for a change in our system.
The hard truth is that many of us don’t even have bootstraps to pull. It is important, though, that we recognize that the structure and function of the government and politics are manmade. If generations before have created a system that we do not like, it is fully possible for us to change it.
“Most young voters are aware that our governmental system does not weigh the people’s votes to their truest degree,” said Evan Vissat, first year student at SHU. “With this being said, we as a generation are in position to change the system from the inside out. The only question that remains is, ‘Are we willing to come together to make change, or will we allow this system to continue to control us?’”
As a heavily motivated and unpredictable generation, millennials of all sides have and will be historically significant in fighting for reform in their parties. Our generation has reached adulthood and is now beginning to take over all facets of the country, including politics. It is vital that we not only care about this future but that we also act on our desires.
This under-30 cohort has fortunately proven to be more politically active in the primaries than previous young generations. We need to care now because we have to live in this world tomorrow.
Millennials matter simply because we are the future. It doesn’t matter if we, or anybody else, likes it; we will inherit this world one day. Amidst a mess of political slander and corruption, we grew up and this election is our first chance at forming the world that we want to live in.