The 2016 presidential race is beginning to take shape, and the November elections have just concluded, so the country should be in full political debate. That includes the youth of the country.
While trying to predict youth participation in the future, you must look at the past. According to the government census, less than half of citizens aged 18-30 voted in the 2012 presidential election. That represents a two percent decrease from the ‘08 elections, a drop of 1.8 million young voters.(civicyouth.org)
While those numbers seem low, they are actually deceiving. Dr. Michelle Berry, the head of The Gregory School’s History Department said, “Actually, millennials are posting some of the best voting numbers in a long time.” So while the voice of the youth seems to be in tact for the 2016 election, Berry points out that that could be false,“The challenge is keeping them involved the media needs to work, and as long as people see it as a waste of time, and corrupt, and negative people will continue to see it as a waste of time. Everything starts in the schools.”
For the youth to continue to be involved, the media has to promote youth enthusiasm in politics, and as long as the media continues to be polarizing it won’t happen.
The loss in interest can be clearly seen on the Gregory School campus. Senior Gabriel Swenson said, “Politics aren’t discussed much at TGS for two reasons. The first is that a lot of the students don’t pay attention, or know much about it. The second is that all of the involved kids are very polarized, so it turns kids away from the political sphere.”
Meanwhile, Berry thinks that this lack of knowledge at TGS is an anomaly, “This year was a one year thing. It was a fluke.” The students who are usually the most involved, the seniors, have the option to take AP government with Berry, “Usually my class is filled with engaged passionate students, and I can honestly tell my colleagues that I have faith in the future because of these students, but this year is different.”
As Berry pointed out, the combination of media and education is the key to keeping millennials involved. However, the trend of apathy that has been magnified at TGS needs to be just what Berry says it is, a fluke. As long as the students continue to be educated politically, and fully grasp what the media is saying, then the millennials will continue to have a voice going into the 2016 election.
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